Sunday, May 18, 2014

Little Things

Every now and then I notice that the little things in life become bigger than they need to.

The last week and a half has been one of these weeks.  I don't know why this is.  Why all of a sudden do I feel overwhelmed and on edge?  Nothing major has changed and yet small things become a tipping point.  Frustration is at the ready.

But even as I am feeling these things I can see that they are unfounded, I know they are unnecessary.

I wonder if my Mindful in May practice is contributing to this.  Either by helping me observe the feelings even while I am in them, or by being another thing I need to do each day.  In full disclosure I have to admit to having a shocker with MiM last week.  I haven't done my practice.  Where I was finding it easy to find ten minutes each day to sit, now I am not.  It's all seemed too much, and maybe my lack of practice is exactly why it's all seemed too much.

As the Zen quote goes 

"You should meditate for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour."
Image via Pinterest
I don't know where the time went but all of a sudden I have less hours in the day.  I'm getting less done.  Achieving only the bare minimum, and as the list of things I'm not getting done mounts that sense of overwhelm sneaks in.

But here's the thing.  My life is not hectic.  I have in fact very little to do.  I don't work.  I have a partner who cooks and cleans and shops and parents the kids.  And when I think of it like this it just makes me feel worse.  Because still I have this feeling of having no time.  No space.  No air.

I know it's transient.  That despite nothing in my life really changing, this feeling will shift.  But I have to question.  Why is it here in the first place?

A few weeks ago my son got sick.  Nothing serious, just a bad cold and a bit of an ear infection.  Whenever he gets a cold it's complicated by his viral asthma and I always get a bit tense wondering if he is going to decline and what I'm going to do about it if he does.

His asthma has been bad - several hospital admissions and even an ambulance ride or two. So it's not like my anxiety is entirely without foundation.

But this night my reaction was disproportionate to the situation.  By a lot.

I found myself, having gotten the kids off to sleep, wandering the house, virtually pacing from room to room.  Then I started sighing, trying to release some of the tension, trying to relax.  But pretty soon I was sucking in air, sort of unable to take a satisfying breath.  

I leant against the kitchen bench, head hung between my arms trying to catch my breath.  Just trying to calm down.  But feeling my heart rate rise.  I remember shaking my hands out and thinking to myself "I wonder if I'm having an anxiety attack?"

I apologise to anyone who has a proper clinical anxiety disorder.  My intention is not to minimise what that might be like.  And I know nothing about it.  But in that moment I did think, is this what an anxiety attack feels like?

It certainly was attack-like.  It was acute, and intense and the only way I could talk myself down from it was to check on my son every ten minutes (he was fine) and consciously tell myself that everything was okay and that my reaction was way out of proportion.

Eventually I felt ready to climb into bed and meditate.  I think I even got some sleep.  But since then I can't help but wonder what it was all about.

And since then I have noticed, while my edginess is not so acute, it's still there, making me tense and a bit flighty.

And as I look around my life I can't help but wonder, why?

Have you ever suffered from anxiety?

Listen to: 19th Nervous Breakdown The Rolling Stones

Uncredited Image Licensed Under Creative Commons


  1. Kate, I am glad that I was not the only one who neglected by Mindful in May duties, my effort was woeful last week. I too feel the chronic lack of time and anxious moments that you describe. I think we just need to be a bit easier on ourselves and realise that it all does ebb and flow and we'll get there in the end. You write beautifully by the way.

    1. Thanks Ing, it's great to see you here! I have only just started to realise how hard I actually am on myself. Need to think about that more, and ease up I think.