I had an anxiety attack today.

Everyday anxiety may or may not look the way you think…or maybe it does

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

Hello, anxiety attack, nice to see you out here in the woods where I’m alone with my dog. You have the best timing.

The runner stopped, huffed audibly, put her hands on her hips, and shook her head. We were all kinds of in her way.

“Sorry!” I called back as my shoes struggled to grasp the muddy leaves and my greyhound continued his standoff. “I’m trying to get him.” I tugged firmly at his leash. She was jogging in place now, and I suddenly found the whole thing overly dramatic. Choosing a muddy ass over prolonging this encounter, I reached out to pluck my stubborn animal from this hill he’d chosen to die on. Then I relinquished my grip on the ground and just fell into a seated position. The runner continued to glare and sigh so I scooted up the hill with my leggy best friend awkwardly in my arms, collecting a foul cake of black slime on my backside.

It’s easy to focus on and thus understand the more terrifying, extreme experiences of people with anxiety — which are very real, let me tell you — but it’s just as easy to overlook the quotidian accounts.

Soon, I passed a tree with a small branch that hung ever-so-perfectly that it hooked the wire on my earbuds and pulled them, my sunglasses, and my face mask right off. What are the odds?! The glasses fell in front of me, the mask into some gross slop (because why not?), and the earbuds — well — right up into the tree. The way my head snapped back, I was reasonably sure it, too, had flown off somewhere.

I’ve feared it being seen as a weakness, a liability, an excuse to “protect” me from difficult experiences. But as an adult — and especially in light of the heaviness we’re living in now — I’ve learned it’s the exact opposite of those things.

One, I want to illustrate just how ordinary some anxiety attacks can be. Not all are devastating. It’s easy to focus on and thus understand the more terrifying, extreme experiences of people with anxiety — which are very real, let me tell you — but it’s just as easy to overlook the quotidian accounts. I count myself fortunate to have only had a handful of earth-shattering anxiety attacks in my life, but I’ve recently started to focus more on the smaller-scale episodes alongside the large-scale ones that have utterly terrorized me. The realization that anxiety is not one-size nor is it always epic has been crucial to my own coping, and I want to believe it can do the same for some of you.

Media professional. Professor. Baseball fan. Academic fraud. Hair farmer. Demigod. Miscellaneous superpowers.

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