I’m going to attend a week of professional development for work and it’s a time when my anxiety can explode like pollen on a spring morning. New situations, strange people.
The last day of school was also a full day of professional development. The day centered on writing, something I adore. But when the focus is long stretches of putting pen to paper in a deathly quiet room, reading aloud, and sharing, my anxiety ramps up. First, rapid breathing and audible swallows. While I hear other people drink from their coffee mugs, open packages of candy, and chomp chips, I don’t even want to take a sip from my water bottle.
My foot taps the ground dramatically to ease my overactive mind. I start to doodle on any available surface to distract myself.
Our instructor asks us to read aloud, to share, to reflect. The quiet builds. Acid builds in my stomach, nausea builds in my throat, and my stomach gurgles. Does it announce my anxiety to everyone in the room?
We talk about immigration, marginalized people, being different, and being devalued. The conversation rings true in so many ways.
The silence mocks me. I use my tools and continue to doodle, tap my foot, and finally get up and walk the halls. When I make it back to the classroom, I survive the last hour of PD. I leave with new tools to teach writing, but I also have new empathy for the high school students struggling through my classes.
A Facebook friend of mine sent me these quotes from people with anxiety and they ring so true: “I can’t turn off my mind.” “This never stops.” “I’m so tired of this.” “I will never be normal.” “No one understands.” “My teacher treats me like a behavioral problem.” “My parents don’t understand.” “I worry so much that I can’t get anything done.” “I studied for hours & when I got my test my mind went completely blank.” “My anxiety tells me that everything awful will definitely happen.”
Check out this article in NEA today about students suffering from anxiety. It’s a serious and growing problem. http://neatoday.org/2018/03/28/the-epidemic-of-student-anxiety/
I’d love to share other experiences people have with anxiety, and you can check out my upcoming novel Twelve Months of Awkward Moments.
Book are available for pre-sale on Amazon.com at goo.gl/4zKLpn
Book are also available for pre-sale on Barnes & Noble at https://goo.gl/UJC2vw
Contact Lisa Acerbo at
Simon & Schuster: http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Lisa-Acerbo/148949388
One thought on “Working at Anxiety”
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