When Anxiety Attacks

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I am just going to put it out there, today has sucked so far. This post is all about this day sucking. Choose to stay if you want, there will be glimmers of light somewhere in here because there are always are but mostly it will be me listing my grievances.

Let’s just get right into it.

This morning was so suck that 15 minutes in I decided to go back to bed for 20 minutes and start over.

Grievance 1: Starting the day on the Wrong Foot

I was not ready to get up, that was my first mistake. I should have stayed in bed a little longer and eased into the day. That is what feels good to me. If I wake up by an alarm or because I feel I have to due to an obligation, I am a completely beast. I realize that is not a nice thing to say about myself but all the fragile pieces inside me know it’s true and are all shaking their head in agreement. I actually am a morning person, I am my best self in the morning – when I get to get up on my terms. I am the best version of myself in general in life when I get to do it on my terms. I think that is a pretty universal truth for people.

So, this morning I got up before I was ready and in a way that did not feel good (pretty much throwing myself out of bed) because I wanted to be the one to greet my parents dog, who is staying with us, and wish her good morning. Todd was already up and moving, I knew this would wake her up, I wanted her to be greeted with a familiar face and love so I got up.

The next fifteen minutes played out like this: The dogs got rowdy, stayed rowdy, fought over food, and Scout (our house guest) pooped on a rug – this was after I had let her out TWICE.

I preceded to handle the poop situation and then throw myself back into bed and pull the covers over my head.

20 minutes later I woke up gradually, stretching and rolling around, doing pretty much anything that felt good and comfortable. I was ready to start over.

The morning picked up from there. I was in a much better frame of mind to interact with the dogs, I was able to have some meaningful time with Todd before he left for work, and overall I just felt better as a human being.

Grievance 2: Dog Problems

Once Todd left I plopped down in the sun room and started studying for some online quizzes I need to take in the next few days. The dogs decided to join me which was fine until they started to become distracting. I could feel my frustration start to build but I was able to focus in and get through the readings.

Once I finished studying for the first quiz I pulled it up to take it, I wanted to get through it while the information was still fresh in my mind. It was at this moment both dogs decided to have a massive melt down. They both started running around the house scream barking at the top of their lungs! Really guys? Realllly?!

Grievance 3: Quiz Error

In the midst of the dog chaos I managed to get through my quiz. However, when I was about half way through I noticed an error on the quiz that impeded my ability to answer the question. It is an online timed quiz so I decided to finish the rest of it and then email the professor about the error. So far the error impacts my grade, I am hoping after discussing it with the professor my grade will be corrected.

Grievance 4: Financial Aid Screw Up

I feel like anyone that has ever relied on financial aid in order to be able to attend college can empathize with the level of shear terror I felt this morning when I realized there had been an error with my financial aid. The error is that it was not disbursed and that my tuition and fees are now over due. I am in the process of working this out with the school and have been assured it will be fixed but I am not going to lie to I flew into a full on anxiety spiral for a good five minutes when I first realized there was a problem. Nothing a good hard cry can’t fix.

Grievance 5: Academic Integrity and Boundaries

This is what ultimately inspired me to write the post. Although looking back on everything now I have to admit the scenario I am about to share really has nothing to do with my day sucking at all, it was just an anxiety trigger on an already tense day.

Anyway, here it goes..

So after waking up in a less than ideal way, going back to bed to start over, managing dog chaos, quiz errors and financial aid hiccups, I was feeling a bit wound up. (Understatement of the year and I know it.)

While I was waiting on hold with the financial aid office (for 45 minutes!) I was also on FB writing a message to a classmate who I knew was having similar issues with financial aid. After I finished the message, while I was still on hold, I noticed a notification pop up telling me that someone had posted a new thread in a closed group I belong to with a bunch of other classmates. Since I was on hold anyway I opened up the thread and was instantly horrified with what I saw.

**I feel like I have give a disclaimer on this next part.. I am not accusing anyone of doing anything wrong, these are just my reactions to the situation and everything I feel/say are being run through my own subjective filter.

Ok so, I open the thread and it is a classmate expressing concern about an assignment we are all currently working on. This is pretty common. We really like to commiserate, I am included in that we. Misery does in fact love company and knowing that you are not the only person lost or freaking out does help one to feel a bit better.

The post from my classmate did not follow the typical pattern of venting a frustration or other emotion.. it went on to essentially say “this is my answer, what is everyone else’s answer?”

This is when alarms started going off in my head/gut. This assignment she is referencing is not a group assignment. It very clearly states that we are not to collaborate in the assignment description.

All I could think was What is she doing?!

And not in a judgemental way, in a scared you could get in trouble and I don’t want you to get in trouble way.

Now I know when it comes to ethics/integrity I can be a bit rigid. That is a protective piece that is trying to keep me safe and I just have to have gratitude and accept that piece of myself. I know that everyone in life is on a spectrum and that some people may not see an issue with this thread, in fact clearly that was the case because people responded to the thread outlining the answer they got etc. I am not here to make that decision for anyone about whether the thread is right or wrong. I am talking about how it’s very existence made me feel.

So while still waiting on hold and in an already pretty extreme state of anxiety because my day has sucked, I started to respond to the thread.

This assignment is really intimidating, I totally agree. I am definitely feeling a bit lost and not super confident in my ability to diagnose yet. With that being said, I think we need to be careful though. I think it is wonderful and super important that we support each other, however this assignment clearly states it is not collaborative. I am concerned that this post is maybe dancing a line.. I just don’t want anyone to get in trouble.

I sat with my response for a moment weighing all the possible outcomes of what hitting submit could mean. Then I had a moment of clarity. All my anxiety from the day and the especially the last 20 minutes leading up to my response dissipated and a wave of calm flooded over me. I deleted my response without hitting submit.

Boundaries. This has nothing to do with me. It is not my responsibility to educate anyone on my definition of academic integrity. This thread existing does not impact my own progress in the program. This does not belong to me so I need to stop trying to hold it.

I care about many of the people who posted on that thread. And personally I think while the very existence of the thread is a problem in terms of academic integrity it is not my job to make that determination for any of these people I care about. They are all adults, they all know the rules, no one forced them to post on the thread, it is not my job to protect any of them, there is no evidence even showing they need protection.

I just had to back up and calm down. It felt like my entire day had been leading up to this triggering moment. Like the Universe was testing me. I think I passed.

While I was writing this post I walked away for a while because a dear friend called. I expended some of my anxious energy processing my day with her and received some validation that I was OK. I had already validated that for myself but I am never above accepting outside love and support.

So everything went along as it was meant to. All fires, real and imagined, have been dealt with. And I have the rest of my day to breathe and recenter. Today I think that looks like cleaning and painting while listening to soothing music.

Grateful for my triggers, grateful for my support (within and without), grateful for love (within and without), grateful for this sucky day.

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