Arbitrary Anxiety

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My internal clocks are breaking the speed of life…

The heart palpitations were real, the sweat was heavy on my brow, the staccato beats of thoughts were flipping through my thinking. I was a mess, I was angry and frustrated, and reacting to those thoughts too. You would think that someone must have done something horrible, and you would be right. That person was me, and there was nothing wrong at all, nothing that made any of this real, except my thinking… my self built and self prescribed anxiety.

I do this to myself, to my inputs and outputs. Structured somewhere in the thinking process is a node of expectations that I use on myself. Either a timing node, where the things that I feel I need to do are placed on a conveyor belt of get-er-done. Or an emotional node of fears and fantasies as the feelings of others are put in place. Combine the two and the recipe is the same for this old cook. The sense of responsibility turned into a stop watch and internal pressures and hurdles to jump over start playing on repeat. The stress others put on me is nothing, the stresses life puts on me are not insurmountable. Yet the stress I put on myself could, and probably will kill…

The reason I see this is I see it in others, so it is more obvious to me now when I do it. A friend and I were just speaking about this, how somehow when we make up our minds to do something, a little, or huge, clock arrives. You can either manipulate the hands on the face, or be a prisoner to the ticking. Not to mention that there is usually a good amount of emotion, either one way or the other about it, that it now bears a weight limit to it too. It gives the saying “lighten the load” a somewhat new descriptor. Of course these are good things to do, get food before you get hungry, check…

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The workload of life we put on ourselves is not wrong, but it may need some adjustments at times. It may need a break up letter, it may need a time out, and it may need a kick in the butt, but it does do well to keep up with your mental workings as much as it is to keep up with your physical ones. Even in all of the various practicing of staying in the present, within all of this speed of life, those aspects of synapses get overlooked. For myself they happen so fast I don’t probably realize it has happened, until my inputs gets outputted as frustration and apathy.

It took two hours of utter funk, that kind you have when you just don’t know how you feel. Your emotions are skipping numbers like a Roulette wheel. It was nothing really, my wife had asked me to pick up her contacts at the Optometrists office. It was a few blocks away and no thing at all, but I had already made my plans, and even before she called they were changing. Now I had to fit something else in there… It was just a little thing, but in my mind it was the new Everest, it was crunchy, now I won’t be able to!? Fill in the blank, bring out the easiest go-to base thought of negativity, rearrange the tasks into a horrible example of contempt prior to investigation, and react to those emotions accordingly.

Really? After all of this time I still have to check myself?… Yes.

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It was nothing, it was done in ten minutes, one twentieth of the time I distressed over it. I didn’t do some of the things I had “plans” to do that day, and that is just fine with me. Because I had made up my anxieties when I planned my day out earlier. I had made up my list of expectations and results, and had no room or apparently frame of mind to have anything different occur. Was I going to break out in hives, or some form of incurable disease if I did not meet my own expectations? Hardly, I had built all of that up, constructed it, placed conflicts, and psychically evaluated the emotional responses of others. The gift of a great imagination will curse you with more to fear and worry about when doing this.

This is my story, this is my version of the things that happen that don’t really happen. It appears, I am pretty sure, in various forms in most, if not all of us. There is a saying that 95% of what we worry about is stuff we made up in our head. To that I agree, and a part of that is this arbitrary anxiety that we produce. It is part of the emotional straws that we use to suck up the milkshakes of being humans. The headlines and deadlines that run nonstop through our collective notions. What we create with what we have is also what we destroy, because and with, the same factors.

Gotta, haveta, shoulda, coulda, woulda… My old friend Bob detested those words and would say something if you used them around him. Not only are they horrible forms of speech, the connotations they provided and produced were incorrect. “The only thing I “gotta” do is die.” That was his response most of the time, when my early adult lip service included a healthy amount of gotta. Taxes? nope. Breathing? nope. Gotta has some really different meanings to folks until it comes right down to it, now doesn’t it? So the built in mental snap traps that engage when we build our thoughts are sometimes so defined, that we don’t know we can change them.

In my recovery, and discovery of self, I will be prolific in examining not only what I believe in, but why? How do the thoughts that make up my days, make up my life. How borrowed intellect is not something that I wear well, or for long before stripping down to my skivvies. Life is naked and life is full, of worry and dread, of imagined nightmares and very real horrors. It is what you make it! I’ve heard more than a few times, it may be more of a case of what you can make of it. The fears and deadlines, the perceived pace and march of time, the self dosed hum, is not based on what it is, but what you do with it. Build your days with expectations and they will fail, the cost of applying arbitrary anxiety.

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