When my anxiety is really intense I often find myself suffering from anxious silence.
Anxious silence is when there is no sound and my anxious brain goes on overdrive. I can hear all of my thoughts, my anxious thoughts, running through my head, over and over again.
So I drown out the sound of my thoughts. I compulsively listen to audiobooks, or I have ASMR videos playing in the background while I work. There’s always some sound for my brain to focus on. Music or episodes of the Office I’ve seen a hundred times.
I suppose it’s an avoidance technique so I don’t deal with what’s really bothering me.
I have generalized anxiety disorder but most of the time it’s managed. It stops being managed when I let other aspects of my life get out of control.
Like having poor boundaries and letting people walk all over me. Or not making any time for rest because I’m frantically trying to get a million things done. It’s something I’m working on.
Today I had a wonderful day. I went to the park on a date with myself. I packed a lunch and sat under a very shaded picnic table. It was wonderful. Hours sitting there reading with no sounds other than the few people who were walking dogs and the sound of the birds. It was heavenly to sit there with my romance novel and fill the empty, silent, park with the sounds of my giggles.
At one point this man and his two little kids, they were probably three and five, walked past and the little girl became very interested in my big bag of blue cotton candy. I asked their Dad if I could share and he said it was okay, I don’t think he had a choice because both of them looked like they were going to attack me for it. It made my day.
What I needed was connection.
As I was walking home (without the company of music or an audiobook) I ran into this woman who was walking to work and we chatted for a few minutes. She was just lovely company. It made me happy that I hadn’t been lost in the sound of my music. The rest of my walk was filled with happy, pleasant, thoughts, and the silence wasn’t so bad.
If today is any indication this is going to be a good month. I challenge everyone to spend this month getting re-acquainted with yourself. Spend time in silence. Connect with yourself.