Anticipatory Anxiety Paralysis

What a title eh?

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This is the name I coined for what I have been feeling for the past 4 weeks. I do not recall the last time I felt so paralysed anticipating uncertainties nor do I recall how I dealt with this type of angst. I was numbed, isolated myself by staying indoors and thanking no to invitations. What triggered this feeling? I had a deadline for a systematic review which I feared failing. I'd stare at the pile of papers on my desk and I’d shudder. I cornered myself on the sofa and watched the first 3 seasons of Once Upon A Time, again! I’d rather live with Snow white, Charming and the other characters from the Enchanted Forrest. For days I’d wake up late, drag myself out of the bed and make some tea with the intention of reading at least one article only to proceed with doing nothing productive. I felt so ashamed of myself and so filled with angst I felt paralysed. 

Two weeks in, I decided to allow myself to feel the angst, comfort eat, and sleep rather than complaining of feeling it. The dread of failure, the what if? Long lists of the shoulda, woulda, coulda. I would laugh at myself when I’d take a bite of something at silly- o’clock because I acknowledged it was not hunger, I just needed comfort. Funny enough I am not one to comfort eat, I cry instead but the tears had dried up this time. By week three I had gotten tired, my body was aching, because my limbs were not moving, anticipating failure was getting me nowhere and my deadline unchanged. I reached out to my tribe, poured my heart out and I got the oumph needed to get out of this.

I took a brisk walk to clear my mind of that fog called angst. I then packed a bag, got the train to the place where I am celebrated and not just tolerated. I got to spend time with my siblings and listened to the latest about their teenage lives. The next morning, I began reading and even wrote a paragraph. I remembered I cannot keep doing the same things expecting different results. I do things with faith which means I can only do my best why? Because that I can control, the rest will be taken care of by the Creator.

I managed to submit my review on time and now I feel like I can breathe. I bought some tulips, candles and my favourite chocolate. I've got the April issue of psychologies in my hand and my smile back on YAY!

Ps. It is okay to feel the angst, but do not let it win.



Photo credit: The Mighty

Ummi Fulani

Sosionom/Social Worker & Psychologies Ambassador, Child & Adolescent Mental Health (Oslo University Hospital)