ANXIETYS BITCH BLOG
The beast tends to make me feel like I am suffocating while driving anywhere long distance. If there is any kind of traffic, my chest fills with cement and my pulse races. I always want to scream that I want to turn around and go home. I have to constantly tell myself to breathe and focus on the scenery. It does help me to keep talking or listen to someone talk. Being agoraphobic does not necessarily mean you are afraid of open spaces. I am afraid of being in a situation were panic might be embarrassing or humiliating. I can't handle feeling trapped with no way out. If I sit in the front seat, it does lessen the chances of a full-blown attack, perhaps because there seems to be more air circulation in the front seats. I recently went on a drive to my hometown with some friends to have dinner, drinks, and dancing. Typically, I would say yes to this type of event, then closer to the date, I would change it to "maybe". The day of, I would have convinced myself that I could not go, and retract my yes with a no. A few months ago, I decided to say yes more often and push myself harder than I had ever before. I am not allowing the beast to take away my life any longer. Avoidance is like retreating from an enemy, as we feel safer, to begin with. Then the enemy comes at us so we retreat further and further until we no longer have a life. The beast wins, by stealing every happy moment from you. Phobias tend to become such a problem because we tend to avoid the things we fear, and that fear worsens very rapidly. I have learned, that to recover, we need to retract that process. Back it all the way up, reverse it. Any type of fear reaction is effectively automatic and hard to control. We, as humans were programmed, as soft-bodied species surrounded by predatative creatures, to respond by retreating from trouble. Our brains did not allow us to linger looking for a cause of this fear or threat. Now, however, we can learn quickly to train ourselves to respond firmly to threats. We understand because of experience, not to react with terror to prove to be harmless. Think of firefighters, tight-rope walkers, and scaffolders, all who have to deal with potentially extremely dangerous ordeals safely. I suppose if we were all not able to learn these changes, we would still be in a black cave hiding! I am proud of myself as I pushed hard to fight the beast that night. My craving for a pleasurable night outweighed my fear of the unknown. I laughed until my ribs hurt, smiled until my cheeks hurt and danced until my feet hurt! I not only survived, I thrived as a human. NOW go forth and conquer your beast.
Today was a hard day as yet another great music icon died. Gord Downie was not only a musician, a writer, an actor, an activist but a true Canadian. He loved his people from coast to coast. His fans loved him. Throughout the day, I have read numerous Facebook statuses, Tweets and Instagram posts. All of which showed the love and respect that the Tragically Hips lead man had. People opening stated that they were crying or extremely sadden. They shared their memories of his concerts, his words, some even were lucky to have met the great man. The outpouring of sadness was everywhere today. The Prime Minister of Canada, who was friends with Gord, had visible tears rolling down his face as he spoke a special tribute. His voice trembled as he said that Canada was less of a country for having lost Downie. Every radio station today and tonight played the Tragically Hip, every news station including CNN headline the story.
Why do we as humans have such an attachment to musicians? Why do we cry over the death of someone most of us have never met or have ever seen in person? Think of a world without music? Scary. Think of a world without ever having heard Elvis, The Beatles, Bowie, Prince, Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain, Leonard Cohen, Notorious B.I. G. and now Gordon Downie. This small list alone provides ample reason to grieve as a music lover. I assume that the death of musical craftsmanship constitutes a fraction of why we mourn all these losses. I feel that I lost a friend or a narrator of my past life when a musician dies. Those people wrote the soundtrack to my life. When they die, those moments of yesteryear come flowing on back. The memories transport me back to a time when life was easier, harder, wild, quiet, happy or sad. I remember times I spent hours listening to music in my room ignoring the outside world. I remember times when I blared music into my ears with my Sony Walkman so I kept my anxiety levels down on the way to the dentist. I could write a book on the times I spent drifting into another world while listening to music because I was looking to escape the one I was in. I have always used music as my escape from my reality. I have used music to feel unity as well and there is where The Tragically Hip appeared. They got Canadians. Hell, they were Canadians. Gord, well, he was all those stories of Crazy Canucks rolled into one magnificent human. He made you proud to be a Canadian. He made you want to be from Canada. He taught us history as we sipped our beers and watched the fire in the pit. I got to see him a few times once so long ago, I did not realize it was the same band. Yeah, I am old but well preserved! I could go on and on about his greatness, but you should already know that. If you do not, then please get on Youtube and listen to some Hip.
When a favourite musician leaves our universe, the void affects us in an abstract way as their music spoke to us, it is universal but inherently personal. Everywhere in Canada is there is someone feeling sad, listening to a song, knowing that they are going to survive thanks to the lyrics. Gordon Downie, you gave a generation the skills to learn, love and cry. You leave behind a legendary life that so many of us can and will always cherish. You fought the fight for all of us. We thank you. We will miss your genius caring soul.While we mourn someone who lost their life, we are also mourning the loss of something inside of us. We have to grab that shade down on a happy memory that stung just a bit. We have to sit and watch the colourful talent of an artist drift out of sight like a balloon that slipped from our grasp just a moment before we were ready.
I was recently honored to be asked to guest blog on a friends site. If you told me this ten years ago, hell, even twelve months ago, I would have laughed hysterically. I am pushing myself to limits that I did not know I could reach.
In honor of International Girls Day, I will share today!
Below is my "brave" moment.
I AM BRAVE
I have been defined in my life as funny, pretty, sweet, loyal, stubborn, caring, but the most powerful word I have been described as is brave.
As a child growing up I thought to be brave meant you were never afraid of anything or anyone. You needed to wear a badge, armour or be a male to be brave. As I aged, somewhat gracefully, I began to understand those were unrealistic definitions of the word brave.
To be brave, there is not a list of credentials written in stone. Anyone can be brave, regardless of sex, nationality, employment, height, weight, personality, or age.You do not have to jump out of an airplane or pick up a rattlesnake. You do not have to dive into the deep end. You do not have to sleep with the light off. You do not have to be someone you are not.
Being brave means facing a fear and making your own decision on how you deal with it. It is far more brave to say no or walk away sometimes than it is to push yourself into something you are not ready for. I am brave not because I was not scared, but because I was, and did it anyway. I am brave because I allowed myself to be me. I am brave because I needed to be. I am brave because I survived. I am brave because I am a woman.
Find your reason to be brave and bravely yell, I AM BRAVE.
I guess I will jump on the grateful bandwagon this weekend and blog about what I am thankful for in my life. I am always thankful as I prefer the good karma that comes along with that mindstate. I, however, am more grateful this weekend as my health is 85% better than it was this time last year. Last year, my health was in jeopardy, both physically and mentally. I have fought hard to get healthy and will continue to push myself towards better health every day. I will never put myself last as I paid for that tenfold. I will always take care of me first, not selfishly, but wisely. I am thankful for my amazing children, who always make me proud to be their Mama. I am grateful for the awesome friends that I have in my life who are my tribe. I can't express how much they mean to me. I am thankful for the beautiful weather this weekend, even the rain. I love to be able to go for long walks to the pond and boardwalk close to my home. Nature is a great therapy tool for me. I am especially thankful for all of you, who are reading this blog. This little adventure of writing a blog has been beneficial to my levels of anxiety to remain low. Sharing is caring! I am caring for myself by opening up and smashing down that wall that I have kept ironclad. Hopefully, somewhere out there, I have helped someone. If I can even just make someone feel slightly better knowing that they are not alone in this battle with anxiety, then I will be happy. The only beast you or I should be dealing with this Thanksgiving is the waistband of our pants!