Anxiety is a dull word. I’d much rather say I have the collywobbles or jim-jams, that my heart is in my mouth, my stomach is in knots, I’m on tenterhooks, twitchy, in a stew, all a dither, tizzy, having kittens, het up, like a cat on hot bricks, squirrely or in a twit.
Look it up. These are just a few of the phrases or words associated with this phenomenon, which seems to indicate that we humans know this condition intimately. And, quite frankly, at this time in our history, it’s impossible not to be in a lather. But some of us are better at managing this distress than others.
I am in the deep end of this particular pool. I always have been, but didn’t know it. And now that this has been explained to me by professionals, my life suddenly makes sense. So, I am on a path to try and manage my anxiety, which is giving me heart palpitations — something I’m trying to avoid.
I’m walking — trudging, really — on cold, wet and snowy mornings, slipping on ice, listening for cars, gripping my fingers inside my mittens to keep them warm. Isn’t this wonderful? This is helping my frantic mind a lot. I now have loads of time to think up catastrophic events as I move one foot in front of the other. But the experts say this is important, so I march on, like a penguin.
Yoga is another fabulous way to relieve stress. The trouble is I worry about what my bum looks like in yoga pants. I’m not sure I can bend in a way that will let me get back up. So, I’ve put that on hold and it’s eating away at me that I’m not making an appointment with a yoga facility.
Speaking of eating, I’m maintaining my commitment to no meat. I’ve eaten a case of chickpeas and lentils since Jan. 1 and only had one minor incident. Hubby caught me.
“Why are there three pieces of bacon in the frying pan?”
“In the frying pan.”
“That’s for the cat.”
“No, it’s not.”
“I swear. He asked me and I said he could have it.”
“If you want bacon, Lesley, eat it. Just don’t blame it on an innocent cat.”
The guilt that comes with eating Wilbur is enormous.
It was suggested to me to practise deep breathing for 15 minutes, twice a day. This doesn’t seem too hard, until you do it. You have to breathe in through your nose from your diaphragm, hold it as long as you can and then breathe out through your mouth slowly, taking your time between breaths.
I’ve discovered I’m a lousy breather and 15 minutes is an incredibly long time.
I’m in my study on my chair with my eyes closed. I need to do this. The cat decides I require company, so he jumps from my desk and lands in my lap, which results in a quick expulsion of air I hadn’t planned on.
Hubby’s voice is droning on about something in the kitchen.
“I’m trying to relax!” I shout between breaths. “This is supposed to be calming, but how can I be calm when you’re talking to me while I breathe?”
He yells back. “Are you saying not to talk to you while you’re breathing?”
“I guess this is my final farewell.”
I last five minutes before I hyperventilate. This requires practise.
A hot soak in the tub with Epsom salts is supposed to do wonders for your nerves, but only if you have two bathrooms in the house.
“I’m in the tub!”
“Well, hurry up!”
The whole point of a leisurely bath is to not hurry up.
They say a hobby is a good way to relax your mind. My hobby is writing novels. That’s not always so relaxing, especially when I have to kill off a character I really like.
Hubby finds me in my study, sobbing.
“No one you know! But she was really nice and I’ve just killed her!”
“I’m sure she deserved it.”
Lesley Crewe is a writer living in, and loving, Cape Breton. These are the meandering musings of a bored housewife whose ungrateful kids left her alone with a retired husband and a fat cat who couldn’t care less. Her 10th novel, Beholden, is in bookstores now.