"Observe all men; thy self most."
- Benjamin Franklin
The other morning I woke up in the biggest funk. Maybe it was that awful nightmare I had. Maybe it was seeing a missed opportunity. Maybe it was realization of something too unexpected. Maybe it was being cooped up. Or the rain. Or the tube strike. Maybe because it was Monday. Who knows.
Whatever it was, I was feeling quite anxious.
I remember the first time I heard the word anxious used in a context other than in reference to anticipation and eagerness; it was used to convey worry, nervousness or unease, and I thought, "That's me. That's me right now." At times I suffer from anxiety; I feel so overwhelmed that I want to cry or it makes me so physically exhausted that all I feel like I can do is sleep. Anxiety makes me feel like I can't think or mentally process anything or that I'm spiraling into a bottomless pit. Sometimes it's set off by something, but other times it comes upon me for no apparent reason.
When I realized what was going on with me was anxiety, it suddenly became easier to deal with, even if ever so slightly. It was like I suddenly put a name to an answer to a question I never realized I was asking. I started to get to know myself better, seeing what worked and what didn't work. I eventually learned what would help me when I felt anxious like taking a step back and just stopping what I was doing, taking a walk, laying down and decompressing, reading or talking things through with someone.
So yesterday, that's what I did. I did all those things. Lance and I walked over seven miles through west London. We pored over books in several bookstores. We talked about life and serious things and laughed at silly things. We read. While my anxiety lingered with me throughout the day, I was able to manage some of those feelings enough to not let it ruin my day. Sometimes I face struggles that I feel I cannot overcome, but over the years I've learned the answer can often be found in simply knowing myself better.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, AL | Canon Rebel XSN. film processed by Indie Film Lab