Recently I’ve experienced some major changes that bring my life more in line with my overall dreams and goals. Two big things happened on the same day, one totally unexpected.
Now, big change, whether positive or negative, can certainly bring its own stress. Ideally, I presume, adjusting to big changes would enhance my ability to cope in life, and it would bring a greater sense of perspective. That is to say, knowing what matters I’d then worry less about the small stuff.
Well, I’ve realized in the last day or two that this isn’t necessarily the total picture for me, at least not right now. What I notice, instead, is that even when things I’ve been dreaming about (some without ever speaking about it, but really dreaming about it and just kind of assuming they would happen) – even when those things come true outside of my imagination, I stress about it.
It’s like, there’s a level that has to do with handling change in life. And I understand that regardless of how much I roll with the changes, I will feel them. But, for me, it seems like there’s another level, where I will start to roll with the changes, cope with them, get that sense of perspective – and then I get locked up inside of an almost physically painful anxiety. So then it feels like a rollercoaster of relief that almost leads to more anxiety, then something else brings relief, then that triggers more anxiety, and so on.
I was pondering this phenomenon today as a couple of really cool things happened to me, and I felt a momentary relief, and then again that sickening feeling of anxiety. And it occurred to me that this anxiety has the quality of an addiction. In recent weeks I’ve been watching more than one person in my experience as they go through the initial stages of stopping an addictive substance. And the feelings they report, particularly the frustration with how badly part of them calls out for the thing they’re giving up (even while another part of them can’t imagine returning to the substance and yet another part just feels extra vulnerable) – those feelings are just a bit too familiar for coincidence.
It’s been really eye-opening to see how, upon having good things come to me, I have taken it upon myself, even before I’m consciously aware of it, to cloak myself and my true feelings and my genuine experience in anxiety. So then, whether I feel happy, sad, mad, frightened, or any other nuance of emotion, it gets masked by anxiety.
It’s almost like anxiety has become my drug of choice over the years. And I do recollect talking some about this in some way here before. But this time it feels different. I’m in situations where really positive changes are pretty much becoming mine for the asking. At the same time, folks around me are similarly experiencing positive changes of one kind or another. I seem to be surrounded by change, and much of it seems to reflect what folks have wanted.
There’s no harm, I know, in understanding that big change brings big feelings. And I do get that it takes time to adjust to big changes even when they are changes I really really wanted. Where I’m wanting to stop and take a breath is in that space between relief and renewed anxiety. Somewhere in that space-which-doesn’t-feel-like-a-space, there is room for an expansive breath. Somewhere in there, there’s room to suggest to my brain that there are other chemicals it could send out right now. Somewhere in there, there’s room to tell my feelings they are really OK. Somewhere in there, I don’t have to hurt myself internally in order to make myself worthy of what is in my life.
My children are starting to read poetry, and of course the classic Shel Silverstein poems make them shriek with laughter and read them aloud and then quote them over and over. There’s something about silly elementary school poetry that gives a little space to breathe. LOL So I will close with this classic of the genre, and I’ll remember to breathe in the relief while I laugh myself to sleep:
The Eraser Poem
The eraser poem.
The eraser poem
The eraser poe
The eraser po
The eraser p
Best. poem. evah. LOL