Anxiety? Or Desire?

I wrote this last fall during Jennifer Louden’s amazing Life Organizing Class. The tribe that took the class with me should recognize them. For the tribe I’ve yet to meet, I hope they help you.


I haven’t felt desire much this week. Or so I thought. I want to feel it. I go into my room hoping to feel it and up feeling overwhelmed instead and retreat to my bed with shadow comfort games. That’s where I was 15 minutes ago, sprawled on my husband’s side with my pillows on top of his when I felt the stirrings of anxiety. I listened to my body and asked myself what the trigger is. I didn’t have an answer because I wasn’t thinking triggering thoughts or doing triggering actions. In that moment, I was in a trigger free zone. Is this another facet to my illness? Do I need to do some work and discover more symptoms, triggers, coping skills? Am I getting worse?
I listened some more. I turned off the game and sat there with the anxiety beginning to tingle in my veins. I didn’t need to remind myself that I was safe and that nothing could eat me because right now, I believed it wholly. I didn’t feel the danger that usually accompanies these tingles, just the tingles getting my blood moving.

I let my thoughts wander some. By this point, my husband came in and kissed me good bye. He and out daughter Abby are off adventuring this afternoon, selecting pies for our Thanksgiving Feast and restocking their Mountain Dew supplies among other things. I got up and walked around my empty house, alone with this tingling. And my thoughts continued to wander as I looked at the parts of my house that need some attention or looked at the ingredients I will be using to make tonight’s meatloaf dinner. And I heard Lora’s voice exhorting the closet writers among us to write and I began to question.

What if this tingle I’m feeling isn’t anxiety? What if it is desire? How often do I feel desire and mistake it for anxiety because the initial sensations are the same? Am I finally understanding how to dance with anxiety? Is this what “If you are to create, you must invite anxiety in. But then you must manage it.” means? (Jen, I know those are your words, but I cannot find what book I’ve memorized them from).

I’ve noticed as I spun these words, the feeling morphed from an almost pins and needles tingling to alternating between feeling hungry and sated. Excitement races through me the same way panic does. Have I been too consumed by the fear of panic and anxiety that I have ignored the call of desire and creativity?

I need to listen some more. Something woke up inside me today. I’m not sure what it is, but I appreciate it’s arrival. I’ve taken small steps towards creativity and peace today as a result. Nothing extravagant, just large enough to be a reminder that if I move, bad things will not happen and the good things are worth it.

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