In times of crisis, I have discovered that my anxiety can actually be quite helpful.
Today my heart is bursting at the seams with love. In a time of crisis, I have witnessed my community come together in an incredible way. As one who has always been a bit wary of “the kindness of strangers”, I have met people as recently as this morning who have shown me such an amazing outpouring of generosity and kindness, that I was holding back tears while walking to my car.
Ok, maybe I'm not holding them back anymore. It’s been a week of keeping it all together, and yesterday, I finally broke down, releasing all of my emotions surrounding a very sensitive situation. Now, the flood gates are opening and the smallest kindness is enough to make me straight up ugly cry.
I usually like to talk about my anxiety and the situations that exacerbate it as specifically as possible. I don’t have that luxury in this particular situation, due to other people being involved, but I will say that I have learned some important things about my community and about my anxiety, especially when applied to times of crisis.
In a time where “community” has become difficult to cultivate, this past week I learned that I have one that will stand up and be there for each other, no matter how difficult the situation.
Community wise, the short of it is that in a time where “community” has become difficult to cultivate, this past week I learned that I have one that will stand up and be there for each other, no matter how difficult the situation. We have all come together in a rare and powerful way and I am grateful beyond words to know that exists. It has been witnessed and commented on by many and I am blown away by the help that we have given to each other. OMG what a blessing.
Anxiety wise, I have a few observations. One is that my anxiety can help me be a strong mother fucker when I need to be. I spend much of my time thinking about how to deal with what I assume to be weakness when it comes to living with anxiety.
Anxiety often tells me that I don’t do enough and I don’t do good enough.
Anxiety often tells me that I don’t do enough and I don’t do good enough. In turn, I am extremely detail oriented and so paranoid about doing right by myself and others, that I will work myself to the bone to make sure that I am giving one million percent of myself, at all times. It’s an excellent way to burn out, and something that I have become aware of overtime, and that I am careful to check myself on when practicing self-care.
This month, I’ve been discussing how my series of paintings, Reclaimed Hearts, and sub series, A Lovely Mess, address finding the light in the darkest of situations. This mindset is allowing me to find a benefit within this particular anxiety symptom: I am a rock star in a crisis.
Over the past week, I have held myself, and others, together. I have organized a tremendous amount of information, moved my office, and re-organized my home. I have implemented a way of streamlining all of the new moving parts within my household. I have still managed to grocery shop, cook for my family, keep up with my business, and most importantly, I have made time to practice self-care during it all.
I have stayed calm and collected during all of this. Yesterday, I finally cried, but it was a good cry. It was a “oh everything is going to be ok” cry.
I recalled when my best friend had her first baby, extremely prematurely. She had to go to the NICU every day for weeks to care for her little one. She put one foot in front of the other and got what needed to get done, done. When she finally got her daughter home, she called me and said, “Well…that was REALLY hard,” and finally was able to exhale.
That’s where I feel I am today. Exhaling. Hard.
Today, I am thankful for my anxiety.
Today, I am thankful for my anxiety. I am thankful that the sometimes-manic perfectionism helped me stay organized so I could walk clearly through the unbelievable chaos. I am grateful that, for every negative thought I have about myself and my anxiety, that I am able to see how those same characteristics make me solid in times of crisis, when others are having trouble seeing the road ahead.
And I am crying right at this very moment thinking about my community. I know now that I am not and will never be 100% alone. There will always be others looking out for me and my family. That we are a village who will sacrifice and make what needs to happen, happen, despite inconveniences and situations that are beyond our control. We came together. We are creating order within the chaos. And we are doing that because we have love in our hearts for each other.
My to do list over the past week has not yet stopped growing, unfortunately, and I still have art to make for the holidays. Life doesn’t stop for crisis, but I am part of a team of people who are all propping each other up until the storm passes, and the seas are calm again. We have each other’s backs, and that is a light brightly outshining the darkness. The darkness is no match for the outpouring of love that I have witnessed, and for that, oh man, I am thankful. Onward.
In the comments below, I’d love to know one thing that is helpful for you, in the midst of a crisis. Much love and peace to you.
The painting at top is from my Reclaimed Hearts, series and is titled, Night Rainbow, (24x24, Acrylic & Paper on Canvas, $1200). This is a nod to one of my favorite children's books by Cooper Edens called, If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow. Edens also suggests, "If there is no happy ending, make one out of cookie dough." This week, I am grateful for the Night Rainbow that is my community.
To learn more about Reclaimed Hearts, and to get on the waitlist and receive a discount code for the November original art sale, CLICK HERE.
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.