Monday, December 22, 2008

Anxiety and My Genetic Inheritance

My Uncle George recently moved back into town, which makes me happy. George is awesome because he has no problem letting me know about all the family history I want (which is quite sordid, P.S.), and his stories always explain so much about my life that it makes me feel better about my self. You know, less like a totally crazy person who is different from everyone else. This time, he made me feel a hell of a lot better about my anxiety problems.

My uncle was over and suddenly asked my little brother and I if we had any problems with anxiety, because he and my cousin do. My little bro, being the overly relaxed type was just like "nope." But I knew exactly what he was talking about and I felt suddenly joyful that not only have I really been able to quell my anxiety these days, but also, it's always nice to know I'm not the only one with a problem.

Being ridiculously sensitive, as I kid I was freaked out just by my parents' slightest disapproval, much less the violent rages my dad would go into so I've had a lot of anxiety built up from that I never released for a long time. One symptom of that (get ready for some TMI) was my being totally constipated to the point that I had no idea it was normal for people to shit every single day. Anyway, when I was 19, I started having panic attacks where I relived a lot of fear and I also became an insomniac for the next 2 years, managing only about 3 hours of sleep a night, if I was lucky.

After I moved to Pennsylvania, I felt a lot more relaxed knowing I was far enough away from my 'rents that they couldn't affect my life in the same way, I was suddenly able to sleep again, but I was still quite anxious and I (stupidly) took up smoking cigarettes to keep anxiety at bay. That worked okay, but not great as school and relationship pressures became greater for me (also I had a miscarriage). Refusing to return to my insomniac ways, I started depending on OTC sleeping pills to help me sleep, which tended up reduce my anxiety (compared to not sleeping, anyway).

sucking on a death stick when I was in Seattle

I used sleeping pills and cigarettes as my little crutches all the way through grad school in Seattle, though was better at going without after I got my lip pierced (since removed) because then I just fixated on that when I felt anxious. Playing with a ring in your lip can be surprisingly soothing.

Once I was out of school for good and determined I was gonna quit smoking, I knew I'd need something else to calm my ridiculous nerves. I started cleaning my apartment thoroughly every Sunday while the bf was at work and found that was very grounding and calming since it drove all thoughts that might have caused anxiety out of my head. It also makes the apartment seem very calm and welcoming, which has instilled a Pavlovian response in my head so that now I automatically am more relaxed in my apartment than anywhere else.

But I was still having anxiety attacks every morning before I went to work, for no apparent reason at all. My anxiety had always seemed to make sense given my circumstances in the past, but now I realized I just had a problem with being anxious. And that's when I started doing yoga every morning.

Not only does yoga make me look fucking hot and fixed my uneven legs, it has seemed to completely do away with my crazy-ass levels of anxiety. Now, anytime my mind feels a bit twitchy, I just stretch or draw a picture or something and ::poof:: I'll be fine again. It makes me really glad that I am finding healthy ways to cope with my problems for a change, especially knowing that I can help future children in our family deal with the crazy generic inheritance we have.

The more you know...

Related posts:
Turning Into Mother
Generation Me
Living With Emotional Blackmail

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1 comment:

Eric said...

I know what you mean.