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Kia Ora (hello). This is my first post, and being of a slightly pessimistic persuasion I can’t really believe that it’s going to work. But – I shall throw caution to the wind and give it a go.

As you can tell from the title I live in New Zealand, and even though it’s a country renowned for it’s green image, and relaxed way of life, believe me there are still plenty of opportunities to worry! I think my first experience with anxiety was when I was 8 and panicking that my mother would not come back from shopping. She did, but some germ of an idea had entered my head – bad things can happen.

I didn’t really experience anxiety again until I met my husband, he traveled a lot – and yes, I worried endlessly that he would have an accident, find someone else, or disappear off the face of the earth! Once the children came along I was in full flight. There were endless opportunities to really obsess then, and this combined with a period of intense stress and voila – full blown depression and anxiety in one very foul swoop. For me there is a huge connection between love/loss and control. To love is to let go and to trust – anxiety is not a good bedfellow!

I am now older and sometimes wiser. For me, dealing with anxiety is about letting go and believing that whatever happens, I will cope. This is my mantra, “I will cope”. I have discovered that anxiety for me is about the fear of not coping, and living well is about being able to love fully, while living with the fear of loss. Much of my anxiety revolves around health (I found the blog on self diagnosis to be particularly pertinent!), and no doubt you will hear more from me on this matter.

I’m looking forward to being part of We Worry, I hope that what I have to say will resonate with some of you. There is something rather nice about being part of a bigger group of people endeavoring to live to the best of their ability, even with life being so uncertain and surprising.

E noho ra

The post’s title pretty much says it all. You can now reach We Worry: A Blog for the Anxious from weworry.com. Enjoy.

I’ve just added this blog to We Worry’s blogroll and it’s worth a look.

Like Cindy mentioned, I’ve also been quite busy lately, and this has impeded my ability to post as often as I’d like. But I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t also been lazy. I blame it on the weather (probably just a scapegoat, but we all need them, right?).

I live outside the Washington D.C. area, and it’s been bitter cold here the past week or so. The weather is really irrelevant, but I’m a human and we humans aren’t designed for cold weather… at least not physically. We’re intelligent enough to create clever ways of surviving the cold (clothes and fire being two of the most notable), but our skin is largely bare. We’re generally tall, slender, and have few natural adaptations to severe cold weather. We’re designed for warm climates, the tropics and subtropics. Imagine: remove your clothes and forget about fire. Where could you survive? Not D.C., unless you’re nomadic. If you think about it, all of life revolves around heat. Heat is just energy, and you need energy to keep your organs functioning. Without heat, you die. Simple as that.

It was 8 degrees the other morning. With the wind-chill, it felt like -7. That’s unnatural. Unnatural.

As a result, I hereby reserve the right to be lazy. I’ve often considered moving to Florida, but I’d likely be trading one problem for another. Instead of bitter cold I’d be dealing with hurricanes, floods, tornados, and big ass bugs. I’m not arachnophobic, but no spider should be bigger than my hand (I’m talking to you Florida Huntsman Spider). That too is unnatural.

Anyway, I’ve been ripe with ideas about some things I’d like to share with you. So as soon the temperatures creep back above freezing, maybe my brain will thaw and I’ll get back to regular posting. Until then… stay warm.

I’ve been away from the blog for a while and my absence was no mistake. I put in for a bunch of leave at work, shut down my computer at home (well… mostly), and decided to take a breather. Unfortunately, anxiety has a way of attacking just as you’ve kicked your feet back for a moment’s rest. It’s almost as if not worrying is a cause for worry.

So, most of my holiday break was spent dealing with a chronic nagging anxiety that annoyed me in the same way that a yellow-jacket does when you’re outdoors in the summer with a refreshing can of Coke or a glass of iced tea. Every time you go to take a sip, you have to look closely at your drink to ensure that you aren’t going to swallow anything… painful.

Trying to relax is about as useful as trying not to panic. Relaxation — in the “vacation” sense, that is — isn’t something you can actively seek. The very act of seeking destroys the sense of relaxation. Instead, relaxation is (at least for me) best described as letting go. When I aim to relax, I aim to let go of everything… temporarily. I think of it like carrying a heavy burden. If you carrying a boulder, you can’t relax without first dropping it. If you’re smart, you’ll put it down for a few minutes, catch your breath, then pick it up again to continue forward.

It was in this spirit that I spent my vacation. I dropped the boulder, plopped my ass on it, and poured myself a glass of iced tea. I then spent the next few days swatting at the yellow-jacket. In other words, the moment I stopped carrying the boulder was the moment I began worrying about how I would pick it up again. Instead of enjoying the freedom of being without my burden, I gave myself something else to worry about. I traded one boulder for another.

But this vacation was not without its successes. I spent a lot of time with my wife, my family, and my friends. Most importantly, I didn’t try to fight anxiety or any other battles. Sometimes the battles make their way to your doorstep, but this doesn’t mean you must always engage them.

The next time a yellow-jacket goes after your Coke, try setting out a small glass just for him and his friends. Of course, be sure to put it a few feet from you. This is a much smarter solution than allowing them to annoy you while you try to relax.

We worry.

"Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it." -- Mark Twain

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