10 Comments

So relatable, Chase. Thanks for sharing your poem.

It must be in the air, as I just finished writing a post featuring songs about anxiety. It goes live tomorrow morning (Friday). I'll try and remember and link to your poem in the comments when it goes live.

It can often feel like a roller coaster, for sure. I am doing all the things to navigate it without medications. I'm eating less sugar, doing yoga, meditation, listening to music, being outdoors, trying to not be on devices for hours at a time (a tough one for sure), and writing. Nothing against meds, but they never worked for me and only made me feel worse.

Also, listening to TMBG helps too!:)

Expand full comment
author

It’s definitely in the air I think. If you don’t link to this - it’s ok! But I’m excited to read tomorrow morning.

I happen to be on a med that has been working pretty for well me for the last year. I’ve used it in spurts for a a couple years at a time over the last decade. Each time though, I start feeling like it’s dulling too much of my other emotions and I start feeling checked out. And that’s been creeping in so we’ll see how long I stick with it this time!

Expand full comment

💖💖💖

When I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder by a very kind therapist in Seattle I asked him how common it was. He said 80% of people had it.

That made me feel less alone. It made sense. Of course everyone feels this way. The world is scary. Parking is hard. Ordering at restaurants without clear indications of how to do it makes everyone turn around walk out, right? Most people stay up worrying about dying, or their family dying, or the whole of civilization collapsing.

I wrote my first will when I was about 13 thinking that I was probably dying of spinal meningitis (there were so many diseases I worried about as a kid, but my friend had actually died of that one). I wrote another one at 16 where I bequeathed my bass guitar to my distant cousin Derrick.

Soon after that first therapy appointment I read a paper on generalized anxiety. The paper said 17% of people had generalized anxiety, and I realized I’d hear my therapist wrong. He’d said 18 percent.

I almost didn’t go to my next session. Because anxiety.

Nowadays I think of my anxiety as a friend. I’ve trained myself to treat my anxiety as a child that needs listening too, that needs grounding, and comfort. I think that’s because as a parent of two children who have extreme anxiety I have been doing that for the last nearly 16 years.

It is so hard.

I listen to them. I offer them information to counteract whatever concerns they are currently dealing with. (The internet is a terrible place for hypochondriac children)

Our brand of anxiety is definitely related to our autism and the fact that the world is overwhelming.

I had a bunch of odd tactics to get my anxiety in check. A lot to f them involve magical thinking (thanks to my OCD) but with a positive spin. Every time I see a 42, I breathe, and feel like I’m in the right place. (There are a lot more of them in the world because of Douglas Adams, and I’m grateful for that)

Being married to a nihilist helps too. They experienced so much trauma as a child and socially isolated for 17 years. Their nihilism helped them get through so much. I allow the nothing actually matters mantra to wash over me to better see the things that actually matter to me.

I started just believing what people tell me (as far as how they feel

about me) instead of trying to figure it out. That reduced my anxiety by so much. If someone is mad at me for something and doesn’t tell me, I don’t have to hold on to it. Most of the time…I now imagine people aren’t thinking about me at all. That is soothing.

The ocean helps. Nature helps. Writing helps. Keeping my expectations manageable has really helped. Opposite action (which I didn’t know was a thing but I did it all the time) really helps. Sending beautiful things into the world. Giving myself time to scream-sing in my car. Having jobs that feed me instead of tear me down. That is helping too. Laughing about silly things.

(This article about toddlers helped too https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/15/well/live/tips-happiness-mental-health-well-being.html?unlocked_article_code=1.c00.GXyb.lYTM7NVRI1kT&smid=url-share)

Oh goodness. This comment got away from me. I have so many thoughts and feelings about anxiety.

I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just going to say that I appreciate you so very much.

Thank you for sharing your poem, and your words.

Expand full comment

My anxiety is like, please delete this comment, you’re embarrassing us! (So if you come back and it’s gone, you know why)

Expand full comment
author

Wake this is an amazing comment and contribution to the conversation. Thank you! I feel like “Life is Scary. Parking is Hard.” Should be a tshirt.

Expand full comment

Oh my goodness. I did not see this reply (hence my above anxiety fuelled comment 😂 The struggle is real!)

Expand full comment
author

This keeps happening to me! Sometimes when I reply to a comment using the Substack app, it does not place it as a reply on the comment thread. I know I’m using it correctly, they need to fix things before our anxiety swallows us whole.

Expand full comment

I am grateful I saw your comment, but my anxiety also wants me to apologize for essentially writing a whole post on your post.

But also I mostly want to say thank you for making me feel less alone out here in the gentle clutches of my anxiety.

I think you are great, and your partner is great, and I’m lucky to know you both! 😊

Expand full comment
author

We feel the same! And don’t even worry I write way too much in comments all the time.

Expand full comment

Thank you! Anxiety assuaged! I shall continue on as usual and try not to put my anxiety in our friendship’s way!

(Please send my hugs to your fabulous partner, and keep some for yourself as extra thanks!)

Expand full comment