The Anxiety of Anticipation

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In my experience, anticipation is synonamous with anxiety. I don’t generally get anxiety about things that have happened in the past and that’s hard for some people to understand. For me, anxiety is the stress that I feel over the anticipation of something that hasn’t yet happened. It’s a fear of the unknown, a fear that I won’t be prepared or that I won’t handle it appropriately. Whenever I talk about my anxiety with people who have never experienced it themselves, they often tell me to just stop worrying about things, to relax and I get it but if it was that easy for me to solve I would have done it already.

Anxiety is a learned behavior and if you can learn it, you can attempt to unlearn it. I’ve spent the past year of my life seeking help from a counselor and one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is that you have to train yourself to recognize your triggers and do your best to prepare for and/or overcome them. When I start to feel myself drifting towards to deep end I stop myself and try to figure out what the true issue is and then I work through it, usually by opening up the blog and typing my worries away. When I started this blog, I had originally intended for it to be a very private, but accessible place for friends and family to get updates about how I was doing and what was going on medically. As I started writing my very first post though, I began to recognize how therapeutic the writing was and totally shifted the focus and I couldn’t be more glad that I did.

I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I started with diary entries about my day, then moved on to poems about our pets, short plays that I wrote and directed with my cousins, and finally short stories in grade school. I even attempted a novel one summer on my sister’s word processor when I was 12. As I got older I moved more towards poetry because I liked the idea of being free from format or rules. I filled books and notepads with my thoughts and those thoughts eventually morphed into poems. I would work on a poem for hours on end, sometimes in my first car, parked on some back road in town or at the park. I loved writing the most when it rained because the sound it made as it hit the roof of my car was rhythmic and calming. It seemed to drown out everything but my thoughts. I would watch it run down the windows and puddle on the ground and I would lose all track of time as my thoughts flowed across the page. It definitely got me through some rough times.

Although I wrote constantly and everyone knew that I did, I rarely shared my poetry with others. I always thought of it as something that I did for myself, but on a few rare occasions I would bare my soul to a friend or a boyfriend in a letter and include a poem or two that I had written at the end. My poetry conveyed very specific emotions and I guess I was afraid to let anyone else see it. Sharing it was like sharing a piece of myself and I have never felt 100% comfortable sharing any of my parts with anyone in my life but in a few days, I plan to change some of that. I’ve been blogging for 7 months now and as the one year anniversary of my diagnosis nears, I plan to share my blog with my family and friends. My posts are very personal and often full of emotion and I’ve finally decided that I’m ready to share those emotions with the people in my life.

Up until now, my blog has been mostly anonymous. I’ve shared it with a few select friends and family, but not many and I’m a ball of anxiety as I consider how they will react or what they will think. Maybe they’ll hate it. Maybe they’ll love it. Maybe I’ll regret it. Maybe I won’t. What I hope happens is that they read it and they connect with me and begin to understand exactly how I feel about all of this. I’m not one to share my feelings via conversation and so sometimes it’s hard to help people understand how this has affected my life.

People always tell me that I’m strong and that I have a great outlook but they’re wrong. I’m not strong and I don’t have a great outlook. Most of the time I’m scared and frustrated and ready to give up but I hide that away inside and push on and I guess I’m just ready to blow my cover and let people in a little. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and while I’m certainly thankful for my loving friends and family, supportive husband, my sweet little puppy dog who loves me no matter what, and all of the opportunities that I have been given, I am also thankful for this blog. This blog has helped me to rediscover myself and what I want and need and without it, I might still be stuck in that endless cycle of stress and worry about my inability to control things.

Happy Thanksgiving, readers and please wish me luck!

Inspired by the Daily Prompt: Anticipation

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