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Anxiety Over Having Anxiety About Having Anxiety

Everybody experiences some level of anxiety, right? I mean, I know I’m not the only one who’s had an increase in anxiety levels over the last couple of months. There was already enough to be anxious about with driving one hour twice a day, five days a week, sometimes during thunderstorms or snowstorms, to keep up with my daily class schedule and nearly psychotic need to read every page of every book and complete every assignment to the absolute best of my ability, all on top of the normal day to day stressors that come with home and family life to ensure that my family has food and clean clothes and that we’re all healthy and well, especially right now while Americans and the wide world around us are waiting out the coronavirus wave, please tell me I’m not the only one who’s anxiety level has climbed at least a notch or two.

I’ve had a prescription for Xanax for many years now, meant to be used as needed, but lately that as needed has been needed more frequently than my doctor would like. Her solution was to try a new daily medication for anxiety. The mere idea of this also gives me anxiety. Ever since I’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I’ve been aware of my body’s often weird reaction to new medications. My doctor’s decision to start me on Lexipro in January did not change me mind. It didn’t take long for my body to both reject and eject this new medication. Needless to say, I opted to leave off the idea of a new medication for a while and just continue seeing my therapist and try breathing techniques, with the occasional Xanax as needed.

In the meantime, life went on lockdown. Even though I no longer needed to drive an hour two times a day five days a week for class, I still have to adjust to the virtual modifications made for the non-virtual classes - not to mention the instructors who are unfamiliar with teaching in an online format. But I think the biggest source of anxiety right now – other than worrying about contracting the coronavirus – is the need to stay away from people. I can’t see my kids or grandkids. I can’t go shopping on a whim. I can’t even visit the doctor’s office; we have a tele-visit instead. A trip to the grocery store takes more planning and preparation. It’s not easy to get home and realize, Oh, I forgot bread. No prob, I’ll just go back later. No. The whole social distancing platform emphasizes fewer trips into the public realm. Stress. So, it’s more important to make a thorough list of needed items, and then actually remember to look at my list when I’m shopping.

I miss my kids. I miss my grandkids. I miss my family and my normal life. I know I’m not alone. Anxiety builds up in the hopes of an end to life-lockdown only to find out that shelter-in-place has been extended yet another 30 days. It has to end soon, right? But soon keeps getting further away. I keep myself busy with homework, but my mind and my body still know that life is not the same. I’m anxious about the fact that I’m anxious because I feel like I shouldn’t feel anxious – but I do.

Deep breath innnnnnnnnnn and ooooooouuuuuut.

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