I wake up and it begins. I toss and turn in my bed as I try to shut off the images of past failures that flip through my mind like a slideshow.  Then come the doubts about current endeavors, followed by worries about future ones. This worry gets into my blood, and I feel like an agitated bottle of agua com gas and everything will fizz out if the top gets taken off.

I guess it’s about time to talk about it, the a-word…anxiety.  If freakin’ Vinny on Jersey Shore can talk about it, so can I.  It colors about everything that I do.  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, even my greatest enemy.

I’m not talking about a little anxiety one might feel just before going on a stage to sing or give a presentation. It’s more like a constant clawing little beast, always scratching within my brain and gnawing at my belly. It makes me worry a lot that something bad is going to happen, even if it’s pretty much likely that it won’t. And I become overly preoccupied with all manner of things: work, friends, family, money, etc. It can range from a panic attack to just a mildly stressful feeling, but it’s almost always there.

Most people find it hard to comprehend unless they have anxiety, too. In fact, those of us with clinical anxiety can often sniff it out in others. But that’s helpful because we can empathize with each other. It’s possible to say to them:  “Well, I was having a panic attack earlier this morning, but then I went for a run and I feel better.” They don’t look at you like you are a crazy person when you talk about your episodes. It’s just part of life for us. It’s a matter of managing it daily that is tricky.

I could take drugs for it, but I don’t.  I’ve gone through therapy and tried different herbal supplements, but it turns out that exercise is the most effective form of treatment for me–and I mean, a sweaty, heavy breathing, muscle-aching workout, not a walk around the block. I focus on the exercise, and then it wears me out. After that, I’m too tired to let anything get to me. Add to the exercise lots of regular sleep.

If all goes well, I’m kind of like a well exercised puppy.  I just want to run free, snooze in a comfy bed, and then I’ll be relaxed. Reminds me, it’s time to let the dog out before I go to Capoeira.


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