Anxiety is a bitch. Anyone who has experienced it knows. Sometimes it fades into the background, sometimes it rears it's ugly head, and sometimes it roars so loudly that the best I can do is just put one foot in front of the other.
At times like this, I turn to my last resort, the technique I use when things get really dire (and, occasionally, when things are just reasonably dire, or I'm not feeling particularly robust).
I take one day at a time.
Why do I need to take one day at a time? Well, anxiety has many side effects - fun things like a racing heart, a cloudy head, and a sense of disconnect with the world. However, one of the most debilitating impacts of anxiety is to reduce my ability to cope. When my anxiety is roaring, it becomes the loudest voice in my head, and takes up all the energy I need to function.
Without my emotional resources, I become easily overwhelmed. Simple tasks like cooking dinner seem difficult. Bigger projects like organising my car rego or generating invoices seem scary. And long term responsibilities like my career and parenting my children seem utterly impossible.
So I do what I need to do. I don't think about the scary or impossible. I push those thoughts away and focus myself directly on the here and now. I decide I just need to get through today, and not think about all the tomorrows that are going to come later. I can get through one day. It's just twenty four hours. Anyone can get through one day.
There is a tremendous release in just taking one day at a time. Life is complex and frightening and we never know what is around the corner. But a day is just a series of hours that lasts until bedtime. A day is manageable. A day is limited. A day has a beginning and an end. And if it's too hard to make it through a day, you can resort to making it through the hour. One hour at a time. One day at a time. And when you make it through, start again.
Sometimes, that's all you can do. But if you keep getting through, hour by hour, day by day, eventually the anxiety will recede again. I promise you, it will. So hang in there.
Anyone can get through one day.