When anxiety becomes a way of life


Have you ever had a moment when you wondered if you were meant to see something, or run into someone, at a very critical moment?

That’s what happened to me this afternoon. The following bumper sticker seemed to be screaming READ ME, SB! in the parking lot of the public library: “Eat right, exercise regularly, die anyway…So enjoy!”

Gotta love those backhanded inspirational quotes. It was meant to be silly, but it still got me thinking.

Outside of medication and therapy, what more is there to do about daily anxiety? I know worrying solves nothing. But the act of turning my thoughts elsewhere, to forcing myself to dwell on the positive, is like trying to run while stuck in a bowl of jello.

On the days when I feel like the writer of Ecclesiastes, who famously states “There is nothing new under the sun, everything is meaningless,” I try to remember the following things:

My stories may not be perfect, I may never get to a place of success that I dream about…but a handful of people told me they enjoyed them, so they aren’t meaningless.

I’m a deeply flawed person, I may have pissed off a great deal of people in my short lifetime…but I also have a handful of loyal, encouraging people in my life, and they are enough.


Few things go the way I think they should, the way they do for a lot of people I can’t help but envy…people who seem to get through life with the expected bumps and bruises, but no major traumas – the kind that emotionally paralyze you. People who had relationships that didn’t work out, but none that blew up in flames. People for whom many good things seem to come easily.

For every time I’m tempted to mourn anything that seems unfair, I think, Why should life be fair? This doesn’t make me feel better, necessarily, but it gives me some perspective. To mourn unfairness is to hold myself up as someone who is too good to struggle, too privileged to experience hardship.

Funny, all my favorite characters in books are ones who struggled in some way. I have zero interest in reading books about perfect people. Why should my life be any exception?

I can only do so much. That’s much better than the bare minimum.

Depression and anxiety make it hard to see the world as a beautiful place, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t pockets of beauty that exist somewhere.

My best moments of clarity often come through random acts of self-care: a hot cup of coffee while sitting on the porch, a purring kitty on my lap while reading a timeless novel.

If all your immediate needs are met in this particular moment, accept that that’s the best you can do. And that, for now, it’s enough.


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