Anxiety Blah Blah Blah

(Apologies for the lame and misleading title. I slept late last night and have slept late for the last few nights, but I've upped my caffeine intake, so my mind is in that state where connections are being made fast and in abundance, yet thoughts are foggy and nonsensical.)


Just wanted to share this piece I found about anxiety disorder: 


I cringe at the term "anxiety disorder", not for the first word in the phrase, but for the second: Disorder.

Does that word bug me because of it's loaded meaning, because of the stigma behind the word, and for a fear of being labeled, judged, and ostracized from humanity and civilization?

Or does it irk me because "disorder" is a synonym for chaos, uncertainty, and mayhem?

In this blog post, I would like to explore my nature as an anxious, nearly-grown woman.

I always fancied myself a happy and healthy human being, if not a bit neurotic and overemotional. And yes, as I bring up time and time again in my blog posts, I also am a bit of a stress ball.

Moving to a new place and meeting brand new people (I like putting "meeting new people" that way because it makes me believe that they didn't exist until I met them. It's like they come to me as fully programmed human beings with rich histories and a single, poignant purpose for crossing paths with me) is teaching me plenty not only about my new environment but also about myself.

For example, I've learned that even by disciplined, respectful, polite Japan standards, I'm a pretty straight and narrow, type A, type. I pretend that I relate to Britta in NBC's "Community", but I'm really more of an Annie Aderol. This may not be the impression that I initially give off at work in Japan, what with my piercings and refusal to wear overly professional and conservative clothes in this hot and humid weather, but underneath the bright colored clothing and the flower tattoo, I'm your run-of-the-mill control freak.

That link that I posted is a blog post about the sunny side to anxiety disorder, or "anxiety super powers" as I like to think of it. The writing is a bit confusing--like mine--and the writer loses me with some of her analogies ("as wax is to crayon"? ¿que?), but I whole heatedly agree with her arguments about anxious people winning at life. Not that life is a giant competition (yes it is), but if it were (and it is), I'd probably be pretty far up ahead with all the winners. Winning.

And now you've stopped reading because you're repulsed by my conceit. Sore loser.

Some things I've learned or am learning about anxiety:

Anxiety decreases when you have your own living space to control.
Having my own apartment means being able to fully escape from irrational annoyances like loud noises, incessant hums of soft noises, people who talk too much, people who are creepily quiet, hyper toddlers-both of the crying and the laughing type, bad music, boredom, strangers, loved ones, and small animals.

When I come home from work, I get to do whatever I want because it's MY place, MY rules, MY naked butt on MY sofa.

...if I wanted to sit naked on my sofa, anyway. Not that I... I mean, you know, sometime you just... Moving on.

I can clean incessantly without judgement. I can leave messes in categorized piles without trespassing or vandalizing communal territories. I can skip a night shower, go to bed stinky, and go to work the next freshly showered. I can sit in perfect silence or I can put "Lesson Learned" by Alicia Keys and John Mayer on repeat for 5 hours.

Control over her environment is every anxiety super-powered girl's dream. It's also the dreams rapists and serial killers. Unrelated. I think.

You-Can-Never-Be-Too-Preparedness is a gift, not an embarrassing character flaw.
...especially when living in a new environment with no friends from your previous life and when you don't speak the local language. In such foreign lands, maps aren't in English, bus maps looks like an old fashioned telephone operator board, money is confusing to manage, you don't have the things you need, and the things you need are often difficult to find and to attain.

Anxiety super powers has allowed me to Keep Alert and Carry On ("calm" is hardly in my vocabulary). Bring on your newness and foreigness, Japan. I got this.

I Never Skip a Beat.
Fact, all beats are present and accounted for. I keep lists categorized by the following: "Things to do Today","Things I did today", "Skils I want to get better at", "Things to do for fun", "Groceries", "Big things to buy for the apartment", "Small things to buy for the apartment", "Fun things I want", "Books I've read", "Books I want to read", "Goals for the year", "Languages I want to learn", "Goals for life", "Ideas for blog posts", "Ideas for dinner". I have many little notebooks tucked away in purses, backpacks, and bookshelves in my apartment containing these lists.

I produce.
I write, I play music, I teach, I run. I get shit done, son. Perhaps "inspiration" and muses are little more than adrenaline and caffeine rushes.

Self-Betterment can be a by-product (product?) of anxiety.
Anxiety oftentimes is nothing but the desire for order and efficiency; part of becoming an overall more productive, self-controlled, and cheerful adult means learning to control and dial down my anxiety as necessary so that my super power can be use for good, not evil. Anxiety can come in the form of concern for a loved one or smothering overbearingness. Anxiety can start as cute, diligent attention to detail only to unwittingly evolve to obsessive compulsive super power.

So, I'm learning to let things go. I'm in the perfect environment to practice this: few people depend on me to get things right the first time around, mistakes I make can be blamed on my "gaijin"-ness (foreigness... That is, the noun form of the nature of being foreign, not like foreign and princess put together), and as I am new to the place, I don't have a lot on my plate or much in my calendar; I can take life little by little and slowly build up and reshape my life as I please. No need to take on more than I can handle.

Anxiety. Adrenaline. Attention to detail. April Angeles. That's me!

*・゜゚・*:.。..。.:*・'(*゚▽゚*)'・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*

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