Monday, February 27, 2012

I have been pretty stressed out lately, and noticing a few indicators of anxiety neuroses.

anxiety:  "an unpleasant emotional state for which the cause is either not readily identified or perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable"   


I started to ask questions: When did these start? Why am I so sensitive? Why do I feel like I am stressed or anxious all. the. time? 
How come some people can calm down and not me? (apparently, only 18% of Americans. SO 82% of Americans are anxiety free most of the time! no fair!)
Why do I only ever use the left-hand "Shift" key?

That last one has been bugging me for a while now, actually.

Anyway, I started looking back on my life and noticing flare-ups of stress, but a general anxiety blanket over most of my thoughts starting around high school.  So naturally I thought it must have started around there. Something about the universally traumatic experience of post-pubertal development within a public high school plus braces plus orchestra minus cool equals inevitable generalized anxiety problems. 

BUT, as I pointed out earlier, not everyone has these chronic problems. Clearly.

And then, remembered for a completely different reason, a fully formed memory floated into my head:..... (bubbly dream sequence harp playing)...

I was walking behind my church, leaving after some post-Mass event or other, and I was worriedly asking my mother what I would have to know to make my First Communion.  I remember that it was warm and sunny outside, with fluffed pine straw in the landscaping to the right of me and the carpool lane on my left. I remember seeing everything from my much smaller 7-year-old height and the hum of the generator behind the old gymnasium. 
And I remember someone telling me "'re going to be quizzed on all the priest's homilies. I hope you were paying attention..." 
and all of this, the carpool lane, the generator, the pine straw swirling around me as anxiety scooped me into it's dizzying arms.
 ...I haven't been paying attention, I worried, I'm not going to get it. I'll never get it. I'll be old and wrinkly and no one will give me the Eucharist...

Something in his voice (and the laughter that followed the statement) told me he was kidding, but I couldn't undo the worry. And I didn't - not until I finally did make my First Communion a few agonizing months later (during which I spent every Sunday willing my attention to the priest at his pulpit and begging my brain to remember it). 

And so the pattern goes.
  1. Evil thoughts.
  2. Needless worry
  3. Needless worry
  4. must calm down.  CALM DOWN.
  5. Oh no!! [insert worry here] is about to happen...
  6. Oh, what? [insert worry here] already happened? And everything's fine? Oh. Phew.
  7. repeat. ad nauseum.
 Moral of the story: Claire has been like this for a while.

I don't know if you can tell, but I'm about to graduate from college. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

don't forget to breathe

Life has been stressful lately. I'm going to live in this song for a while.

And all the suffering that you've witnessed
And the hand prints on the wall
They remind you how it's endless
How endlessly you fall

And the answer that you're seeking
For the question that you found
Drives you further to confusion
As you lose your sense of ground

So don't forget to breathe
Don't forget to breathe
Your whole life is here
No eleventh hour reprieve
So don't forget to breathe

Sorry if this bummed you out.