Anxiety can come in so many various shapes and forms. It can come on slow and mild, with an ever present background feel of constant unease. It can also come on with the force of being hit by a truck while one's back was turned, seemingly out of nowhere. This can leave one in a state of despair, sweating, panicking, lost in a sea of constant thought loops as one tries to figure out how it manifested, where it came from and what the source was.
Anxiety is far too big a topic for a few paragraphs, so I would instead like to focus on a specific kind of anxiety I have learned to understand more than the "hit by a truck" type. Just so you know, this article is pertaining to myself, feelings and emotions vary significantly between one person and another. However if by any chance someone else can relate to and be helped by it, then I feel I've done some sort of good in this world.
This sort of anxiety is the background feeling, the one that if left unchecked for too long, will push its way to the front. This anxiety creeps in, it's hard to even notice it at first, maybe a little sense of unease making itself known here and there. Give it an hour, and it will become a constant. I never listened, I ignored it. For years I thoughf this it’s how I’m supposed to feel, “get used to it” I would tell myself. It wasn’t until my late twenties where I began to listen more to what my body and gut were telling me. It took me years to finally decipher it, but it finally hit me.
My subconcious, my gut, my self, whatever you want to call it - uses anxiety as a way to tell me I’m not doing what I should be doing. For years it manifested in a safe dead end job, I’d feel it every day, all day. It would manifest when I was staying at home all day and doing nothing, instead of at least reading a book, making music or being in any way productive. This anxiety only dissipated when I was taking care of my mother, who was dying from pancreatic cancer. I had a purpose, for a while at least. When she was gone, it came back.
Trying to figure out what I should be doing is the hardest part at times, but when it goes away I get this pleasurable sense of being on the right path. Since understanding this particular anxiety, I’ve had it come and go. Most notably was fall of 2018 when it began to make itself known most heavily, almost 24/7. Something was wrong, I had to do something and I had no idea what, but obviously something knew inside of me. It took some time but I realized I had to take a risk, do something I’d never done before. I booked a flight to Los Angeles all by myself and putting myself in a good debt while doing so. Amazingly enough, the moment I booked that flight, the anxiety flew away as well. It felt immediate. I was back on the right track.
Why did I need that trip? The short story is, I needed to grow as a human, and boy did I ever. I needed to prove to myself what I could do, and to do something I’d never done before on a grand scale. The long story? Maybe that will be posted someday.
As of writing this, my anxiety is still much lower than it has been in years. I’m working a fun job with plenty of networking opportunities, doing plenty of photography while getting thousands of steps on the Fit Bit. Yet even still, that particular anxiety will make itself known if I’m not making proper use of my time. It’s like a little nagging noise saying, “Jesse, you’re better than this. You know what you should be doing, and you’re not doing it. Do it. Now. Get on it. Do it. Get after it. Go.” The ever present sound of Jocko Willink for those who listen to him. It will relentlessly continue this so long as I am off course, the only solution is to do what I know I need to do.
In closing, I’d like to once again point out I am not formally educated. This is one bit of anxiety I have learned to understand in the last few years, I still have yet to comprehend the sudden feeling of absolute peril anxiety that can often strike at the most random of times. I am a work in progress, as are we all. So long as we continue to learn, adapt, and grow, we’ll be alright