A kitten curled up in a ball and frightened

Anxiety Attack

Here it is another Monday and another anxiety attack. My response to this? Make creamsicles. A reasonable response, don’t you think?

The question I’m asked most often when having an anxiety attack is “what’s wrong?” I understand where this question comes from. For most people, fear serves a purpose; to warn of danger or to enable the person to retreat to a familiar and comfortable position. It’s hard to understand when fear kicks into overdrive. There has to be a reason, however unreasonable, for the fear kicking in.

The truth is, there is no reason for it. The synapses in my brain decided to fire in a particular sequence and my body reacted. That’s it. As human beings, though, our immediate reaction is to find a problem to fix. That’s understandable. It makes the anxiety seem manageable. I do the same thing and will look for a problem to explain the anxiety. My thoughts get twisted into a loop until they become so convoluted they resemble a Gordian knot. All I can do, though, is wait it out and wait for the synapses to stop hitting that particular loop.

Once I made the realization that there was no problem and that my brain was going to do as it wanted, things took a turn for me. Ever mindful towards the success of my business, I wondered how I could turn this liability into an asset. It’s not easy, either. People, the everyday people who don’t ever experience anxiety, get uneasy around it and that makes it difficult to make the connections necessary to a successful business. Still, I’m a stubborn minded fool sometimes and when I get an idea in my head it’s hard to turn me away from it.

For me, anxiety is an overabundance of thoughts and energy. Without an outlet, those thoughts and energies turn dark and feed on themselves. Could I channel that?

Anxiety is a bully. It doesn’t like to be told what to do or how to do it. It prefers to kick your ass for lunch money and laugh while doing it. However, I’d like to believe I’m stronger than any bully, even the one in my brain. I just had to find a way to channel that bully’s energy.

My bully loves writing. It loves to see the words take form and the story grow. Writing both soothes and excites my bully and keeps it happy. Of course, the stuff I write during an anxiety attack tends to be a bit darker but that can be fixed during editing. Yay editors! So when my bully appears I take a few moments to get a rein on it before sitting down at the computer. I make creamsicles.

Having mental health issues often brings a stigma when meeting people. My sister would cringe visibly whenever the “A-word” was brought up in front of company. People often think of the crazies as being stupid or unable to make decisions or incapable of taking care of themselves. Sometimes people are amazed that I’m not drooling in a corner, trying to lick the windowsill.

Mental health issues means that I have to structure my life in a certain way to ensure that I can live comfortably. That structure works to my advantage in business. Anxiety means I’m going to check the product I’m sending out many times to be sure that my client is getting the best work possible. It also means that deadlines are a written in stone timer that I must meet. My anxiety means that my clients will never get sloppy or late work.

Once I tried to hide my anxiety, afraid people would hate me for it. That was the stigma I grew up with. Now, I tell people quite happily that I have anxiety. There is no shame in it. When the anxiety gets bad enough, I make creamsicles and then head for the computer.