Anxiety can cause a terror that is hard to shake. We need a Shockabuku!
Do you ever get so bogged down in anxiety and negative thoughts that everyday tasks scare the poop out of you? Then, do you feel guilt from feeling scared or stressed? Then, when you finally decide to surrender and slow down, you feel even more guilt for having to surrender and slow down? Welcome to my past six weeks.
Ever since the holidays, I have not been able to gain any traction in my work. Like one of those dreams when I’m trying to running but I can’t seem to build up any speed at all. At least I can say that it’s not for no reason. The past five months have been intense, and until about two weeks ago, I had not been feeling so great.
Then I received a Shockabuku. My Hubbie and I were supposed to go off for a few days of surfing when both kiddos got sick. Seemed about right to me. There have been more monkey wrenches than I can count thrown into the mix over the past five months or so. Life has been, well, challenging.
With both kids sick, I knew I wasn’t going surfing, but then, my amazing and kind Hubbie offered to stay with the sickos, and told me to head to the beach. Truth be told, I may have run out the house faster than I intended to, without looking back, but damn, I couldn’t wait for the break.
I had been feeling so frayed, like an electrical wire that sparks from the wind blowing.
I had been feeling so frayed, like an electrical wire that sparks from the wind blowing. I was jumpy, sensitive, sad, and as I said to my Hubbie, it seemed to me like I was being tested. I mean, the shit just kept coming. I felt pretty defeated.
When I showed up to the beach, my favorite place in the world, the place where I find joy, solace, confidence, and peace, I was fucking terrified. I took one look at the waves and nearly peed my pants. I literally began to tremble. This is my happy place! What the hell is happening?!
I thought about fleeing into the redwoods for a hike. Seemed a safer bet. But then, I unstrapped my board, waxed her up, and began the arduous process of getting a 5mm wet suit on. When I walked in the water, I really did pee my pants.
I realized that my anxiety had gotten to the point where everything in life was scary.
When the waves began to lap at my legs, I felt a wave of anger come over me. Why was I so scared? It wasn’t a big day out there. The weather was friendly. The wind had not kicked up yet. I saw some friends in the lineup. What the actual fuck?
I realized that my anxiety had gotten to the point where everything in life was scary. Not just scary, terrifying. Where everything I did and every choice I made seemed to be like the most important decisions known to mankind. Do or die. Make or break. There was no in between.
I paddled out. I was extremely tenuous for the first hour or so. Then I began to catch waves. Oh yeah…I know how to do this…and I actually LOVE doing this…this is awesome!
I ended up staying for four days. I surfed in the cold water. I went for beach walks and redwood hikes. I went to bed early and got up with the sun. My best girlfriend came and met me for 24 hours and we surfed, and talked, and enjoyed each other’s company.
Life wasn’t terrible. Sure, I may be going through some challenges right now, but it’s not all dread, doom, and gloom, and it CAN improve, actually. How? By taking care of myself.
I received a Shockabuku.
So, if you’re a movie lover, you may recall in Grosse Pointe Blank, when Minnie Driver tells John Cusak that he may be in need of a Shockabuku. She then defines that as, “A swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.” I have always loved this term. It is not real. It was a line written for the movie. However, I was totally pleased when I found it in the Urban Dictionary, which is where the above definition was taken from. (The background is my happy spot.)
Getting into the ocean that day, terror running through my veins, walking deeper and deeper into 48-degree water, having to duck waves, wipe out a few times, and also find some liberating rides in it all… I feel like the ocean was delivering me its own Shockabuku.
Mother Ocean done did slap me around for a few hours and showed me, once again, that the world is much bigger than me and my problems, and that I am a strong, capable being that can find those amazing rides within the chaos. My perspective shifted. I felt lighter. I felt the cloak of darkness lift from my shoulders. For the first time in weeks, I felt like a badass (or at least a semi-badass) again.
Anxiety seems to come with a side of blindness.
It’s been a week and a half since I was out there. I can’t say that some of the terror hasn’t returned (I’m prone to anxiety…that’s what it does), but I am not ok sitting in it anymore. My Skockabuku was telling me that I can’t. That when I focus too much on taking care of everyone around me, I get lost in the mix. That when I plow through work like normal, in the midst of deep, and lasting changes occurring within my family, I will suffer.
Why do I forget? I’m not sure. Anxiety seems to come with a side of blindness. It’s hard to focus on anything besides the terror. It’s like a broken fight or flight instinct. I’m extremely grateful for the clarity that this Shockabuku has delivered. I hope it lasts.
Can you recall your last Shockabuku? In the comments below, please share with me your most recent swift, spiritual kick to head, that altered your reality forever...or at least for a good while.
I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes. To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.