Today I realized that I am well. My husband is selling tools on Craigslist to prepare for our move. Usually I hate it when a bunch of random guys from Craigslist show up at our door. P always makes sure he’s here, but still they make me nervous. Not today.
Other things I did sans anxiety or in spite of anxiety recently:
- Sent the first 25 pages of my screenplay to a screenwriter friend. I’ve always met class deadlines, but get nervous when I’m sending to a friend.
- Deftly managed undue attention from a man. Politely ended the conversation and walked away.
- Made space for Dad to decide where he’ll live when he leaves our home, without worrying about him.
- Noticed that I often notice when a man taller than 6’0″ walks into the room. Decided that’s OK.
- Realized I’m happy as a clam in spaces chock full o’ cisgender men. Happy in a bar, on a film or TV set, in a pack of bikers…well, haven’t been around a pack of bikers lately. Actually, I’ve never had issues with bikers (except the four who tried to intimidate us at a Black Lives Matter rally on Cincinnati’s west side). In fact, I’ve met several bikers (women and men) who have also experienced trauma. Some ride to recover.
- Asked for help on a magazine pitch from some friends in a writer’s group. The asking doesn’t make me anxious, but if I feel it’s not a quid pro quo, sometimes I generate anxiety by worrying about what I can do to reciprocate.
- Stayed calm when a family member became angry and started yelling. For so long, I thought I had to fix everything, and make everyone happy.
- Wore my Black Lives Matter – Cincinnati t-shirt around town. Got high fives, thumbs up and a few mean looks. !Viva la revolución!
- Walked to my car at night alone (on guard in this sitch, like all women).
- Had a crucial conversation with P and am no longer climbing a 20,000-ft mountain with him because A) I don’t want to, and B) I don’t want to. Finally, that is reason enough. I calmly stated my reasons, cried, then listened as he responded. (This was a high-stakes conversation in part because earlier, P had said he wanted to die on a mountain, so I was really worried how he’d respond to me not wanting to climb one). Props to The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships for providing the tools needed.
- Fell asleep in the passenger seat while a friend drove my car on a busy freeway.
- Supported several friends who are suffering anxiety and/or depression due to past trauma(s).
Eighteen months ago, I completed a trauma program. About midway through, I started feeling better, although the work was difficult.
For two years, I’ve been taking one medication for anxiety. Last week, my clinician at the Lindner Center of HOPE said, “I think you don’t need this medication.” Trick question? Maybe, but I’m letting that go too.
I said I’d keep a med handy, just in case. She smiled and said, “You’ll be fine.” I’m beginning to think that she is right.