Busy Little Bee

“Keeping Busy” seems to be the primary weapon in my war against anxiety. I think part of my inherent need to be on the go is hereditary– my parents are definitely movers and shakers– they keep busy with their jobs, their hobbies, or just doing stuff together. I grew up witnessing that, so naturally, I am like that too. That can pose a bit of a challenge in my marital relationship at times; while my husband is a very hard worker, he is also a big proponent of nap taking (and rightfully so). He will suggest taking a nap on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and my reaction is like, “Gasp! Oh, the horror of horrors!!!” when it reality, if you’re tired and take a nap– so what? I just can’t stand the thought of not consciously using up every second of the day with activity.

I realize that my philosophy runs counterintuitive to what most might think… “Uh, doesn’t being busy add to stress, which in turn adds to worry about things getting done?” True, but when it comes to the whole anxiety issue, I guess I’m of the mindset that if I stay sedentary for too long, I just might sink into the mire and gloom of being anxious; but if I’m a busy little bee, perhaps I won’t have time to worry about anything. However, I definitely need to exercise caution when it comes to this philosophy, lest “busy” becomes “frantic.”

Case in point—

Good: volunteering twice a week at the kids’ school. Posting entries a couple of times a week on this blog. Planning weekend outings for my family.

Bad: Deciding the same month that I have numerous end of school year activities and a kiddo’s birthday and one of the busiest months of the year at work and a Vacation Bible Camp to help plan, that it’s also a great month to remodel my kitchen. By myself. Every day after work.

While I now love seeing my bright white cabinets in the sunshine when I walk upstairs each morning, my life was anything but brightness and sunshine during the almost 3 weeks that it took me to get it done. I quickly became overwhelmed with everything I had going on, and that, my friends, is NOT helpful for someone with anxiety issues.

So, the moral of the story that I myself am trying to learn each and every day is that it’s great to be busy–just not overwhelmed. It’s great to take advantage of every day to the fullest, and to express my gratefulness for the life I’ve been given by appreciating it and not letting it pass me by. But, when I get so busy that my kids wonder when I’ll ever get done painting the kitchen so that I can just sit down and read a book with them, that means “too busy.” Now that summer is upon us, and the kids have 2 more weeks of school, I’ve made a goal: this summer will only be fun-busy. Vacation Bible Camp week–something I have never helped plan before– will be busy, but fun. Day trips to the beach when mommy gets off work–which are full of parking wars at Alki and remembering the sunscreen and packing snacks and sand toys– will be busy, but fun. A camping trip to Winthrop–which will be like the day trip to the beach times 100–will be busy, but fun. And at the end of the summer, “busy” will return to it’s familiar ways of NOT always being fun–work deadlines will pick up, the mom taxi will resume it’s routes, and homework, dinner, and baths will need to be done in a timely manner each night. But hey, I’ll just do my best to manage my time well, and I’ll look back on all of those “fun-busy” activities of the summer, and try to incorporate a bit of summertime’s philosophy the whole year through.

Shelter From the Storm

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“Love will hold us together, make us a shelter to weather the storm; and I’ll be my brother’s keeper, so the whole world will know that we’re not alone.” –Matt Maher

This lyric is from “Love Will Hold Us Together”, one of my favorite songs. The reason it’s a favorite is twofold.

First, when “Christians” share a message of hate, judgment, and “I’m better than you”, I’m reminded of the basis of MY faith– love. I don’t hate anyone, it’s not my job to judge anyone, and I’m certainly not better than anyone. I feel my mission in this lifetime is just to share God’s love. The end.

The second reason this song resonates with me is also my reason for starting this blog… my anxiety disorder.

I’ve always leaned toward having a worrier’s disposition, but for the past 7 years–since shortly after the birth of my youngest daughter–it’s grown into a greater issue. I’ve had to see doctors about it, it’s disrupted my life, and it’s made me feel things deep inside that I wouldn’t wish for anyone to feel. For the past 7 years, I’ve been seeking shelter from it. Medicine, doctors, therapists, dietary changes, breathing techniques– they all provide a bit of relief, I suppose, but I’m not really sure they’ve provided a weather-proof shelter. As corny as it sounds, when I’m the most overwhelmed by worry and fear,  the umbrella I reach for in my myriad collection (hey, I do live in Seattle) is the one labeled “love.” The love from family, friends, and God is what has allowed my brain to escape from the storm of panic and worry and has brought me back into the clear skies of reality. The reality is, I’m loved. I have a shelter, under which I can hold myself together, and weather the storm. I couldn’t be more grateful for all of my “keepers”– the ones who check on me, who send me funny pins from Pinterest, or deliver short emails or texts to my phone at the exact moment that I check my phone to distract myself from the worry building inside of me.

There are a few reasons I’ve started this blog. I’ve always felt a need to write–it’s just part of who I am. When I was 5 year old kindergartener, I felt a need to write; in college, the need to write forced a change in my major; and now, despite the busyness of being a mom and a working person, I still feel the overwhelming need to just WRITE! A blog also seems like a great way to vent: to share my frustrations and fears, as well as my happiness and hope. Besides all of that… while exploring the internet, putting forth my best effort NOT to delve into the depths of worst-case scenario websites, I found very few blogs about “normal” people working their way through anxiety. Anxiety gurus claiming they have a “secret cure” for the low price of $19.95? Sure, found a lot of those kind of sites– but none that were real, none that made me feel like maybe I wasn’t so crazy or alone. And so, I dedicate myself to sharing real experiences here– so that perhaps even one person living through the storm of anxiety may wander over here and find this truth– that we, most definitely, are not alone.