Tag Archives: Anxiety

More about the anxiety

I love co-working and dislike working in isolation, but I see now that I have a longstanding (although not evident) anxiety condition for which Boicean-style advice is a trigger. I am also so naturally organized, disciplined, and motivated that the Boicean-style admonishments feel demeaning, as I know that what I need is time to contemplate, not exhortations to rush.

Both of my parents have anxiety conditions. My father manages his rather well, and my mother allowed hers to disable her almost completely. I have always imitated my father, because it was clear where my mother’s choices led. In addition, when I was small my mother and brother would entertain themselves by imposing upon me, and imposition and needling have been anxiety triggers for me ever since.

I seem so calm, people do not realize I suffer from anxiety, but the calm is only my deeper nature, combined with my longstanding policy, because of the anxiety, of not participating in histrionics.

The first time I really felt the anxiety (the feeling I am identifying as anxiety now) was as a teenager, living with a family who liked to procrastinate and then hurry. In my family we take our time and are on time, but this family would insist upon waiting and then go into a frenzy about how we were about to miss the ferry. The frenzy would make me shake. Why are we even going to town, if we must create such suffering for ourselves around it? I would ask.

I am claustrophobic. My father talks about this openly: “I need space, light, and windows, and I will not work in a cubicle.” This is why I do not like living in small towns without easy access to a variety of hiking trails and views from different heights. A lot of my energy in fact goes to tolerating the feeling of enclosure in Maringouin. And any city will have a variety of paths and heights, and that is why I like cities better. If I am to take anxiety seriously, and treat it seriously now, I should structure in time spent in less claustrophobic environments. I should stop considering this a luxury or a guilty pleasure.

Most fundamentally I do not like to be needled or imposed upon, manipulated, pushed, or told to rush. It is a separate issue that I do not really need exhortation; the key issue is that the imposition, the needling, the poking, the attempts to distract and disorient, are all ancient. I used to have this happen to me all day and have to remain calm, because my mother was ill and my brother was younger, and I was still small and could not stop them from taunting me, and my mother would advise that the more imperturbable I could be, the sooner they would stop. So I am imperturbable, but it is also a fact that I can still look imperturbable when I am in fact at a breaking point.

I don’t actually disagree with Boice at all, it is just that I always worked that way. When I was over 30, people discovered Boice and started lecturing condescendingly at me about him, and my anger at them about that is unabated. I had a project I disagreed with, and I wanted to use Boicean time to work with that. But these new converts said, do not question what you are asked to say, just say it and reap the rewards of having said it. It was I, and not they, who knew how to write.

Axé.

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On anxiety

I have it and should pay more serious attention to it. I need shiatsu massage and reasonable control of my schedule and space, regardless of the chaos other people may have in their lives. I am not talking about control over others or rigid defensiveness. I am talking about not being imposed upon, and about having as many rights as others.

I think very regular, serious treatment of the situation, and respect for it, are in order. (Back home, of course, I would never have doubted these things, and would never have allowed, or had to allow the situation to get this bad.)

I am incarcerated in a house, under the control of an irrational person who has legal power over me. I must care for them and do as they say. I must take on a very large professional project that is not the one I want. I am unable to do this under coercion, but not allowed to do anything else.

That is the ur-feeling of it. Bodily I have experienced taquicardia without heart problems, digestive issues, muscle tension and most notably, freezing of the brain. I’ve also seen spots, without having a vision problem. The two most subtle, but clearest indicators of anxiety are:

1/ becoming irritated or feeling defeated over something that can actually be managed with assertiveness;
2/ losing focus, as if one had lost interest or were too tired; inefficiency as a result of this.

People don’t realize I have anxiety because I am still a calm person and still so rational. In addition, I don’t have anxiety without a cause–it is always about being imposed upon, and the imposition is always real. Therefore, focusing on symptoms rather than cause, which the anxiety experts want one to do, only increases the feeling of imposition, incarceration, inattention to the obvious, and manipulation.

It is since November, Thanksgiving evening to be exact, that things have been this way and I have not had the time/space to reflect upon the situation. Had this period also started earlier? What about October, with study abroad? What about September, with the roof? What about the issues with the leaking door and floor? When did I last have any calm time to myself?

I would like less Internet of all types. More reading, in books and journals, not on screens and printouts. In-person work in libraries. Writing, on tables of the right height, looking outdoors in sunlight. Walking, in free air with views.

I should always sleep, and exercise, and drink water, and insist that my space be mine and be a calm space. More deeply, I should believe that my thoughts are valid thoughts. I should believe that I have a right to my life, and that my assessment of things is valid.

Axé.

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