Thursday, March 2, 2017

High Anxiety

In paradise with a headache. 

I've been living with anxiety for, like, ever. I was an anxious child and it turns out I'm a pretty anxious adult. I do my best to hide it but I really only think I'm fooling myself. I recall when I was teaching high school one of my students described me as, "Anxious and nice." I was kind of taken aback by that. I like to think of myself as a calm, laid back Buddhist. But the truth is I'm edgy as all get out. Just lay a finger on my neck or shoulders and you'll be like, "Damn girl. I could bounce a quarter off of you!"

I carry my anxiety in my shoulders. They're usually hunched up close to my ears. When I'm driving, I look like an old lady with my shoulders hunched up and my chin jutting out over the steering wheel. I'm constantly having to remind myself to push my shoulders back down. To relax. To chill the eff out. But then—boing! There they go again. They pop right back up to the perma-hunch.

My anxiety has been so high for the past few weeks that I've had a constant headache. For the first couple of weeks of the perma-headache, Tylenol seemed to do the trick. But since last Friday, nothing has worked. I've tried Tylenol, Advil, Excedrin, Caffeine, Claritin, Claritin-D, Flonase, massages and I even went to the walk-in clinic and got a rather humiliating shot in my butt to try and kill the pain.

No dice.

I did notice that the headache did temporarily go away while I got a massage last night. So my therapist suggests that this means it's a tension headache rather than a brain tumor. (You know that's where my thoughts went—worst case scenario.)

It's so odd to me that your psychological state can cause physical pain. Your brain is so powerful that it can induce physical manifestations of your psychological pain. That just blows my mind. (Ha—literally!) And then I wonder—what's the point of all this? Why would nature design us that way? What good could it possibly do for us as a species to suffer physically as a result of psychic trauma? There must be some sort of evolutionary reason this happens, right Darwin?

Maybe attending to our psychic pain is necessary to our survival?

Maybe the only way some of us will take care of ourselves emotionally is if we're practically crippled with pain.

Or maybe that's just me?


  1. I'll take a page out of my mother's playbook and recommend you take a suppository laxative. Oral laxatives are for people not serious about getting well.

  2. I get tension headaches too. Sometimes they're so bad they're damn near a migraine. Hope you find more relief soon. Tell DJ to keep his dirty paws off yah silky drawers!

  3. SHIT. I literally can't have any straps on my trapezius muscles because it's an instant headache because... you guessed it! that's where my stress is too. Do you know how hard it is to find non racer back sports bras?! I need to look into posture improvements.

  4. Unfortunately, I deal with this issue. Praise the Lord, it's nothing like it used to be. I get a bit "headachy", nauseous too. When I was much younger, my eyes would burn so bad at work, I'd have to sit at my desk and keep them closed. (Obviously, those were days, I'd be very unproductive) i would start to hyperventilate... can you SCARY!! or I'd feel like I needed to run on my treadmill because my insides were racing so fast, I felt like I needed to keep up with them. Since I've gotten older it's not as bad. I think for 3 reasons.. 1. My life is better and 2. When things are bad, I'm learning how to talk myself out of it, calm myself down. (Not always easy)3. I'm a much, much stronger person mentally.. I think it's called.... not giving 2 F##ks about alot of things.

  5. "Or maybe that's just me?"
    No it is not just you, all of us...every single human could easily say I have: 'High Anxiety'. Most don't show it, those who have spoken about being nervous or anxious may surprise you. If you watch reruns of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson you will
    see well known stars stating how nervous and anxious they were the
    first time as a guest.
    You are not alone...40 million people in the USA suffer from High Anxiety.
    When you write their is not a tract of are self-healing...if only each of us could do as you.
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Just a primary care doc. recommended I try CBD...(Hemp)Oil which actually helps with my anxiety instead of using pharma anxiety med's, Not sure if you can get it in Mich...(I live in NM where medical marijuana is legal but you don't need a Rx for CBD Oil..can actually buy it online.) Just something you may want to look into to help you out. I certainly helps me! Good luck!

  7. Good luck with your memoir... though it being unfinished might be related to the headache. I love that genre though Patricia Hampl a former neighbor of mine in St. Paul is my favorite at this time but there is always room for more at the top...:)

  8. I believe "Maybe attending to our psychic pain is necessary to our survival?" to be one of the truest things I've read recently. One of my dearest friends lost her husband to an overdose two weeks ago...he was 32. My head is alternately full of cotton or terrifying explosions and I cannot seem to boil water properly. I am holding my breath and screaming, sometimes in the same moment. Take care of you...because you don't belong just to you.

    And you, Mandy, the world needs.