When you’ve always dealt with something, you really don’t think of it as a problem. You just deal with it, find a way, and keep going with life.
I’ve discovered over the last decade or so that a number of things I thought were normal weren’t. They were actual medical conditions that, because I didn’t know any different, I’d adjusted my life around. One deals with my eyes. I didn’t realize there was such a thing as strabismus or that I had a version of it. I have one eye that will, on occasion, move independently to the outside. To me, my eyesight would get blurry. Blinking a few times, shaking my head, took care of it. I thought, honestly, that everyone’s eyes did this. It wasn’t until it happened in front of the doctor during a normal eye exam that I learned anything else.
Through my counseling, I’m learning to identify how my anxiety actually manifests. It’s what keeps me up at 2 am when I’ve woken up for another reason. It’s behind me having a problem with dishes not being taken care of before I go to bed. It’s what drives my need to complete certain tasks before I do any writing.
It also manifests in my dreams.
I’m a lucid dreamer. I always have been. When it comes to my books, that’s a good thing. I’ve had times where I’ve gone to bed not sure how to fill the point between A and B in a book. My subconscious will work it out, and I’ll wake up knowing what has to happen between the two events. I vividly recall dreams I had over a decade ago. I’ve even retained the images and ‘feel’ of some from when I was a child.
There’s something coming in 2 weeks. I can’t go into details with what it is, for reasons. But I’m both excited and nervous about this event. Knowing me, when I signed up for it I selected an early morning slot. I didn’t want to stress/obsess over it all day. I wanted to get it done, for good or bad (hoping for good), early on so I could enjoy the rest of the day. My anxiety is already at work, however. Last night, I had a dream where my cat let me sleep in and I missed the appointment.
Not helpful, anxiety!
Still, I’ve gained the tools to understand that’s where it came from. It’s not a reflection on which way the appointment will go. I know myself well enough that I won’t miss the meeting. Chances are that I’ll be up way too early, just to combat the fear of missing it. Coffee will be consumed, I’ll be dressed. It’s not going to be a mad dash in my pajamas to my computer.
Knowing the why behind things is a good thing. It takes it from an unknown to a known, turns it into something we can manage. That’s probably one reason why Thia’s the way she is in the Heroes of Avoch novels. I often put part of myself in my characters, amplified, as a way for me to deal with those issues. If I can do it on paper, through that character, then I can implement it in life. For Thia, she’s the literary embodiment of my anxiety. I deliberately put her in situations that are not just beyond her control but drive her anxiety up. I force her to grow, challenge herself to deal with the events around her and overcome the obstacles.
Life isn’t easy. It’s hard work to stay true to ourselves when everything around us seems to be out of our control. I can’t control COVID, or countries going to war. I can’t make our justice system work in a certain way, single handedly get the union that’s made my hours get cut go back to work, or make the appointment on the 12th happen today.
But I can control what I do, how I react, and how much of the weight I choose to carry.
BB/Chan Eil Eagal Orm