I had a small twinge of it when I woke up this morning. That’s not all that unusual and my morning rituals typically take it down a few notches. It gnawed at me while I drove to work. Today’s version was wondering what I was forgetting to be anxious about. I paid rent, so that’s not it. Bills aren’t due yet, that’s not it. Did I have plans today? Yes, but that’s not making me anxious. Do I have an appointment I’m forgetting about? No. Breathe. Deep breaths, music, relaxing drive to work.
Maybe I forgot to say something to someone. No, nothing that would cue my anxiety. Maybe I said the wrong thing to someone. Again, nothing more embarrassing than usual. The process of getting ready and setup at work took the edge off, but every time I stopped moving my anxiety sat there nibbling, itching, worrying at me. At this point, it was still a bit like white noise.
Part of what I love about massage therapy, is that- for the most part- it keeps my anxiety at bay. I ground myself each time and suspend myself for a while. Sounds strange now that I say it, but it makes sense if you really think about it. Anyway, I become focused on listening to someone else for a while. To the slightest signal from their muscles, their connective tissue, their interstitial fluid. I work my way through the puzzle of created pathways and learned responses. It amazes me every day. The story of a person’s life mapped out in their body.
My first massage of the day was wonderfully anxiety free (I always have a sliver of anxiety, a little critter sitting somewhere never letting me forget to worry about nothing). Then I caved and made a run to the craft store to look for a particular yarn and they’re out, just like the other one is. I haven’t come across it in a couple weeks and it’s making me anxious. I can’t find a decent substitute either. This began a spiral of me looking for it online and not being able to find it that way either.
This is also when it began to dawn on me that I actually was having what I call a high anxiety day. My next two massages were great, but keeping my anxiety at bay was an effort. I had to talk myself through cleaning up and making sure I was set to leave. Even changing my clothes to go home (yet another ritual of mine) was a chore I had to talk myself through. Lots of calming breaths. I picture all of it leaving me and my body feeling relaxed because of it.
As I drove home I realized just how many people are back in town. I work in a college town and we have been without college students for so long, I had forgotten what it was like to have them everywhere. The buzz and the thrum. It’s a lot of noise. Especially on a Saturday. Once I got home, put on my ‘house clothes’, and sat back, I began to feel better. So, long story short, as people begin going back to normal (even with masks) I have to remember to prepare for it. Here’s to relearning how to manage my anxiety again. Yay!