Normally when any of you see my posts, you could count on some positivity. You’ll see humor – especially puns – and gratitude, and optimism, and encouragement. You might see cursing during football season and you might see the very occasional political post.
So this is different. I had a car accident on Thursday. I’ve been involved in car accidents before both my fault as well as another person’s fault. I was rear ended and didn’t even see it coming. I got checked out and other than a bump on my head and some neck pain, I considered myself pretty lucky. My new car is pretty bruised up, but I know that in the same accident in my old car, I would be MUCH more physically damaged (if not worse.) So I have a lot for which to be grateful – and I AM.
I’ve had a phenomenal weekend. My husband whisked me away to the beach and we had an adventure and fabulous company and food and SO much laughter and fun. But also in the last 72 hours I’ve experienced something I know many others feel often – physical anxiety. As positive – and neurotic – that I am most of the time – I’ve never really experienced SO MUCH physical anxiety. This is new to me and plainly speaking – it sucks.
I know a lot of people who experience anxiety in many forms. And I know many of them get help in the form of therapy and medication. I also know of many who don’t get help. There are those who go to work in paralyzing states of anxiety. There are those who drive with it. There are those who operate machinery and do surgeries. Anxiety is everywhere and can affect the most positive and optimistic of people. I know.
Combine anxiety with the political climate (which probably CAUSES much and definitely has added to mine!) and we’re likely to experience many of our colleagues and our friends and neighbors acting differently or responding to different situations in ways they normally wouldn’t.
This is why it’s more important than ever to listen. It’s more important than ever to observe. It’s more important than ever to reach out to those who may be acting differently and say, “I’m here. You don’t even have to talk, just know.” It’s important to reach out to those you know who have experienced anxiety in the past and ask, “Hey, how are you doing lately? How are you handling things these days?” It’s more important than ever to (if you can) go over to someone’s home and give them a hug instead of a text. It shouldn’t feel uncomfortable to talk about the simple fact that people are anxious – and FEEL anxiety in different ways.
Instead of thinking it’s the rare person you meet experiencing it, I’d actually make the assumption that it’s the rare person who doesn’t. So be kind. Be patient. Be understanding. Be gentle. But most importantly…. Be present.