Hi, Anxiety! Welcome to 2017!

I had such big plans.

I had bought myself a brand new pink Passion Planner for the new year. I had made a to-do list for January 1. We were going to take down the Christmas decorations and clean the house and kick off the new year on the right foot.

We went over to our friends’ house on New Year’s Eve. Wine was consumed, but I woke up feeling fine. I probably should’ve had more water, though.

I went to church, where I was cantor. During one song, I started to feel woozy. The sun was shining right at me, and it was hot. I sat down afterwards and felt better. Then during the second communion song, “Ave Maria,” the thought occurred to me–what if I pass out? The wooziness came back. Was it actual wooziness or had my brain brought it on itself? I couldn’t tell.

So I stopped in the middle of the song and sat down. I figured enduring the embarrassment was better than the alternative–me fainting right there on the cold marble floor.

I drank some water at home and ate a banana (maybe my potassium was low?) I managed to get most of my to-do list taken care of. I felt good for the rest of the day.

But then my stress stomach ache was back–was I giving myself an ulcer? Probably. Or was it something else? Something worse? Will I feel better if I just get back on my schedule and start exercising again? That worked last time. I should probably do that, but what if I pass out while working out? What if I pass out while driving to the gym? What if I pass out while driving somewhere with the kids?

And the thoughts don’t stop there. They lead to my dog and publicity I need to do for my book and, holy shit, what’s going to happen to this country in a few weeks, and damn it I’m really trying to watch what I eat but all these thoughts are in my head and about a hundred truffles are RIGHT THERE.

I heard someone say a few weeks ago (I don’t remember who it was or where I heard it) that if you worry, when something bad happens you have to live through it twice. Well, that person can eat a butt. That kind of thinking is all well and good when you don’t have an overactive imagination reaching every possible horrible conclusion before it happens. I try not to do that, and most of the time I manage to keep it together, but sometimes–usually at the exact moment when I’m pretty sure I have it all together–the anxiety sits on my shoulder and starts whispering.

“Things have been going too well.”

“Is that a pain in your abdomen? It’s probably appendicitis. Or a tumor. Or maybe it is that ulcer. You’re going to spew blood all over the dinner table one day, just like Lord Grantham.”

“The vet is going to yell at you for not brushing your dog’s teeth.”

“The leaky tire will probably go flat on the expressway and you’ll get into a huge accident.”

Usually these thoughts occur at night, and resolve themselves in the light of day, but sometimes they carry over. I’ve found it best to face these things head-on and, yes, work them out of my head with a bit of physical exercise.

“Things have been going well, but that’s okay. If they start not going well, we’ll deal with it. You are Walter from The Big Lebowski. You stress over all the little stuff, but you’re good in a crisis.”

“Call the doctor and make an appointment. That’s a surefire way to make the pain go away if it’s nothing.”

“So what about the teeth? You’ve managed to keep the dog alive and relatively healthy for 13 years. That’s not nothing.”

“If the tire light goes on, you’ll still have plenty of time to get off the road and fill it.”

Hey, sometimes just writing about it helps. 🙂

And I took a few days for self care. I worked out, cried it out, talked about it with my mom who asked if I’d been taking my Vitamin D–I hadn’t been. I did that, I feel better, the kids are going back to school, and it’s time to get back to normal. I’ll brace myself for the next wave of anxiety the next time it shows up when I least expect it.


I wrote a book! It’s YA novel, THE SOUND OF US. You can find the details right here! Kirkus calls it “a winning story about a teenage voice student that hits all the right notes.”

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