On Differentiating Between Worry and Anxiety.

Lent. Day 2

I am stressed.

Today my inner introvert has been around people all day, after being around people all day for several days prior. Every approaching footstep is approaching doom; every word and eye contact is an assault.

Nothing is falling apart around me. There are no crises. I love the people around me and even enjoy the work I do.

I just wish everyone would leave me alone. For more than 8 minutes at a time!

One of the criteria for a clinical anxiety disorder is “Difficulty concentrating and mind going blank.” This is my experience today. I cannot focus. I cannot adequately remember the moderately profound thought I had just twenty minutes ago.

I am anxious but not worried. Anxiety is something physical. A draining fatigue, a pressure on the brain, a blurring of the vision every time a light ignites.

I’m not worried. I’m not scared. Unless I am, in which case I’m afraid to be tired and overwhelmed, afraid the unending pressures are indeed unending, or afraid to go long without doing the things that I really want to do.

Talking a long walk by myself with no technology.img_0611

Going for a run.

Sitting and reading a whole chapter of a book at a sitting.

Writing a complete blog.

Finishing all the edits on a section of my book.

Perhaps anxiety is unrest and dissonance because I am looking to these things for my hope and comfort. I am assuming that comfort and solace are to be found in escape and disengagement, rather than in thoughtful, mindful presence with all the people around me.

Paradigm shift.

Coping with anxiety is in reduction, but rather in reframe. Learning to regard the ongoing scenario as something other than a crisis.

I should explore this more.

I should also get good sleep, because, as in all things, anxiety is a holistic experience. A good portion of my anxiety is from how I view my own experience. Another good portion is entirely physical. I exist in a body from which expenditure of energy is required to have meaningful interaction with people. That expenditure draws on both my spiritual, emotional, mental and physical reserves.

Anxiety is legitimately tiring.

People are truly exhausting.

Managing anxiety means reframing and refreshing. Both together, all in balance.

I’m going from this epiphany, straight back home, then to bed, then to the airport before dawn tomorrow for a family vacation. My introvert will be assaulted for nearly a week straight and I am thankful for every minute of it.

My resolution, then, is to be present and seek out the presence of God in all the stress and seek how to advance the Kingdom, even as I grapple with my own slippery sanity.

And when I am done, I will rest.

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