Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Things About Which I Am Currently Feeling Anxious

Because I have a tendency to see the world in black-and-white extremes, anxiety has a direct relationship with certainty of impending doom. Others may call it paranoia. Or perhaps, "nothing to worry about." But in my head, the sky is falling.

I like to make lists. They make the world feel neat and orderly and less likely to fall apart.

Herewith is a list of the things, great and small, that I am feeling particularly anxious/doomsday about at the moment:

• Fleas. Both on my cats and in my blankets. Ew.
• The pain in my ankle that won't go away. Which is probably a stress fracture. (But is more likely a simple strain from over-use, because due to my own pigheadedness, I'm still going running even though my ankle hurts.)
• Gaining weight. Or possibly having already gained weight.
• The fact that gaining weight bothers me so much.
• An unexpected and major financial catastrophe coming hot on the heels of finally reaching a place of relative financial stability.
• My teeth. A recurring anxiety that would probably be greatly alleviated by making a dentist appointment.
• The photoshoot for my book. I mean, what if all my brews look like sludge? Or don't sparkle when they need to be sparkly? Or the bottles shatter on my way to the photoshoot? Oh dear, I just realized that I'm having performance anxiety for my homebrew.

I think that's it. That's enough, right? Interestingly enough, I'm not all that anxious about finishing my cookbook. Maybe because that's actually something that I feel like I have control over. Possibly, I have control issues and the reason that all the things on this list are making me so anxious is because I feel like I don't really have control over any of them.

There is the crux of the issue: not feeling in control. Not being able to control the outcome. Feeling helpless and at the mercy of something I don't understand. Some of these things (my ankle, my teeth) can probably be remedied by just going to see someone, finding out what to do, and taking care of it. Done. Other things are more complicated and require a certain level of living with the uncomfortableness of not knowing. Which is hard.

Incidentally, the weight gain issue falls somewhere in between and is a whole different barrel of psychological monkeys. We can save that for another rainy day.

But never fear. The sun will rise (probably). The sky will (most likely) not fall. The photoshoot will come to pass (eventually) and four months of flea meds will (hopefully) exorcise my home of pin-sized demons. Meanwhile, you can find me hiding under the desk with some gummy bears and a few jugs of homebrew.


  1. Oh man - you speak my language lady! I used to be a compulsive list maker and I think it's because I've dropped the habit that I have been a special mess of anxiety. The bitch of anxiety, as my psychologist told me years ago, is that it is often based on reality. Your fears could literally come to pass and many of the things we fear are things we have no control over. That makes us (those of us with lots of anxiety) exert more control over other aspects of our lives to the discomfort of others (and sometimes ourselves). Things need to be a certain way, routines must never vary, our environment must be just so. We make lists constantly. You're doing exactly what you need to do - recognize what's causing you anxiety and evaluating the level of control you have over them. For the things you have control over (weight gain - usually, making dental appointments, allowing your ankle to heal) you can come up with solutions to help alleviate the stress. For those other things you need to have conversations in your head about how you can't control them (earthquakes, for example) and work every day to let them go.

    You've reminded me that I need lists back in my life. They're a great anxiety managing tool.

    Fleas piss me off. We are battling a flea problem right now too. It's greatly improved but still not completely solved. I hope your own battle with them is victorious! And soon.


  2. Feeling out of control is the worst. I recommend obsessing about something you can control. It (never) works for me. ;)

  3. Thanks, ladies! There's room under my desk and enough homebrew for all. It's BYO Gummy Bears, though. :)