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A Little R.E.S.P.E.C.T

I forgot to refill my anxiety medication last week.

Well, I didn't really forget. I put it off to pick up my daughter from college, then I put if off because it was raining, and then for, oh, I don't know what. 

But on the third night anxiety punished me for putting its care last on my to-do-list.

That night my dreams were of an epic scale - complex and high-stakes, and full of anxiety.  

My first thought upon waking: WOWZA. 

Those dreams renewed my R.E.S.P.E.C.T for the fears that fuel our nighttime conjurings. 

I've been taking a low dose of anxiety medication for ten years now. I started a year or two before my husband died.   

Since middle school I knew I was an anxious kid.  The theme song my friends had for me was Bobby McFerrin's, Don't Worry, Be Happy

In eleventh grade, a therapist prescribed me with a biofeedback sticker to wear on my hand to help me gauge my anxiety.  Super trendy, I know.  But that was the extent of the intervention. 

Thirty years later, stopped at traffic light near my home practicing a four-point breath technique I had recently learned, I thought - this is good, but it's not good enough.  

The depth of anxiety I felt then when my husband was struggling with addiction, and what I experience now are distant cousins.

 But anxiety still deserves my attention and R.E.S.P.E.C.T.It grew me up with some pretty elevated skills for getting things done, sensing other people's needs and assessing risk.  So, I don't want to exorcize anxiety altogether.

Anxiety - like fear - is not my enemy.I have learned to welcome the signs that anxiety sends - even when the feelings they bring are unsettling.

(Being unsettled can be a helpful prompt. I do some of my best work when I am unsettled!)

Anxiety, when I recognize it, is also an indicator. 

It lets me know to pay attention, to tend to my fears and the grief that's always there.In my opinion, we deserve support for our courage to be with what scares us. 

At minimum, we need to remember to breathe.   

And sometimes we need a little more too. 

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