Over the last week or so, I’ve been feeling my anxiety building. I don’t have a good reason, or at least nothing out of the ordinary. Work is stressful and frustrating: I work with people, so that’s kind of a given. The next step in life is a giant question mark: the same as it’s been for the last three years since I started my current job. Suffice to say, nothing new has happened. There has been no triggering incident. And yet, up goes my anxiety level. 

It makes me feel like a failure. The sheer feeling that has settled in my stomach and throat at this very moment make me feel like I am less than. Less than others. Less of a person. Less worthy. For. No. Reason. At. All. This is honestly one of the most frustrating things about anxiety in my experience. I can rationalize and logic my way out of a lot of things, but both of those things have absolutely no place with anxiety. It’s like anxiety is the bouncer to a club and straight kicks logic and rational thought from not only the line, but the country.

This semester has been hard in general, which was not made any better by my decision to go off of my meds right in the middle of training. The last two days have been teetering on the bad side of the seesaw, so one of the things my anxiety-ridden brain has latched onto is anger at not being able to handle this. [“this” being life, apparently, since living and breathing is the only thing happening right now.] Add that into the feeling-like-a-failure mix and I can see that I’m entering a downward spiral that I want absolutely no part of.

This is where I struggle with self-care. Because as much as I can see that the stress of work is contributing, it’s also a savior. When I look at the number of conduct cases that I need to hear (11), it makes my heart beat a little faster and my brain start to panic. But at the same time, those are meetings that are so worth it to me to have and be a part of. I’m on duty this week and as much as it can be a drag to have the duty phone always looming in your periphery (or make me sleep like crap in fear of missing a call), I also feel like I’m in my element with dealing with crises. As a person and a professional, I truly have no idea how to process or rectify this. Heck, as someone who has been down this road before, I don’t know what to do. My response is, and has always been, to retreat. I interact with less people, I share less with those I do keep around. And I suffer because of it. I’m trying not to (hey internet full of people), but old habits die hard…