Did you know anxiety can be like an unwanted house guest? The kind that completely randomly shows up and doesn’t even really have a reason and then does things to hurt you? And you can stand there and wonder, Why did I feel so good yesterday or one hour ago and now this?
It seems to hit me during down times, when it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Maybe it’s a build up from all the stressful moments and then POW!
This uninvited guest seems to only get the hint to leave in two ways (No, one of them is not Xanax. I wish.) (Read: I am an addict and would probably eat Xanax like I do marshmallow Peeps so I can’t have any.) (Because I eat A LOT of marshmallow Peeps.) (Hello! Sugar addiction!)
#1 – HUMOR
#2 – GRATITUDE
I know. I know. If you struggle with anxiety/depression too, you’re rolling your eyes and going yeah yeah yeah RIGHT. And believe me, I feel the same way a lot of the time but here’s the deal. The simplest of things are true. I prove it to myself accidentally all the time. Like when I tell the same story all day to everyone who will listen, about the annoying lady at the grocery store who was SO ANNOYING. By the fifth time I’ve told this story, the uninvited guest has seen it’s sneak-attack side entrance and slid right into my psyche and there’s no choice but BED for the feeling better.
Know what I mean?
Anxiety is a beast that wants to be fed with negativity. I’m not saying that negative people are anxious, I’m just saying that if anxiety is a struggle in the first place, negativity will definitely not help.
I got it right one time this week. Instead of totally and completely stressing the entire time I was at the mall (I don’t love the mall) with my three children, I tried to see how funny it all was. Because friends, it was FUNNY. It’s a long story but if you have children, especially a few of them, you will totally know what I mean when I say GOING TO THE MALL IS NEVER JUST GOING TO THE MALL. And we just needed to go two places but it did take two hours and there was much poop involved. And sweating. I was sweating a lot. And then finally, after the second poop episode, I said Let’s just go home. So we did. But we almost didn’t because at first we couldn’t find the minivan but then we did. It was pretty easy to spot since it was the one with the sliding side door WIDE OPEN. FOR TWO HOURS.
(This is not the first time we’ve done this.)
(It is nothing if not funny.)
(Why am I using so many parentheses today?)
So I laughed and we just got in the van and said OH WELL. Nothing was missing and even though the van was really really cold and the boys had one zillion questions about the door, it started and we went home. And I drove along and gratitude was there because humor opened the door and I could see that we are so truly okay and beyond blessed. I thought about Ellie and how much I madly love her and how soon she won’t be able to swallow because of cancer treatments. I thought about the ways she and I make each other laugh because we have to and then I realized that I know what I do about gratitude and so much more because of Ellie. My sister in so many ways. She has taught me so much and my heart is heavy for her and a lot of that weight is gratitude and hope and wisdom that she gave me freely.
She loved the story about the mall. I got to make her laugh and in that moment neither of us had room for unwanted guests.
Please send your thoughts and prayers to Ellie. Her treatment starts today.