"Take a deep breath, slowly" I tell myself, "And another. And another." I count to ten with each breath.
The pressure subsides. I feel my heartbeats return to normal.
I'm overcoming this anxiety one breath at a time.
But it leaves me wounded for the rest of the day, and sometimes longer.
A little, unrelated thing happens, and I feel those heavy heartbeats return.
"Take a deep breath....Do it!" Now I'm yelling in my mind. Not very calming, for sure, but I don't seem to be listening to myself very well.
Slow breathing isn't working, I need something more. Distraction time.
(flashing lights, confetti, games - that is what I'm imagining in my mind as I type that, but the reality is less of a carnival.)
I try to do something calming, that requires precise thought, to distract from the anxious thoughts and feelings. Eventually it works. The pressure releases, the heartbeats lighten. Calm.
Dinner cooked. Movie watched. Bedtime prayers and tucking in for my kid. The night progresses without incident.
I stay up much later than I should (this is my normal, anxiety or not), finally turning down the lights and snuggling into my pillow at 3am. Peace surrounds. The darkness of sleep rolls in. I reach for dreams, and...
Boom. I'm sitting up. The pressure intense, mind racing, heart pounding. Panic. I try to slow my thoughts enough to pinpoint what is causing this feeling.
I realize part of my brain has been tightly holding the anxiety in check since the afternoon, and it has come untethered.
Slow breaths. Prayers. Distraction.
Tomorrow will be a better day.