I have been incredibly stressed for the last month. I know that the stress I am feeling will subside when the move to our new house is complete. One more week. The stress has left me with low energy, irritability, sleeping an insane amount of hours but not feeling refreshed, and eating a horrible diet. Kit Kat and chips are not a proper lunch.
I had an anxiety or panic attack (whatever you want to call it) at work today. A large error was made and I played a role in it. I reached out to my two best friends and my husband and told them that I felt like throwing up (or rather barfing, the term I chose in the moment). They all told me to breathe and reminded me that mistakes happen and that is how we learn.
The anxiety continued to build…and build…and build. I forgot how to breathe and I started to shake. I sat in front of my computer trying to decide what to do. In a moment, I opened business Skype and typed a message to my manager who knows about my depression and anxiety. I hit send before I could even read what I wrote.
“I am having an anxiety attack and I can’t calm down and I don’t know what to do”
He invited me to his office and I closed the door. I apologized profusely for making him feel awkward by my issues. He said it was OK. Then I started laughing hysterically. My brain is so weird. I wonder if I looked like a wack job? He talked with me in the calmest tone possible about the error and assured me everything would be OK.
I felt super weird and awkward, but not embarrassed. Just more of a “what the fuck just happened” feeling. I felt better but not completely over my attack. I stumbled through my words and told him that I was going to get back to work. I sat at my desk and looked at the clock. Oh thank goodness, it was almost lunch time!
I went for a half an hour walk on my lunch yesterday to help myself combat the stress I have been feeling. I decided to take a walk again today. I work along a busy road with a lot of traffic but also has a walking path. Separating the road and walking path is a marsh with cat tails, thistles, rabbits, and frogs. It is really quite pretty to look at, if you don’t look beyond at the busy road. I imagine myself in a different place, on a hike.
I saw two dogs with their human today out on a walk. The moment the dogs and I passed each other and made eye contact I felt my mood shift. I felt a weight come off my shoulders and my stride seemed lighter. My feet did not hit the pavement as hard and I found myself strolling and swinging my arms. I felt less rigid. I thought of my dogs and that made me feel joy underneath all the sludge.
I took a photo of myself shortly after I started my walk and again after I saw the dogs. Taking photos is just something that I do and I wasn’t planning on using the two selfies for anything. I looked at the selfies earlier and noticed striking differences between how I looked when I started my walk and after I saw the dogs. My eyes and face look brighter and maybe even content. I was walking the same direction in a straight line when both photos were taken, 10 minutes a part.
As I write this, my sweet little firecracker Arya is staring at me and outside I hear Asha, my fiercely loyal protector barking. I think both want attention so I leave you with this: keep searching for your special something that makes you feel that you can make it through all of your bad days. Dogs and hiking are my top two. What are yours?