Living and Breathing Anxiety

He whispered to his friend.

I turned around and they laughed.

“She’s breathing so loudly.”

I held my breath.

My irrational fear since the 9th grade has been how loud I breathe.

I was born from a family of breathers.

My father has been yelled at by my mother for years over his loud heaving breaths.

I never took my breaths lightly.

I held them in, boiling up inside like a kettle about to burst.

But I never let it burst, my thoughts bubbling up.

I think 9th grade was when I discovered anxiety.

It was a new facet of my life. An incessant way of thinking that grew and grew like the termites that infested our neighbors house.

It told me so many things, and to this day, has a whole lot of opinions.

It’s like that next door neighbor that has a lot of questions about your life and you can’t get her to leave.

“You’re breathing so loud, everyone can hear you.”

I thought in a packed yoga class yesterday.

“Be quiet, breath quieter.”

I found myself holding my breath in a silent yoga studio.

Anxiety truly makes zero sense.

It prays on your insecurities. It racks up old feelings from childhood. It brings back that one sentence you said drunk at a party and repeats it over and over again.

It’s an unwelcome party guest.

It makes you feel like an unwelcome party guest…in your own mind.

It’s especially apparent when you just graduated and you get asked by your parent’s friends.

“So, how’s your job? How long do you think you’ll stay? What’s your grand plan?”

You have nothing to say. Because even though you picked a job that you may or may not like, you can’t predict the future.

Yet, anxiety gives no fucks.

It has you wondering about what you’re going to do when you turn 50 before you turn the lights out before bed on a Monday.

I’ve found a lot of keys to handling anxiety because I feel like anxiety has become a little part of my personality.

It’s like a little spiked bracelet on my wrist.

I’ve found that working out is key to keeping my anxiety in check during a busy work week.

I’ve found that winding down and finding a show you really like can calm any anxious thoughts.

Reading helps. Diving into a good book can truly put your mind at ease.

Eating and sleeping regularly does the charm for me.

Mostly it’s just recognizing that life isn’t always going to be picture perfect like we imagined as kids.

We don’t all have the path we thought we would have. Honestly, if we did, that would be boring.

My therapist mother says anxiety is a signal that somethings wrong.

I say, anxiety is a signal that we need to accept ourselves. We need to accept our loud breathing, our uncertain future, our quirks and embarrassing moments.

It’s okay, anxiety is okay, only if you accept it.

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