Lately, my anxiety has been turning into anger/rage more than I care to admit.
But I’m admitting it because I think it is important to talk about this issue. Anxiety is so much more than simply feeling scared. It is an overwhelming, often all-consuming, sometimes paralyzing emotion. Anxiety can also manifest itself as anger and rage despite the fact that a lot of people still don’t either know or accept this.
The thing is, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might have noticed how happy I’ve seemed. It wasn’t a lie. I have been happy. There have been a few little moments here and there, but mostly, I’m happy. Then this week hit. You know how I told you I was completely stress-free over Thanksgiving? While that was totally for real, it didn’t last.
By Saturday, I’d become a bit moody anyway. I had also found out some news from a few different places that completely broke my heart and kicked up my anxiety to its highest point. This makes me feel so selfish in a way because what happened doesn’t affect me directly yet I am dealing with certain by-products of it. All my fears I have for Choo-choo have ramped up into this huge bundle of anxiety which then turns into rage when he doesn’t understand me explaining it or he doesn’t listen to what I feel is important about it.
There was, however, one thing the other day that seemed to help a lot. As Choo-choo and I played with some dried pasta and playing dough (more about that on my Facebook page), I had a classical music CD on in the background. Music has always had an affect on my mood. Classical, in particular, has often relaxed and inspired me.
On this day, Choo-choo and I listened to Beethoven and Mozart. I have played classical music off and on since he was a baby, and he has never been a fan of Beethoven. I don’t know why. However, he loves Mozart. Maybe because the Mozart songs we listen to are bouncy and happier in a way.
So there we were, listening to Mozart even after all the Play-Doh had been put away. Choo-choo was in a mood as well, screaming, ignoring me, and generally getting on my nerves. But the music. The music called to me, telling me to just listen and let it soothe my nerves and calm my frustrations. It worked as long as the music was on despite the fact that Choo-choo repeatedly told me to turn it off because he didn’t want to listen to it anymore.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the music on all day. (Trust me, if I could have, I would have.) And the moodiness returned. So did the anxiety. Big time. No amount of deep breathing or break-taking or timeouts helped.
But I got through it. I yelled and cried and prayed and pleaded. Somehow, by the grace of God, I got through it. And Choo-choo doesn’t seem any worse for the wear because of it.
It was a hellish day in some ways. However, I want to remind both you and me that there were wonderful moments that day, too, and not just the music. (Though I am actually listening to Mozart as I write this, knowing that it will bring a calmness to me that I need in order to relive those awful moments.)
The anxiety I felt is still here inside me. It still keeps trying to creep up higher and higher. And the reasons for this aren’t going to change. Some of the reasons might get better, but only time will tell when. So I have to figure out a way to face my fears, looking at what is probable and what is not. I have to remind myself that even if certain events or outcomes are possible, there is only so much I can do to prevent them.
I am doing all I can in the best ways that I can, but I am not in control of the entire universe. Accepting this is a big step toward fighting off the rage-filled anxious thoughts that pop in my head trying to scare the s*** out of me.
With a palpitating heart right now, I am telling us both that I cannot control everything. All I can do is what I have done: prepare for possible outcomes, keep my son and others informed of what they need to know to be as safe and healthy as possible, and let go of the rest.
Is this easier said than done? Of course. But no matter what else is happening, my fears are still just that: fears. Thoughts in my head that eat at my peace without any type of benefit.
I know I am not alone in this. I know others have fears and anxieties, even ones that have become quite debilitating. If you experience these kinds of worries and anxieties, know that you are not alone, either. And also know that it can get better.
As for me, with all the work I’ve done deep breathing and counting when I feel my anger start to rise, there are still days when I know I am going to need some music to get me through. It has helped so much lately, and I’m sure it will continue to do so.
(Even if Choo-choo doesn’t agree with my music choices. He is, after all, his father’s son and therefore wants to rock out while I prefer mellower tunes.)