Recently I felt anxious, not for any particular reason but for its own sake. Alzheimer’s anxiety? This is not the first time I have experienced it but let me explain what I mean.
Back in the 70’s there was a slapstick program called ‘Some Mother’s do Ave em’ (1973 – 1978) about a character called Frank Spencer, his young wife Betty and their baby. Frank Spencer was played by Michael Crawford, his wife Michele Dotrice. The character of Frank was accident prone and was constantly destroying things, his tolerant wife would just sigh and say ‘Oh Frank” in a wistful way. He appeared so clumsy but was so innocent as he managed to get himself into another scrape whilst looking for a job. I identified with him, being a ‘clumsy’ child myself (through dyspraxia) but instead of gaining sympathy in my clear lack of bodily coordination I would get a verbal and physical chastisement. Yes, this explains why slapstick comedy makes me anxious but does not match my experience of anxiety with some everyday things and events.
These bouts of anxiety comes and goes, but when it comes it affects me totally. I wake in the morning with my head pounding, the muscles in my face taut and tense, pain completely engulfing one side of my head and face, the right side. I am in so much pain I feel sick; migraine maybe, but not every single day, so no. I try to relax my face easing the pain in my muscles being screwed tight. Of course I have asked the doctors over the past few years why I get this pain in my head, it’s not normal is it, but so far no one has ever tried to find out why. I think this is because I seem to have other things not quite right and so they focus on those first and never get round to sorting out the pain in my head. At this point noise; sounds outside, inside, talking, bangings etc all make me feel more anxious and make me want block my ears.
I digress, because this is about being anxious. Lately as I say, there are certain TV commercials that make me feel very anxious watching them. At present there is a commercial on television about an energy company, showing an orang-utan walking through streets of people, looking through shop and office windows, at light bulbs and people being together. There is a blank expression on this orang-utans face: absolutely nothing. What do I see when I watch this commercial? I see the pain of an ape being alone in a strange place, his environment destroyed to provide something shallow and artificial for humans. There are no other apes around, there are no trees just streets, buildings and lots of artificial light, he is lost and there is nothing left for him. The last shot is of him is swinging on a street lamp, then it cuts to the name of the Energy company. All the while I am watching this I feel anxiety building as I see all hope slipping away for the animal. It builds so that it makes me want to roar in pain. This is not the only commercial to affect me so physically and all are seemingly innocuous.
People without patience getting visibly frustrated also makes me anxious, it doesn’t matter if they are throwing things about in irritation, verbally expressing their frustration, impatience on the road driving, or waiting their turn in a queue and it doesn’t matter who it is. My anxiety builds silently until I want to shout for it to stop, stop, stop! At these times I need calm and silence, so I silently withdraw into myself like a Buddhist monk in meditation.
Seemingly small things make me anxious and just know some inward silence, blocking out the world helps.
This all sounds quite dramatic but in reality these thoughts are well worn and fleeting as I activate my strategies to focus on something else and writing helps, even if it is about being anxious. I try to get rid of all anxiety as soon as possible and peace resumes inside my head.
And breathe…..and relax…….