Thursday, November 22, 2012

Anxious Visiting/Waving It Buh-Bye


Barbara: On Tuesday, I sat down to write my Wednesday blog-post, and as you may have guessed by my “unexpected” Wednesday Five Crazy Things, I ended up getting sidelined by life. There were monumental glitches in the work I was doing that needed incredible focus and patience to overcome and deal with, there was the fact that I had my original Wednesday blog-post half-written and then DISCARDED IT!! (accidentally) (let’s just assume it was likely the most insightful, articulate, epiphany-inducing piece I have ever written and now it is lost in the cyber-garbage and we will never know), and then there was the subtle but pervasive thrum of worry because my daughter was due home from her stay in Paris and there were major travel snafus along the way. She was scheduled to arrive home at 2pm, and we brought her into the house from the airport at exactly 10:30pm!

The irony is that I had been starting to write about a recent lesson (or re-lesson, as this is one of those I need to keep learning and learning and learning) about dealing with anxiety.

The other day, a friend entertained and delighted us with a great motto when it comes to dealing with anxiety—or really problems of every kind. 1. You see the problem. 2. You acknowledge the problem (yes, this is an important step). 3. And then you wave it buh-bye as it recedes into the distance.

And not only is this sound “anxiety advice”—I will draw your attention to this post where Deb utters the magic words: “Don’t go there twice” (you live the imagined worst-case scenario once when you imagine it, and then again IF it actually happens)—but it is also sound “problem advice”. Why? Because truly every horrible, terrible thing that happens to us does eventually recede into the distance. We can only deal with issues when they happen, do the best we can, and, yes, carry on. Either way, whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we hold on to our pain or not, the event does recede into the past. So the nutshell of acknowledging it and waving it buh-bye is an effective one—for me, certainly.

But, ironically, as I was trying to write this piece the first time (you know, the version that is absolutely mind-blowing and breathtaking, but gone), I was nursing an insistent, burrowing worry around my daughter being in hiccup-plagued transit and not home, safe and sound with me (as she is now, quietly watching a classic musical on TV in the other room). That anxiety made waste of my day, causing me to not solve problems in a timely or reliable way, and probably caused the tragic accident of hitting the delete button on what may have been my life’s opus. Oh well. Lesson relearned.

Deb: Barbara, as you know I have lived these scenarios and I totally subscribe to the old and well-worn phrase, “these should be our only problems”. Don’t get me wrong, dear readers, we LOVE our blog and our bloggie community, but I have to say that we know after these two and a half years, that when we mix it up, we know that you guys instinctively know that we have a good reason. Even if that reason is to have a conversation and cup of tea with our child.

27 comments:

  1. I am actually in awe of you both for your diligence and commitment to this blog in your very busy lives. I think we all certainly understand that when you change it up it is just because life and all that goes with it has taken over your time. We are so lucky to be part of this community and able to discuss various aspects of our lives and the anxieties, joys, etc. that go with them. Barb, I am so glad your daughter is home, safe and sound. One anxiety you can say Bu bye to. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about it.

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    1. Thanks, Jo! We are sooo lucky too. And, yes, anxiety gone.

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  2. Two tips given to me by wise therapists. I was always anxious when my kids were out until they got home and he told me that the reason most people are late is because they are having a great time not because they are dead on the freeway or dying somewhere. It doesn't apply to traveling but in general for everything else that is under your own control. It worked and I focused on that when they were late. Also, another therapist told me that if you envision a broom in your mind literally sweeping away the anxiety every time, eventually and quickly your mind will do it automatically. Both worked for me. I, too, understand why you sometimes need to take a different approach to your blogs. Just writing and coming up with thoughts can be exhausting so whatever you put out here is accepted as fabulous to me.

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    1. Thanks, Madge! And, yes, the broom analogy is very effective too! Clearly defines what we want to do with it.

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    2. Souzan Rezai from Vancouver, BCNovember 26, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      I would have given anything to have been able to show your reply to my mom ten years ago, Madge! Oh. I'm too in a whirl of memories of all those...ohh. Well. We're (mostly) better now, as I'm 25 and don't live there, but. Oh...

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  3. Awwww Hon. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND. I had a similar situation a few days ago. And I'm the QUEEN OF ANXIETY...I'm also the Queen of Weirdness..(I mean...Duh!?!). But anxiety has been the biggest problem I had since childhood...weirdness is more of a lifestyle choice. I am happy to announce that fear and anxiety are no longer an issue for me. Because there is something that gets me out of any situation. Well, just like you I imagine the WORST thing that could happen. I do the processes, go general (you know that). Then I keep saying "RIDE IT OUT BABY...RIDE.IT.OUT" because its BOUND TO CHANGE SOMETIME!?!?! I mean....its not like IF theres rain now..it'll rain forever. IT HAS TO STOP SOMETIME...Change HAPPENS... Ive sort of embraced that fact. So I know it will change. And it will get better. Sometime in the situation you'll spot your pet being playful or realize that its a beautiful day or see a cute baby...or a cute kitten...or something. You WILL GET DISTRACTED eventually. Thats what gets us through anxiety most of the times. and I just let go...If I feel angry I yell......If I feel like crying I cry. It eases it. And eventually the anxiety goes away. And Now I'm a pro at it.

    I'll tell you what caused the anxiety. My friend, the one who was gonna move to Toronto with me found a better college in Vancouver and decided to go there. Now the odds arent that good. But if She's ANYTHING like me (and I mean law of attractionwise) she'll get in easily..but she's not. Either way it changes things for me and that was a BIG DEAL last week coz everything sort of fell apart. I gotta start planning from scratch and she was guilty as she thought that would make me angry and heartbroken and I would just take a long time to recover. To her and my surprise...I was ok within 24 hours. Yep. It took a few days....for it to go away completely. So I waved buh-bye to the anxiety just in a couple of days. My mom will NOT do that unless I reach Toronto, get settled, meet a guy, get married, have babies..........NOPE not even then. I'm just happy that news didnt give her a stroke.

    Anyway long story short.....LMAO (saying this after writing that looooong comment) I'm fine now. You know I cant stay out of the vortex for a long time. All I need to get in is to think about a Kitten or Barb Radecki....!! <3

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    1. AWW, thanks, Shalaka!! You are a perfect example of this! I'm sorry the roommate sitch changed (or has seemed to for now), but I also completely relate to how you dealt with it: the sadness was the "acknowledgement" stage, but then you got to waving it away and moving on. I'm always surprised at how quickly I can now process upset and move past it (but I do still need some time). Thinking of you and hoping for all the best thing! xoxo

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    2. I know it'll be fine. Thanks hon! xoxo

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  4. P.S. anytime the waving buh-bye doesnt work (knock on wood)... You know where to find me. Ive got a friend who says I'm good at easing negative situations. All of you bloggies remmeber that too. Anytime you wanna talk I'm here! :) :P

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  5. No, dammit! No! No! No! You MUST do this in the right order!! Don't you know that to everything, (turn turn turn) there is a season turn turn turn... EXCEPT FOR THIS BLOG!! It MUST Be written IN ORDER, EVERY DAY!

    Sounds kinda silly (like 'turn turn turn' isn't?), to expect anything to happen EXACTLY as planned, and we gotta change with the changes. I am not one to preach about letting the past stay in the past. (Hell, that's part of the reason we have therapists!) It ain't easy, but it can be the key to a huge sigh of relief, to say, okay, today sucks, but I don't have to worry about yesterday/last month/last year sucking because it's OVER. Turn the page.

    (Turn turn turn.)

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    1. I can always count on you for a) a good laugh, and b) an insightful comment. Bang on on both today again! Thanks, Dawn. xoxo

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    2. Souzan Rezai from Vancouver, BCNovember 26, 2012 at 3:43 PM


      I've actually copied out "okay, today sucks, but I don't have to worry about yesterday/last month/last year sucking because it's OVER. Turn the page." on to my quote board (I have a quote board. Mostly filled with hilarious things or wise things my friends of said, and in the centre in giant letters it says "ARE YOU BEING STIMULATED?") because they are such good words, Dawn!

      My birthday is coming up in a few months, and I actually for the first time just had no desire to celebrate it because, well, this year was hard. The year before it was hard too, and I was starting to feel beat up on, which was fine, but I just didn't want a celebration, more a quiet shot of tequila to the moon, and hoping that the third round is gonna be me sucker punching that life-bitch back. But I love what you said. I think I may actually do the exact opposite and have a giant celebration instead, because my 25th year will be over. Thank heavens. Imma totally get down, and funky, and turn the page!

      xo

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    3. Yes, Dawn is one of our precious sanity clauses here -- always with the great advice. And she has been through the wringer, so she knows from coping strategies. Your times will get better, Souzan, I promise you that. What better than to ring it in with a grand old partay?!

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  6. First, glad your daughter made it home safely :)
    Second, Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends here.
    Ok now on to the topic at hand. Barbara thanks for pushing thru and re-writing this post for us! and I live by better late than never so it's fun to just go with the flow and see what happes some times. I love how you guys manage to give us a new post and reply to our comments every day. It make me feel like if I dont check in here each day i am missing something big!
    Gonna celebrate friends and family today starting here and not stopping until I have had way too much to eat and all the pie is gone : )

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    1. Oh, I hope you guys are consuming plenty o' goodness over there, Kelly! Happy Thanksgiving! And re the blog: I feel the same way :)

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  7. Ha ha, perfect timing! I tried to reply to your blog post and my response was lost!

    What I wanted to say was that I admire your ability and dedication to blogging every day, and I love being part of this community you've built. I feel that if a post is meant to be written, it'll come back to you if it's lost. Only if you make the effort, of course.

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    1. You too? At least yours wasn't due to your own idiocy (shrugs). And I do agree with you. Anyway, my lost post wasn't so very brilliant, but doesn't our lost stuff feel like it mighta been?

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  8. Sorry, missed the other half of my post. I'm lucky, anxiety isn't something I suffer from. Impatience, yes. I can usually remind myself that the worst rarely happens, so I don't dwell too much on the negatives. Anxiety is such a waste of life energy that could be put to better use, but of course when your mind is trapped in the throes of it you can't see past it to get to a better place.

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    1. And, also, we get stuck in our habits, don't we?, and that's the rut we need to work to get out of. Mine happens (happenED) to be anxiety. Want/need to break that habit! Am getting there...

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  9. First of all, happy Thanksgiving to the Americans here - we've got snow yay!
    I'm prone to panic attacks. Not like actual medical panic attacks, but just things that I obsess over for weeks on end. They're kind of scary, and the only way I knew how to deal with them was to distract myself... which failed as often as not.
    But then last June I read something in a book that I just picked off my bookshelf at random and it made me feel much better.
    "Here's the thing: Your story won't write itself. It's either going to be an autobiography or a biography."
    It seems so obvious, but the sad fact is that I sometimes need to remind myself that I am the one controlling my life, not some menacing overlord. I could let someone else make the big cracking decisions. I could let other people decide what I need to worry about, what is acceptable and what is right for me.
    Or I could make my story actually my own, and do it myself.
    Just thought I'd share that quote.

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    1. Wow. This really spoke to me. This is great advice. So glad you shared this, I needed to hear (read) something like this right now.

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    2. I agree, Steph - thanks for this, Sarah! This is such a good way of putting it/seeing it. It's interesting how these touchstone insights help manage our anxiety?

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  10. Glad you are able to deal with the issues and hiccups of life. I have been having some issues recently that I really can't shake. I won't go into them because they are still too fresh and painful for me, but I am trying to find a way to difuse the situation. This is not something that I can just push aside and go on, unfortunately. I'm just trying to get through it, remembering to breathe.
    I am glad your daughter got home to you safe and sound. Honestly, I've never had anyone wait up for me to get home or anything like that, so I can't directly relate. I haven't done a lot of independent traveling and I have never been the sort of person who stayed put really late, so I guess that's why.
    On a side note: this is my first major holiday without my grandmother. I have had a hard time of it, but I've managed. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! You are all in my thoughts. Love to one and all!

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    1. Thinking of you, Steph, and sending love! It's so hard to celebrate milestone events without a loved one. As for the hardships, breathing is number one. I hope you're okay and that you're able to find peace within the pain. Seems to work in steps: one at a time, always breathing. xoxo

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  11. Oh yes, I am familiar with loosing texts. When I was doing my BBA thesis thing, I actually lost the whole text when my computer crashed (had just fixed it a week before) and the memory stick where I had a copy crashed also. I was able to salvage some from the memory of another computer where I had written my thesis. So I did in the end get some of it back, but not all. So now that I do things I save them to memory sticks, email and to my two computers. Of course this doesn't help with blog texts (which I have also lost because power loss or trying to use mobile phone) so there I still am tossing the coin whether I will loose the text or not.

    I am not that worried when people are traveling, because what happens, happens. I do love when things happen on time or are just a bit earlier there, and luckily when flying I haven't had any trouble. I bet I would be a bit anxious to know what happens next if I would be trapped in foreign airport.

    But to give you some contrast; yesteday I noticed that I had received my deposit from my appartment. The deposit paid was too little and the reason was that there was a key missing. This I knew not to be true, so I started to find out why this had happened. Unfortunately the place was already closed yesterday, so I had to wait till 9 am today to call them. I had to call them couple of times and I talked to few people. Now I need to underline here that I was furious about it because they hadn't contacted me at all about this issue. So I was really really furious. When I called the issue did not get solved and I was promised a call from a person who could check it out. So there was waiting involved. So during this waiting and talking on phone, I did not yell or swear to anyone, altough I really badly wanted to. I told this to my sister, I made sure that I understood that I have the right to feel this, but it would do no good to act upon it. When I finally got the call that they had made a mistake the anxiousness just went away. The anger and furiousness went away when I knowledged their precense. The anxiousness was with me the evening and night, just because I wanted to solve the issue so bad.

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    1. Fascinating, Kasku! Yes, this is my experience exactly -- in the sense that somehow the acknowledgement of the "thing" is half the journey to clearing the negativity away. So glad it worked for you! And your words will ring in my ears the next time I find myself in a similar sitch. (PS I've also started to email myself important docs -- so at least they're in the cloud somewhere too...)

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  12. Writing this comment from my home I grew up in! It's been the first time I've been back in 6 months...the longest I've been away. It's been fun and interesting re-learning my parent's routines without us.

    I lose things all the time. I used to write a long time ago, but there's one story I started over a year ago and still have not finished yet. Still not sure if I'm going to. Too busy and plus...it's not my thing anymore. Maybe someday if the mood inspires me...

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