Chronic Anxiety: A day in the life…

1:15 am – Sits up straight in bed. What an awful dream! Are the sheets drenched in sweat or did I pee the bed?

2:09 am – What was that noise? Did I lock the door? Better go check.

3:29 am – Go. To. Sleep.

3:41 am – Bolts awake. Am I late for work?

3:52 am – I only have a couple more hours to sleep.

3:59 am – My side hurts. Is it appendicitis? I need to check my temperature.

4:04 am – What if I never get back to sleep?

4:15-5:40 am – Listens to audio book.

5:40 am – Finally dozes off

5:45 am – Alarm goes off. Snooze.

5:54 am – Snooze.

6:03 am – Snooze.

6:12 am – I’m going to be late for work! Quick! Make the coffee.

6:30 am – Falling asleep in the shower. I forgot to make the coffee!

6:45 am – Forgot to make lunch, but made coffee. Priorities.

6:48 am – Where did I park when I got home last night? And where are my keys?!

6:59 am – Was that a pot hole or did I just run someone over?

7:00 am – Turning around to make sure there isn’t a person dead in the road.

7:04 am – Where did I put my parking pass? Do I have change for a meter if I can’t get in to the parking garage?

7:06 am – Did I hit the car next to me with my door? I don’t see any marks and didn’t feel the door hit anything, but what if I did?

7:09 am – I’m half way into the building, but I better go check one more time to see if I door dinged that car.

7:13 am – Dang it. Did I lock the car? Better go back again and check.

7:20 am – I can’t remember my computer password. How am I going to clock in?

7:24 am – I’m so tired already! What if I fall asleep at my desk and get fired?

7:30-11:09 am – Is everything good enough? Which task did I do wrong? I can’t believe I just said that to someone – I am such an idiot! Later I need to analyze the conversation more to see what I should have said and how they might have interpreted what I did say. I can’t remember that person’s name. I need more caffeine. Did I shut off the coffee maker? What am I going to do for lunch? I can’t keep going out to eat…I’m going to gain too much weight and spend too much money. I was just zoning out in the meeting and missed what the person said. I told someone the wrong thing and now I’m so embarrassed that I want to crawl under the table and die. I think I just closed the wrong case. Did I lock my computer before I stepped away? What if someone gets on my computer and does something malicious? I just spilled coffee on myself! What if someone thinks I’m lactating and have been hiding a baby all this time. Who’s hair is this in my yogurt….I definitely can’t finish this now. Hair…did I unplug the hair dryer this morning? What if my pen runs out of ink during the next meeting? Where is that conference room again? What if I get locked in the stairwell and no one realizes I’ve been missing all morning?

11:11 am – make a wish! Omg. It’s already 11:12. Now what do I do? Can I still make a wish?

11:30 am-12:00 pm – this lunch was too expensive and has way too many calories. Remember to check weight in the morning. What time did I clock out for lunch again? What if I’m late going back? Did I have a meeting at 12:00 or was it 2:30?

12:06 pm – Don’t forget to put bread and string cheese on the grocery list.

12:08-4:00 pm – Carb coma…can’t keep my eyes open. More caffeine? No, I won’t sleep tonight. What if that pasta gives me an upset stomach and I’m not able to make it to the bathroom in time? Did I turn the coffee maker off this morning? What did I do with my phone? If that amazon package gets delivered today, will someone steal it off my porch? Did I remember to submit s refill request for that medication? What if it goes to the wrong pharmacy? Where do I find more toner for the color printer and how am I supposed to find the correct toner for that machine? What if I put the wrong size in and it gets stuck and breaks the printer? That manager was supposed to call me back an hour ago. What if the company was hit by a hurricane and he died?

4:08 pm – I need to go to the store on the way home. Wasn’t I supposed to put something on the grocery list earlier? I think it was maybe laundry detergent and salsa. Adds them to list.

4:18 pm – Throws a chicken pot pie into my cart. Realizes after checking out that I forgot to check my grocery list. I didn’t get laundry detergent or salsa, let alone bread or string cheese.

4:19 pm – Walks out to car and leaves. No way I’m going back in there for the things I actually needed. Someone will notice that I walked out and walked right back in. Surely someone would think it’s suspicious and report it to security or the police. I can’t go to jail for a jar of salsa. It’s just not worth the risk.

5:10 pm – So mentally exhausted. I don’t even have the energy to eat the pot pie.

5:30 pm – Determined to journal or read or craft.

5:34 pm – Dozing off

6:00 pm – Takes medication and goes to bed.

6:19 pm – Wide. Awake. Why?!

6:20-8:42 pm – How am I going to pay for school? Why am I not good enough for anyone? Is that pot pie in a metal pan or can I take it to work and put it in the microwave for lunch? Did I lock the car when I got home? Is the front door locked? Need to go check. Remember to add toilet paper to the grocery list….only have six rolls left. Did that person look at me funny when I sneezed at work today? Did I have a booger hanging out of my nose after sneezing? When I recommended a different method to Bob, he got upset and walked away. Did he complain to his manager? Should I have kept my mouth shut and not offered suggestions? If he complained to his manager, will that manager tell my manager I should no longer be employed there? What if I did actually hit a person driving to work this morning and they just crawled off the road before I could turn around? When will the police show up to arrest me for leaving the scene of an accident? I think I just heard a rattlesnake under my bed. How would a snake get in the house?

8:43 pm – I need to pee. Don’t use too much toilet paper….I’m running low and need to get more. Don’t forget to add toilet paper to the grocery list.

9:02 pm – Finally starts falling asleep.

9:05 pm – Did I feed the dog? Wait…I don’t have a dog.

9:21 pm – Sweet sleep oblivion.

10:37 pm – Need to pee again. It’s cold, though. If I try to hold it until my alarm goes off, will my bladder explode? Better not tempt fate.

10:40-11:12 pm – Listens to audiobook.

11:13 pm – Falls asleep.

11:59 pm – Still asleep….for now.

———————————

Believe it or not, this is a picture of my internal chatter every single day. And usually it is much worse.

While some thoughts may seem funny or ridiculous, my brain truly sees them as things worthy of the time and energy it takes to worry so extensively. I obsess over things that the logical part of me knows to be irrational, yet I am unable to stop worrying about them.

Imagine how exhausting it is to have your brain going like that all day…every day….all the while trying to participate in daily activities like work, school, social outings, etc.

For those of you who have never experienced anxiety but know someone who has, show some kindness. Don’t tell them to just stop worrying. Believe me….if we could, we would. Telling us we worry too much makes us feel worse. I personally feel shame, which causes me to internalize my fears and worries. Sometimes all we need is someone to listen to our concerns. I don’t need answers or fixes or referrals to a good psychiatrist. Just listen. And ask what we need. Often just verbalizing my irrational worries out loud helps me release myself from the vicious cycle that is constant, chronic anxiety.

3 thoughts on “Chronic Anxiety: A day in the life…

  1. I will always listen. If I say something that bothers you, don’t be afraid to say something back. I hurts me to see you hurting and although I see it, I will not pry if you don’t want to share. Just know I am here if you need anything.

    Liked by 1 person

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