Anxiety reared her ugly uninvited head recently. I thought she’d been sent packing by my relaxed self-guided lifestyle and spiffy low-sugar diet but noooooo… She wakes me at 4AM with adrenaline shots and racing thought chasers. Like a resentful relative she reminds me of every stressful situation I have brewing.
Anxiety is a bad old friend. I know her favorite reasons to visit. I know what brings her ’round. I even know how I’ll react to her presence—although I almost never realize I’m reacting until the visit is over and I stand observing the aftermath.
She shows up when I feel confined to everyone else’s needs and expectations.
She often arrives just after her cronies, Idealism and Perfectionism, pay a visit.
She loves to niggle me when I’m dying to achieve something but can’t find the time or when I’ve been immersed in negativity for too long.
The dreamy introvert has goals
As an introvert with a penchant for possibilities, an innate desire for harmony and a love of wide -open schedules, I am especially sensitive to restrictions imposed by others.
My new year’s precepts (not resolutions, they never work) for 2014 are:
1. Accomplish more
2. Establish and maintain personal boundaries
3. Be more concise (I’ve all but given up on this one. I freely own that I am a wordy expressive babe;).
The dreamy introvert gets real (bitchy)
I am aware of the importance of being unselfish. I have children and they have kid needs, including affection and care-giving from their mother. I will always make sure their needs are met because I love and enjoy the little buggers and their highly individualized personalities. I can meet their needs because I have built in pockets of rest between bursts of people/child interfacing. Sometimes these pockets are eaten up by unusual events such as school closings, their father traveling for work, lice and flu outbreaks, other family members needing help, keeping a house immaculate for showings, etc.
These are the times when too much togetherness leads to bickering, negativity and a lack of solitude.These are the times my conscious energy flags and Anxiety draws on her eye-brows, blots her lipstick and prepares for a proper visit. She usually arrives in the wee hours of the morning. Thanks. Her lack of consideration and inconvenient timing often create a bitter bout of sleep-deprivation as well.
Needless to say, fish and anxiety- riddled me, stink after three days. I don’t get anything accomplished and my boundaries are seriously weak.
I feel skinless and overly sensitive.
I start acting like a general. I become overly analytical and obsessed with details. I get on the kids about helping out and cleaning up the place — and I don’t use my Carol Brady voice, more like my Mommy Dearest No Wire Hangers voice.
I even find myself being harsh and critical with my son for being harsh and critical. Wha?? This is so confusing and ultimately turns into personal shame for being so hard on him.
I start to see myself as indecisive and incompetent. Why can’t I think of anything for dinner? Why can’t I be quicker with consequences for misbehavior? I never finish anything…
This is how I react. I’m not proud. At all.
I go through all of this because…
I need to better develop my unconscious and lesser used mental functions. I need to gain control. I want to have a say about what goes on in my house.
I want to balance my overused sense of attunement (feeling what everyone else is feeling) with an analytical and detached sense of order.
I need to acknowledge and accept my own need for achievement. It’s OK to accomplish something myself occasionally.
I need to topple from my pedestal of idealism. I need the realism and relief. I’m not perfect. I fail at composure. I can be incompetent and so can others. I can’t expect others to be kind, helpful and cheerful all the time.
How to ditch Anxiety and return to normal
1. Wait it out. For introverted feeling types, she often leaves on her own.
2. Have an intimate conversation with someone who validates you (even your strong negative feelings).
4. Start a new project that uses established skills. An intriguing new idea can motivate and energize.
5. Get relief from others’ needs. Take a break. Be alone. Nurture you.
Being in the grip of Anxiety can be intense but it’s not a good idea to avoid her. Often these visits bring clarity and new knowledge. She brings the unconscious world into the conscious with her cloying blend of stress and personal growth. Anxiety, with her pesky intrusiveness can make you change, often for the better.
When was the last time anxiety visited you? How did you react? How did you return to normal? What did you learn from its presence?
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** Much insight for this post was gleaned from Naomi Quenk’s, In the Grip: Understanding Type, Stress and the Inferior Function.