If you have anxiety, the world isn’t set up for you.

It’s a harsh reality.

And I’m reminded of it often, even though my anxiety is tremendously more manageable and tame than it used to me. Right now it feels like a crotchety old house cat that gets agitated from time to time but usually is settled by a few scrtiches and pats … when it used to be tiger roaring, teeth gnashing at its cage… constantly pacing. Unable to be placated.

So today when I left for the gym to swim laps I had the same familiar thoughts:

I just want to swim laps, what if I have to wait for a lap lane and just sit there like an idiot?

Why can’t we just continue to reserve lanes via the app like we did in the beginning of COVID?

This may not seem like a huge deal to you, but I assure you, swimming laps helps me regulate and it can actually feel like a life and death situation if I don’t have access to it, though it usually doesn’t get to that level anymore. And there have been times where I’ve walked into the pool, towel in hand, had to wait for a lane, and just left.

Not left to do another work out, just left the gym entirely because either I didn’t want to ask someone to share a lane or sitting and waiting felt impossible. No, I don’t feel like I’m better than others in those moments or deserve special treatment, I feel scared and frustrated.

When you have anxiety, you’re very aware of the limited amount of energy you have. For me, it used to become apparent in social interactions with strangers, which could feel agonizing.

I guess you could say reserving lap lanes would just be “enabling” the person and not pushing them to do “normal” things, but my counter to that is at sometimes people are at their limit and are TRYING to take care of themselves, but their brains may just work differently due to trauma or other factors.

So if you find yourself exasperated with a task or situation that appears to be something “normal” people are okay with, have some compassion for yourself. A traumatized/anxious and activated brain does not work in the same ways that others do. And that’s okay, but much of the world is not set up with our nervous systems in mind.

Much love

Natalie

8 thoughts on “If you have anxiety, the world isn’t set up for you.

  1. You’re dead right.

    “This may not seem like a huge deal to you, but I assure you, swimming laps helps me regulate and it can actually feel like a life and death situation if I don’t have access to it”

    Once again it’s so satisfying to see you say things like this, because it was exactly the same for me. When I was doing this every morning, I had a system which worked. Swimming allowed me to do so many things, and deal with so many things, and because I’ve always been energetic and motivated to do things, so it really was a life and death situation. With swimming, everything was possible. Without it, nothing, in days that are relentlessly long. I just felt ill and hyper-sensitive. Swimming really is unlike any other exercise.

    It’s been sooo impossible to explain to people, firstly the need for the exercise and the consequences of not having it, and secondly the uniqueness of swimming. Man that is tough, when people even think your focus on swimming is a sign of being frivolous with money, when you’d pay to go swimming even when low on money. To get across the idea that it’s as important as food or water. Absolutely totally impossible for 99% of people to relate to! But the absolute ecstasy and peace I used to feel afterwards, and clarity of mind which would last for the entire day…my body just felt like it worked in harmony and synchrony afterwards. Haha. Alright feeling conscious of the dramatic language now 😆.

    Anyway, now that I have lost all this structure and my circumstances are as they are at the moment, the world is indeed very challenging and I’m having to problem-solve each hypersensitivity to mitigate it and restore some function :). Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But yeah, totally feel you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I guess you could say reserving lap lanes would just be “enabling” the person and not pushing them to do “normal” things, but my counter to that is at sometimes people are at their limit and are TRYING to take care of themselves, but their brains may just work differently due to trauma or other factors.”

      Btw god this was the theme of so much discussion/conflict I had with family. I knew I had this NEED to do certain things, and they’d try to challenge it sometimes, with their brains working so differently. If I can JUST do this thing in this way, this whole problem they’re arguing about will disappear. And yes it’s not ideal, but nothing else comes close to solving this issue!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. Like. If I could find other ways to regulate myself I would. Believe me I’ve tried. I hate running and just walking or hiking doesn’t seem to do the trick. But swimming pretty continuously for 45 minutes to an hour does. Thank god.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m glad someone understands me but sorry that you’re dealing with the effects of less structure at the moment.

      It really is amazing how my anxiety is less for the entire day after I swim. The urges to just stay in bed disappear as well as urges to overeat. I feel so much less overwhelmed by things. It’s like it forces my soul back into my body or something and reminds me I’m alive and to make the most of things ? Idk. Almost spiritual for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Exactly, the soul back in the body, embodying it again and my body feeling comfortable and right again, my heart feels normal again. And definitely spiritual! It definitely connects up with feelings of enlightenment, at one with the world. I’m convinced you are experiencing exactly the same thing.

        Liked by 1 person

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