This has been a week of lots of feelings. Reunions with old friends, finishing up finals, navigating frustrating bureaucracies, making plans, holiday and Urbana anticipation, presents, addressing failures, watching AYOQ (which has reunited for a week!), meeting new people, combating laziness. It's been dripping with feeling. I started sobbing yesterday because I climbed up too high on a ladder and couldn't get down. Clearly I was super stable. (Pun mercilessly intended. ;P)
But through the broad variety of wonderful and horrible things I've been feeling, the most dominant emotion is probably anxiety. And the worst thing about anxiety is that it is irrational but all-consuming. It's knowing that you're crazy, but you can't stop the craziness taking up residence inside you and yanking on all the strings. Maybe it's because I was a worry wart as a child. My mom used to joke I was going to give myself an ulcer over my profound fear of arriving places too early or too late. I know now that worrying is bad for me, so I try to avoid it.
Still, I'm so overwhelmed by all these feelings I feel! I want to bury myself in mindless digital media, and then sleep until I've out-slept all the opportunities and all the consequences. It helps clear out the confusion, and it's really the confusion that makes me anxious and overwhelmed. And it's tricky because this is a layered, contorted confusion that is both holistic and self-referential. I don't know anything. I don't know what to do about anything.
But I find this is what I do every time I'm overwhelmed. And when I'm anxious. And when I have so many feelings churning around inside me that I can't respond to or process. I retreat, I avoid. When I don't know what to do with the sheer volume and profundity of my feelings I find that the only thing I can muster to do is bury inside of myself.*
I sense intuitively that this response is very unhealthy. (Also, see peer-reviewed research on the efficacy of avoidance as a defense mechanism. Overwhelming.)
So if I can't beat the confusion with avoidance, then I'll reach for clarity some other way. It's time for me to make a list of the things I know.
I know I love people, and people love me.
(And that when I feel most like tunneling inward, it is imperative that I reach outward.)
I know I like this CD.
I know my family will have a happy Christmas.
I know that Urbana is coming whether I'm ready or not, and that will be fine.
I know that the summer and beyond is a question mark, and that will also be fine.
I know that all will be well. ("You can ask me how, but only time will tell.")
I know that He is closer than my own heartbeat, that He will never leave me, that He is faithfully rooting up the ugliness in my heart and that He is leading me in the way everlasting.
*Or blog. Sometimes I blog. There's some masochistic relief in vomiting my anxiety onto the internet.