makar [ˈmækər]
n (Literature / Poetry) Scot a creative artist, esp a poet
[a Scot variant of maker]

Monday, April 17, 2017

I've been trying for ages to write something about anxiety, but I haven't been able to work out what I want to say. A month or so ago, I agonised over a post and then somehow managed to accidentally delete it. I took this as a sign, but also, to be honest, I just didn't have it in me to rewrite it. I never considered myself anxious, until I came to the realisation that the frustrating and somewhat erratic reactions of one of my kids was down to anxiety. I'd always considered anxious people to be super organised, neat types, who overthink every tiny detail and attempt to control and order all aspects of their lives. I was a bit of a worrier, but not anxious; a little lackadaisical and slapdash if anything. I took risks and was reckless at times; I was often more scared of not doing things, than of doing them. It was only through trying to understand the responses of my child to certain situations that I began to see that I too had irrational reactions to areas of my life; that there were activities and scenarios that I avoided at all costs; that my anxiety sometimes paralysed me. Of course, some anxiety is okay - it keeps us safe - but not when it reaches a debilitating level. Mine stops me from doing and enjoying certain things. It would be good to find a way around that, but if I can't, then so be it. The problem is when something traumatic happens, which feeds that baseline of anxiety and confirm its necessity: "You were right - bad stuff stuff does happen. See!" Last year, it was a miscarriage, 5 years ago it was a high risk result for downs syndrome, a few years earlier it was crashing the car, further back it was my mum dying, and so on and so on. These events have flipped me into a whole other dimension of anxiety, where my thoughts spiral out of all control and way beyond the reach of rationality. More than anything, anxiety is exhausting; it sucks up energy. I know there is no quick fix - that it is a question of managing it, rather than overcoming it - but I've also come to conclude that certain habits are a way of coping: reading, drawing, walking. These are the things I turn to when the world gets too loud, too fast, too much. They are solitary and slow and occupy me to the extent that time moves at a different pace. Anxiety seems like a totally reasonable reaction to our crazy world and way of living - it is certainly something you hear a great deal about these days - and I guess, sooner or later, we might all have to find our own ways to survive its tight grip.

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