It's clear we don't know exactly how long it will take for it to be safe to share space with others again. After vacillating between the various stages of grief around this uncertainty I finally landed at the edge of acceptance. So in the mean-time, I have been having a lot of conversations out loud (mostly in shower) about where I want to be once I am free to roam again. This has also pushed me to take a magnifying glass to the cracks in my resolve, examine inconsistent discipline, and become deeply intimate with my insecurities...to try and really "see" me. What has come to a head during this inspection, is that anxiety is what gives life to most of those flaws.
I have come to terms with the fact that I will always be someone that "spirals" when overwhelmed. The start of it is the same, shallow breaths, racing thoughts with waves of panic rising from the pit of my stomach until it reaches the top of my throat. My rational thoughts get lost in an unforgiving sea of "what ifs" that toss and churn without answers. Honestly, for a long time, I tried through therapy and come to Jesus talks with friends to rid myself of this coping mechanism because it did not serve the cool under pressure women I wanted to be. However, during this extended suspension from normal life, I've become friends with my rough edges. What I am unearthing in this process is that ridding myself of how I deal with stress is also an erasure of what makes me uniquely me.
Now let's be real...ya girl still spirals at least once a week especially since there are still so many forces out of my control but now I invoke a new way to engage with it. Currently, I calm the swell with questions like:
-Are you breathing?
-What do you know to be true at this moment?
-What can you control right now?
-Should you consult with loved ones?
-What is at the core of this fear?
At first glance, it might appear that these questions would only intensify the negative thoughts but I have found that it allows me to slow down the momentum of something that in the past would eventually morph into feelings of hopelessness. Instead, I try to "spiral up" and move toward the truths that I know. This tactic allows me to work with who I am with patience and compassion...sans judgment. So next time, you find yourself swirling in the unknown take a deep belly breath and ask yourself questions that lead with love...