Hang on

I’m having one of those days where an underlying anxiety is rubbing against me, a pebble in a shoe that, though not painful, is a constant distraction and discomfort. Focusing on anything is a colossal effort and putting words to paper (metaphorically of course) feels like a monumental chore.

Anxiety, even that quiet, submerged kind, is exhausting. It’s spirit-sapping in the most elusive way, and I often don’t realize what’s going on until late in the day, when my tired body is ready to power down but my mind is still firing on all cylinders. I feel wired but completely out of focus.

A beautiful day to feel anxious

Anyone who lives with an anxiety or panic disorder know this feeling, of being on the edge of something, hanging on by our fingernails. And since all energies are being funneled to that perceived threat to basic survival, there’s very little mental space to dedicate to anything else.

Which is all to say, I’m anxious today, and I would most likely be anxious even if we didn’t live in an uncertain and anxiety-filled time. And I have no comforting words to offer myself or to anyone. Except, perhaps, hang on, hang on. Breathe and be still.

Do you have a mantra you turn to when gripped by anxiety?

My task(s) today: finish a list of suggested edits for Act I of a score I’m reviewing on contract (done!). Loosen the grip on my mind enough to let me sleep tonight (working on it!)

9 thoughts on “Hang on

  1. Sending you love and support. My mantra has always been one by Seneca: “Our fears are more numerous than our dangers and we suffer more in our imagination than in reality.”
    I don’t know if that’s always true but I hang onto it like a security blanket through times that make me worry.


  2. One more thing: when I used to feel panic setting in right before drifting off to sleep, I would breathe in and spell relax R-E-L-A X and then on the exhale I would spell it backwards X-A-L-E-R. Spelling it backwards made me breathe more slowly and concentrate on every exhale. Worked a lot of the time. xo


  3. Wayne Zelenak says:

    Sarah, I know the feeling of anxiety that drains your enthusiasm each day, disrupts your sleep and causes rapid heartbeats. It magnifies fears and disrupts logic and joy. When I experienced it several years ago, my psychologist suggested refraining from caffeine, and alcohol. I knew that the condition was caused by a traumatic event in my life, leaving me weak and languid.

    I fought the desire to go back to bed even after waking and lost so much weight that none of my clothes fit. I had to stay active, keep communicating with friends even though I really lost interest, and most of all I felt ALONE on an island in another realm.

    Reading became a chore where I would read for a while, become fatigued and fall asleep in the chair. I would wake up and repeat the process throughout each day. Over time, my interest returned and these feelings subsided. I developed an insatiable appetite to learn new things, hear new music, and research the composers I’ve always been interested in.

    What I found was regardless of what plateau we reach or what social ladder we climb, we are prone to mental and physical disorders that affect our lifestyle. We are not alone and need each other for support, joy, interest, and recovery. Being alone in an anxiety condition frequently results in a panic attack, which can only be described as terror.

    I know you are busy with your edits in Act 1 of your new score, but I would love to chat with you on FB, especially when you are experiencing these feelings. I am available 24/7 for when you have a desire to chat with someone. The worst time of anxiety is the night where the hours are long and your emotions become a maelstrom of worry and despair swirling inside of you. You are not alone, loved by many, and appreciated for who you are. Your mom, husband and Pinkerton need you to become strong. Let the inspiration and beautiful music return to your life.

    I hope you appreciate my comments and consider my offer.


    1. chefdorch says:

      Agreed that anxiety disrupts logic, and logic of course is what we need to disrupt anxiety! Thank you for your comments, Wayne always insightful and very much appreciated.


  4. Do you have a mantra you turn to when gripped by anxiety?
    The following is what I recall from a job’s formation we had +- 3 years ago regarding anxiety. The psychologist said we can’t compare the anxiety of a person A with the one of a person B. There are several types of anxiety even though the root is often the same. Each case is different.
    That being said when I’m on call or in a situation that stress me out I become sometimes anxious because of the Unknown. I’m scare of not being able to face it. I then think of my favorite number (8 who becomes ∞) and it help me a lot to put things into perspective. That number tells me that I must face reality the best I can whatever will be the output. Anxiety goes off and on so does that infinity symbol (∞). We all expect to not have any ‘failure to thrive’ during our lifetime.
    Courage Maestra Sarah. The Best is yet to come. xo.


  5. Mine is the simple “be here now” and deep breathing.
    I tend to slip into imagining the worst case scenarios (so many to choose from these days!) and obsessing over what I should do to prepare or prevent.
    Grounding myself in this moment, this sunlight on my blanket, that bird on a branch outside, this air in my lungs right now, sometimes helps slow the slide.


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