Flailing and falling, but not failing

I’ve got a new mantra.

And it’s not a very good one.

When things don’t go according to plan – like when I have to pay a surprisingly expensive electric bill or if I can’t find a pair of underwear in the bin of clean laundry – my first reaction is always frustration. I feel like a child having a tantrum when I inevitably have to scream into a pillow and repeat the following over and over again: “What is the point of this struggle if it keeps coming back?”

Having anxiety is like when your chair tips back and you almost fall but catch yourself, and the chair oscillates between falling and going back to its normal position for hours and hours and hours.

It’s having that sensation – a giant, tangled knot in the pit of your stomach – while only being able to see your feet flailing in front of you. It’s constantly wondering if the chair is going to fall or not. Additionally, it’s desperately attempting to conceal any dissatisfaction or discontent to the outside world.

Sometimes it’s hard to find a reason to stay in the chair.

And I ask again while I sit, teetering in a seat made to sit still: “What is the point of this struggle if it keeps coming back?”

The answer may be somewhat surprising.

I don’t want anyone judging me if I make a mistake at work. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m lazy when I feel I can’t get out of bed on my day off. I don’t want anyone pegging me as an overly shy person when I can’t order my own sandwich at Subway. I don’t want anyone picturing me as a crazy person if I get admitted into another psych ward.

Ironically, this nervous energy – this never-ending anxiety – is what keeps pushing me forward, and it’s why I haven’t given up. Anxiety is always there making me do more, achieve more, succeed more and be a better human. I think to myself, “If I can get through this, I can get through anything.”

I’m fueled by it.

But, unfortunately, it’s cheap fuel. It takes a serious toll my body – physically and mentally – and soon enough, I’m running on empty again.

“What is the point of this struggle if it keeps coming back?” I ask repeatedly as I sway back and forth in my non-rocking chair.

“Because I have so many things I still need to accomplish,” I finally answer.

And the cycle continues.

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