Countering the Anxiety Wave

Last night as I got ready for bed, anxiety slunk into the room, a menacing shadow. I had had fun five days with the kids, enjoying Eden’s birthday, a beach outing, and a special day with Eden rock climbing at the gym. The kids were sleeping peacefully in their beds, and yet I felt overwhelmed by terror at their next-day impending departure to their father.

Every muscle in my body screamed to jump out of bed, go to the computer, read a book, watch a movie, anything so that my mind would not fester with paralyzing thoughts about my failure as a parent, irresponsibility about money matters, or my bogged-down writing. I tried to describe my feeling to Dar. “You should do something about it,” was his practical response. “You should try to spend less money.”

My first reaction: You’re judging me!?! Then I tried to understand my upset. In the last few years I’ve done much to become more financially responsible. Chris comes once a week for an hour, keeps records of my spending, and generates monthly reports. I realized that I actually feel good about how much my attitude to money has changed.

Parenthood is a more touchy topic. I try to cram 365 days’ worth of love into 182.5 days with activities, one-on-one time, moments of listening, and homework. I give emotional support and take care of the children’s physical needs. Is it any wonder that I hardly ever succeed in giving the children everything that I would like to give? I reminded myself of the Hand in Hand class I recently took, the parenting book I am reading, the special times the children and I shared, the fact that I’ve been more patient with them. I feel good about how much I’ve grown as a parent in the last few years.

My negative thoughts almost disappeared. But what about my writing? Am I not exactly where I was ten years ago when I began? I finished one novel and started several others. I received one full manuscript request (no answer yet). I attended several conferences and received encouraging critiques. I took writing classes and interacted with writers. I started my blog. Without doubt, I am in a different and better place than I was ten years ago.

The shadows, the terror, my anxiety, all melted away. I felt better able to breathe. I had just had a moment of enlightenment. Instead of judging myself, I had taken an appreciative look at what my achievements were and found pride in my work. I am not at the beginning of my way to become a writer, a parent, a financially responsible adult. I am well on my way and will continue throughout my life. I thanked Dar for listening to me and closed my eyes, feeling relief, gratitude, and contentment. I fell asleep, sleeping the sleep of the just.

What tricks do you have to relieve anxiety?

2 Responses to Countering the Anxiety Wave

  1. Lydia Kang May 11, 2012 at 2:58 am #

    You really had a landmark moment of appraising yourself and giving yourself the credit that is due. Congrats on doing so much–you have every right to be proud!

  2. Sigal Tzoore May 21, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    Thanks Lydia! I do so wish I had these moments of understanding and gratitude more often. I hope that by writing them down I might be able to relive them more often.

Sigal Tzoore (650) 815-5109