Attacking Panic And Other Tales…

I’ve always known anxiety.

I was pressed beneath a wave of it from an early age.

And at certain points in my life its been debilitating.

These days it’s no different.

It’s a chess match between myself and panic. A battle. Something that I have to physically fight. I have no idea what the end game is, I suppose it would involve me forcing the anxiety down on bended knee and causing it to somehow scream “uncle”.

Which is completely asinine.

This past while I have come to realize that defeating anxiety and panic is probably not very practical.

It’s too crafty a foe.

Shape-shifting in plain sight to trick me.

Often times, especially when I’m at the peak of stress, the panic wants me to go places — to hit up a burger joint, or get a pizza, or some other object of contention.

It mocks me. Laughing at my tattered tapestry of foibles.

What I’ve come to understand lately is that you can fight this stuff all you want, but for me at least, that fight is unwinnable.

So instead of swinging at the air, trying to force back a foe that is not only invisible, but unbeatable — it’s high time I started looking deeply at that part of myself.

That part that keeps me up nights and makes me feel weak and unsure of myself.

That part of me is just that. It’s a part of me. And I love who I’m becoming. And in the midst of all of that that romance I must begin loving all of me.

Including the anxiety.

Hating it. Fighting it. Languishing in it. These are futile responses.

Time has come to look at it differently, and to adore it — embracing the vulnerable sensitivity that embodies it. Trying to rid myself of these feelings is like pounding nails into the floor with your head. I’ve been doing that for 38 years without making a hell of a lot of progress.

So instead of fighting, it’s time to show myself some compassion.

It’s time to lay down the guns, and embrace a little peace, love, and understanding.

And that’s not anything to be nervous about.

13 thoughts on “Attacking Panic And Other Tales…

  1. that really good Dave we al have some kind. I had it myself until one day I read a book and one statement said having anxiety. Is to be worried about nothing and , that I am in control of myself . I worked for me so any time I get I think of that and I am in control . take care

  2. Hi Dave: Yes anxiety is a real slippery slope to climb without proper footwear. Myself, I had episodes of anxiety and attended an anxiety group in Winnipeg,(my home town) and it provided me with some strategies to live on a daily basis. I too drank and eventually ended up in a program with “Bill’s” followers, which brought me back to life. It seems that not only does one ailment push you down, but the other ailments/issues gather around to help. I wish you all the best in your journey uphill.

  3. Dave, I am so proud of what you have set out to do, and the documentation of your journey is refreshing and candid. You put in print what many of us think or go through at times. You talked about surviving the holidays previously and one way I do it is to tell myself that instead of breaking a rule or “deserving the chocolate or gravy” or whatever, we deserve a little self control, and the great feelings it instills before, during and after. I still indulge a little but I can keep myself in check a bit more by reminding myself of that hike or gym visit tomorrow, and looking forward to it with friends too. This healthier side is a way of life, not a temporary thing that we can put to one side at times.
    Re: anxiety about who you are – I am quite a bit older than you, and I still feel like an imposter when someone identifies me as a successful whatever. I think it is healthier to feel humble and a little unsure of who we are at times, than to be flying high and get the air knocked out of us when we fall.

    You rock!

  4. Good words Dave. I’ve fought to silence my anxiety for years, which only made it angrier and shout louder. Only though accepting, listening and loving does it become comforted and relaxed. However, it doesn’t go away and most likely never will. Some of us have the challenge of living with a hard wired brain that overloads anxiety on the most trivial perceived threat. Practicing self kindness, compassionate mindfulness and meditation have finally given me some healthy skills in carrying that unavoidable burden. I’ve also found exercise to be tremendously beneficial. Anxiety triggers physical fight or flight responses. Exercise, running for me, allows me to very directly burn out a lot of the physical impacts of anxiety leaving me much more present to comfort and listen to the mental side of it.

  5. Anxiety is a horrible enemy; but it is weak in endurance. I have fought it for many years, and there are so many crutches to lean on and masks to hide behind. I had to search the bottom of my barrel to find enough persistence, determination and the hardest: ‘love for myself” to fight back. It IS possible to kick anxiety in the chops; but I know I must never loose those fighting tactics. It still haunts me from time to time.
    Meditation, exercise and prayer pull me through.

  6. so agree with brian. instead of reaching for pizza or a donut (which you need to make unavailable) reach for your running shoes. i find a 20 minute walk does wonders for this demon anxiety. esp with a 20 pound furbaby towing me along. reward yourself with some nice classical music and green tea when you get home. the world will feel less onerous. and you will be a few more calories towards your goal and will be able to stare down the demon for one more day.

  7. Thank you! You are an inspiration, sir. Your use of grammar and punctuation is fantastic, and your writing style is both informative and entertaining. And that weight-loss-healthy-lifelstyle-shift thing is pretty cool, too. Good on yer.

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