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Jessie Rosen - January 31, 2017
anxiety

Yesterday I tried to decide not to be anxious.

No. Sorry. If I said that to my therapist she would say, “Jessie, you know anxiety is the part of the human condition.”

Yesterday I tried not to let my anxiety win the day.

Without getting into it, I got some exciting but overwhelming news. This is good news, the kind people hear and say congratulations! but it made me anxious instead of excited, at first.

Anxiety runs in the women in my family. I am from New Jersey. Most of the women in my family are Italian Catholics. A high percentage of us have bad stomachs aka agita which we pronounce ah-jit-ah, first syllable rhymes with odd not add. I’m not sure any of that is relevant. I feel like most women in most families have been nervous since the beginning of time. Nervous wrecks, if it’s my family. I’m just sick about it, is another fave phrase.

This is not to say that the men in my family don’t also have some anxiety. Everyone has anxiety, except for my Poppop who did not appear to have any, ever, and lived to be 93. But in fairness he didn’t have a lot of any other emotions either, so I think it’s less that he won out over anxiety and more that he was part God.

Point being, it makes sense that I am anxious/nervous/prone to worry. You wouldn’t know it if you met me slash know me fairly well because I am pretty steadfast in my charade of seeming like I’ve broken that dumb cycle. I’ve evolved beyond it. I live in Los Angeles and have a small, heart-shaped crystal sitting on my desk. I go to meditation classes. I choose calm. I am calm. And I don’t even smoke pot.

It makes me too nervous.

But back to yesterday. Here’s the thing.

I wanted to feel joy. I wanted to be excited. I wanted to see all the good things (and there are a million) and none of the potential bad things (sure there are a few) and just, for once, sit in real happiness. I accomplished something! I had a goal and it got achieved! And it was a tough goal in tough times, dammit!

And so I started to get really annoyed at my anxiety. It became this nasty, rude thing blocking my path to yay. I started to be like, What are you doing here? Go away! Nobody wants you! Metaphorically. I didn’t say those things. Out loud.

I don’t think you can choose to ignore emotions.

Well, that’s not true.

My therapist told me that you cannot choose to ignore emotions…every session for several years.

So – fine – I acknowledge that I am anxious. This big news comes with work to be done and decisions to be made. It’s big girl stuff and despite being a married 33-year-old, I still feel single and 16 most days.

But some time yesterday afternoon – after – ugh I can’t believe I’m admitting this – feeling a little sick about it – I started to see a path through the worrying. Because here is the #1 thing: I don’t want it right now. It’s not serving me. It’s not keeping me safe like worry is supposed to do, I think. Isn’t that why we worry, from an evolutionary stand point? To anticipate danger? I don’t know. I haven’t gotten to the Brene Brown book on that yet.

Anyway this moment doesn’t call for that kind of anxiety, I started to really realize. I’m protected. I have the help of professionals. I have the support of my husband. Sure this is some uncharted territory for me, but it’s nothing I can’t do, and well. All evidence from my entire life points to the fact that I’ve got this. Yes, anything could happen but anything could always happen, may as well enjoy exciting moments in life while all those bad things aren’t currently happening!

And here’s another thing that really hit me as I tried to distract myself by tooling around the Internet (worst. move): people have real, huge, anxiety-inducing things to be very legitimately sick about right now. While that doesn’t change the fact that I’m overwhelmed about what’s going on in my little corner, it feels rude and almost inappropriate to dwell in a place of but what if this perfect, exciting thing becomes a little less perfect

There’s another path out of anxiety, gratitude.

I read that Brene Brown book.

Before I went to bed last night R and I talked about exciting things about this exciting news. I looked online at a few things relative to it all and felt really happy.

Today I’m going to try really hard to do the same.

After my meditation class.

If you hold your crystal while your meditate it works twice as well, right?