“Anxiety, you Bastard!”
Loosely translated, the Afrikaans word, “bliksem” is a bastard.
According to the list of Afrikanserims on Wiki:
- bliksem – strike, hit, punch; also used as an expression of surprise/emphasis. It derives from the Dutch word for “lightning”, and often occurs in conjunction with donner. Used as a curse in Afrikaans: “Jou bliksem!” (You bastard!)
The Afrikaans language packs a real, lekker punch.
Anyway, back to this anxiety issue of mine.
I’ve always been a nervous and shy person, but with age, it seems to be getting worse.
To me, anxiety is that little niggle that sits between my shoulder blades, there at the back of my neck, where the hairs stand up to attention. It whispers to me, constantly- it’s breath heavy, bringing with it with a deep kind of fear. Normal activities like driving down the road becomes a stressful event. At every stop street, my heart starts to race, and in my mind I see myself making an accident. (And that’s just at a stop street.) My eyes become wide and the sweat starts to gather on my forehead and on my cheeks. I need to turn the aircon up because I start to overheat.
It’s been my secret. I’ve become more home bound because of it. Even social situations where, for example, I’m meeting my husband’s colleagues, would get my glasses all steamed up. It’s embarrassing. I even overwhelm myself during art class as the anxiety to get every brush stroke perfect, eats at the joy of the process of creating the art. My art teacher often needs to step in to calm me down or take over because of it. I stand there, on the brink of tears, filled to the brim with angst.
My youngest son, Gabriel, won a role to be a model for a kiddies shoe company in South Africa. I entered his pictures on Facebook last week and they made contact on Thursday. I was excited, obviously, like any normal person would be. The shoot was set for the following Tuesday in Cape Town and I made arrangements for myself and Gabriel to sleep over at my parent’s house in Cape Town the night before the shoot. A few hours before I had to drive, that familiar flashes of car wrecks played over and over in my mind. It became so overwhelming that my husband had to drive me to Cape Town instead. He was sick so it was a brave move on his part. But I couldn’t shake the feeling even at the shoot itself where there were a number of other small children , with their parents.
Babies were crying and laughing and playing and fighting and running everywhere.
I was on edge.
I was worried Gabriel wasn’t going to do well and that the organizers would think we’re wasting their time. (Stupid) Negative thoughts plagued my mind and I couldn’t get my heart rate slowed down. Gabriel picked up on my aura and realized my fears. He was cranky and refused to go in front of the camera. I was uncomfortable and irritable and he echoed that.
Worst of it all, my other two kids were with and carried on like wild children at the shoot. Okay, I wasn’t myself, so they seemed like wild children to me.
Nothing looked right through my lenses.
The world, and all it’s occupants were skewed.
As someone spoke to me, my mind would show me images of them sneering at me. Flashes of snickering people tormented me further. But I knew it couldn’t be real. Or could it have been?
Anxiety leaves me unsure and tormented, bruised and battered.
Anxiety picks at my worst fears and makes them real. I go through all the physical symptoms of fear and sink into a dark abyss of not being able to tell what’s real and what isn’t. The confusion is debilitating.
At the end of the shoot, Cayden, my eldest helped with his baby brother and got him to smile. I was over the day anyway. We then decided to take the long drive home and I offered to drive.
It was anew road for me and I was already shaken up. The tension sat etched into my shoulder muscles. And of course I was sweating. My husband took over the driving again.
Lessons learned? Yes.
Anxiety is an asshole.
How do you overcome your experiences with anxiety?