Anxiety, what is it?
We may have a few similar answers, which might be what we have learned about anxiety from a family member, doctor, or T.V. I hear it is stress, nerves, being overwhelmed, or struggling. But what is anxiety?
According to the Oxford dictionary, it is a noun. It is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. It is also a desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease (anxiety or eagerness, longing, yarning). So other words to describe anxiety can be worry, concern, apprehension, consternation, fear, trepidation, foreboding, and tension.
Some may have called it: the jumps, collywobbles, or the shakes.
I look at anxiety like the Oxford dictionary reports: it is also a mental condition characterized by excessive apprehensiveness about real or perceived threats, typically leading to avoidance behaviors and often to physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and muscle tension.
Stress can cause anxiety, panic attacks due to stress, or anxiety can present as a heart attack. When I returned to Missouri from years in Los Angeles, I experienced my first panic attack. It was not as others would have thought, and I did not know that was what was happening. I did go into the hospital and had many tests, including ultrasounds and cardiac catheterization, only to find out I was healthy.
Later about eight years later, I had more tests because of stress, anxiety, and fear. I had a stress test, more testing, and An electrocardiogram — also called ECG or EKG, and ultrasounds, C.T. and MRI, only to find I was fine… so much money was spent to find out I was ok???
Nothing wrong? How can that be? I knew I had a TIA or at least something going on. It was stress, anxiety, and worry. My doctor had said it was my job, and I needed to change careers. I changed something, but it was not my job; it was my doctor. The next doctor said the same thing, my allergist said the same thing, and my son had to agree with the others. I loved my job, so I could not imagine it was that.
When I finally quit my job, I was stress-free and had no more medication for my heart and blood pressure. After I left my position at my last job, I was able to reduce my allergy medicine, and my weight went down. (not a lot) So, was it my job or the anxiety that came with it? Was stress anxiety? Or did the stress of my job become such a problem for me with persistent and excessive worry it became anxiety which affected my health?
It posed an interesting question, and as a therapist specializing in trauma with some CBT (cognitive behavior therapy), I had to take a step back. Was I using my skills, or were my skills not really skills for me?
So, back to what I am anxious about. I am anxious regarding my house. My anxiety may not be what people typically think of when they stress over their home. Mine is related to the sale of my house. Not necessarily the idea of selling or not selling, but the reasons behind selling my house are where the anxiety comes in. Depending on your opinion of your home, this may not seem a big deal or a huge deal. Most people have reasons for selling it, but my explanation may be unusual and challenging to wrap your head around.
My house looks over the schoolyard to the place where someone I loved was murdered. She was like a daughter to me. She was always at home, helped when I was sick, cared for my yard, and checked in when I needed anything. She and I had huge fights and big cries. We were a family and had all the emotions attached to family.
Every time I step on my front porch, I see that house. I know she was killed and put outside for five days. We could not find her for five days, and no one reported the noise that must have happened while he fought and stabbed her. She lay dead for five days in the backyard in a pile of tree trimmings. I think about this every time I step outside in my front yard. The anxiety happens, and I feel my heart hurt; I think of the house and memories of her here and our plans for the backyard.
I tend to stay and stand in the backyard, trying to figure out what to do with it, meaning how to organize or landscape it. However, I hate my front yard. I hate walking out and looking across the school parking lot and playground to the house where her life was taken all too suddenly. The thought of landscaping and making decisions also makes my anxiety sore because I don’t know if I want to stay in this house any longer.
So many people have so many opinions on the decision and this house. But selling my home? What does that look like?
A few years ago (before this tragedy), I would not have thought of selling. Now, all I think about is sell or not sell… and how to live in the house that faces That House.
Both Houses are my most significant anxiety right now.