Wednesday, February 28, 2007

High Anxiety

First things first. This town is a scream. A friend referred to it as a "Northern Exposure" type town. Exactamundo. Mark saw an old guy in court yesterday about a fist fight at the Senior Center. The ring leader pleaded guilty, proudly. The Judge fined him, gave him a lecture about dignity, and then asked if he had a comment. Rambo senior grinned and allowed the fight was "stupid" but the "old SOB had it coming." I forgot to say the courtroom was packed with Senior Center attendees. Rambo got a standing ovation. This not being a usual occurrence in Circuit Court the Judge did not have his gavel to hand. He had to shout and bang his water glass to restore order. He of course sloshed water over everything at the Bench. A good time was had by all. I never did hear what started the fight.

The first time one of my aunts told me I was "nervous just like your mother" I almost slapped her. I knew this was not a compliment. My poor mother was "just a little over anxious at times" according to my aunts. As near as I can piece together she was schizophrenic. She was institutionalized for much of my childhood. You can see how the appellation "nervous" would rankle. But I am indeed nervous just like my mother. I am not nuts although it has been has been a close thing in times past. My high anxiety level has been the seat of a good many of my troubles. Obesity being the most noticeable.

I eat to calm myself. Hands up all those who can testify. Amen Jesus. Is the anxiety biological or psychological? Was I born with it or did I learn it? I have investigated this for years and frankly Scarlett I just don't give a damn anymore. After years of therapy and numerous meds and diets I am still anxious, and fat. I don't care what is causing it, I just want it to stop.

But it is not going to. It is me. I am indeed nervous just like my mother. Did I also mention she wrote poetry, painted, sang and was the valedictorian of her high school class. I am not broken, or malfunctioning or incapable, I am just very sensitive. I want armor to face the noisy, smelly, dangerous world. Food, drink, drugs and sex are initial good shields but have lousy consequences. The "Full Armor of God" comes to mind, but I have yet figured out how to put and keep it on. So what is my answer, do I hole-up in the house hating my isolation but afraid of being overwhelmed by public life?

No. I have courage. I keep forgetting about it. I need to rely on God's strength in my courage. I also need to rename anxiety. I will call it excitement. I need to admit my fears and hang the judgement. I am nervous just like my mother. Idiot aunts. I need to take "Baby Steps" until I come into full stride. I need to lighten up. I need to give my gifts, like my mother I am well blessed. I need to love others as myself.

I need to go back to the Senior Center and check on the yoga class. There might not be a fist fight going on this time.

Take care of yourselves. Love Bea


Debra said...

B, you have hit upon the natural conundrum of the easily-impinged upon: we feel like the things other people take for granted are too difficult to sustain, or at the very least, they enervate us to the point of feeling empty enough that we begin to look around for things to fill us up. Is our answer to this dilemma to have empathy for ourselves, do less, take it easy, relax and let go? Not usually. The answer to not being able to do more is to order ourselves to ... do more. Something about this doesn't seem like it would work.

Beula said...

Debra, I don't know which is better, to more in or out of the public arena. If I remain in my comfort zone I don't accomplish or experience the things I want/need to do or know. If I get too much out of my comfort zone I am bombarded by stimuli to the point of catatonia. I am ineffectual in either case. I do know I am not proud of myself when I let fear control me.

This is my first chance at being reclusive. For most of my life I have had to fight people off with a stick. Maybe I am just making up for lost down time.

Hoe do you handle the "conundrum?"

Debra said...

I don't think being in or out of the public arena is the issue -- your comfort is.

Personally, I do a lot less than I used to, and I don't feel guilty about it. It's made each succeeding decade more and more fun for me. When I was younger, I was afraid that my need for down time and my alternately extroverted then introverted personality was contributing to a sense that life was passing me by. So, I was tortured for years by what I thought life should be like; by what I thought I should be like (highly inflated ego ideal and all).

Then, I realized that it was okay not to be married (I married anyway at age 45); okay not to have children; okay not to pursue my profession (psychotherapist); okay not to hit the bars on Friday or Saturday night; okay to prefer home with friends to almost anything else. In short, as one cognitive therapist put it, I stopped "shoulding" myself to death.

I still get caught up in fantasies of what I should be like, but then I remember, smile, get in my recliner and pick up a good book.

Vickie said...

Love your writing (and you) to pieces. . .

BigAssBelle said...

Beula, this post touched me as the fat child of a "nervous" mother. Mine was bipolar. Or maybe schizophrenic. While the docs were trying to decide, she vanished.

I remember hearing an AA speaker talking about why we (drunks) end up the way we do. He said something like this: As all of the babies were coming down the conveyor belt from heaven, just as I passed by the point where God would have given me that extra wrapping of insulation on my nerves, my feelings, the tenderness of me, someone yelled "hey God, telephone" and He turned his back. I whizzed by and here I am, all exposed and extra tender in a world where that's a hard thing to be. Alcohol gave me the extra insulation I needed.

Something like that; it's what I heard, anyway.

You write beautifully. Thank you for this post. I'm going to work, but happy I found you through Debra and I shall return. . . keep writing. It's a form of salvation.

Cindy174 said...

I like renaming anxiety as "excitement" -- maybe we can actually turn it into something positive, which is what I got out of your post today. I certainly have a lot of anxiety these days. But now I am going to look at it as something I can convert to positive energy. Thanks!!!