Mind racing. Skin crawling. I have something bubbling, churning, brewing inside me. I don’t know what or where it even came from – I can only say that it is present. So very present physically and mentally.
I pet my sweet pup, knowing it’s supposed to aid in relaxation. It doesn’t. But, it does fill my heart with love, she always knows when I need her extra close. I tell my husband how I’m feeling. He asks me what I need from him, what I am feeling, and how I would describe it, and what he can do to help.
But, that’s the thing — if I knew, I would tell him and/or I would do it.
Sometimes, the baseline of anxiety doesn’t have a stressful day or traumatic trigger attached to it. This is living with anxiety. Sometimes it just is — no reason behind it, no big event, no unfortunate conversation, no uncomfortable situation, and ultimately no way to undo it.
I idolized mermaids like any good little girl growing up — still do! I was obsessed with how beautiful the ocean was, how vast, teeming with life and magic and mystery.
But, I am terrified of it. Most of the time, in water, you can’t exactly see what is swimming and/or floating around you. And don’t get me started on waves. Those things are insane, they literally look like the ocean is opening up to swallow you whole.
My husband, on the other hand, is a merman. He loves to let the waves take him and bring him back in. Ebb and flow, floating, buoyant, and perfectly at peace. He is in his natural habitat, he is exactly where he is supposed to be at that moment.
The minute my feet leave the ocean (or pool) floor, I am flailing, panicking, convinced the next wave will take me under, or I’ll never find the bottom again. Anxiety can make you feel like that.
You see the wave coming. You can choose to float and know you’re not that far from shore and soon that wave will flatten out. You can be mindfully aware that it’s happening, you can have faith that this too shall pass. Or you can flail, splash, panic, and have no faith that this latest wave will crest and fall. You can get in the water, stay in, or get out.
I often think about my dreams of being a mermaid. And, how my ironic phobia of water prevents me from even pretending to be one. But, maybe, just maybe, I can lean back a little (with a life vest on…safety first) and believe that this wave of anxiety, unexplained, and certainly unasked for, shall also find its way to the shore.