When you have an anxiety disorder, things are hardly ever what they seem. It's hard to make people understand that, and sometimes it's hard for me to remember that.
What I've found lately is that either my anxiety attacks are increasing or I'm just more aware of them. Either way, I'm working with my acupuncturist to find ways to work through it so that I don't allow myself to be crippled by it.
While I love working from home and feel most productive at my little laptop in my cozy corner of the living room, I do not fancy the idea of a life that hardly extends beyond those walls. I used to love to travel and would hop on planes to see my family in Texas once a month. I saw myself as someone who traveled well and enjoyed the adventure of getting on a plane (or a train) and landing in a new city.
The anxiety disorder has changed that to some degree. I find that I worry more about things. I lay awake at night and wonder, "What if?" And worst of all, I find myself manifesting physical symptoms at times that are nothing more than a stress reaction, yet make me feel like my world is coming to an end.
So now that I know I have this anxiety, what do I do?
I buck up, I buy a cozy travel pillow, make sure to pack for any contingency, and I work through it.
When I was at the Met in December, I found myself wandering through one of the galleries of Tibetan art by myself. As I looked at the gorgeous artifacts in the cases, I suddenly realized that I was dizzy, sweating, and that I felt as though I was going to pass out or throw up - or both.
Instead of giving in to the panic, I reminded myself that this was just a stress reaction and that I would survive. I remembered my breathing techniques. I sat down for a moment and took out my sketchbook and pencils and drew while I waited for my heart to stop pounding.
Yes, the dizziness and pounding heart subsided. And by the time my friends caught up with me, it was like nothing had ever happened.
So, as I sit here at the Albany airport and wait for my flight to start boarding to take me on my next adventure to Tucson, I will sip my water, nibble on my snacks, and remember that this, too, will pass.