Anxiety: Fight it with Music, with Song, “The Next Right Thing”

Sometimes simply listening to a song over and over can help stave off anxiety, turn your frown upside down, make all the difference.

Give it go, this is a good one for those moments. Just do…

“The Next Right Thing”

(from “Frozen 2” soundtrack)

I’ve seen dark before

But not like this

This is cold

This is empty

This is numb

The life I knew is over

The lights are out

Hello, darkness

I’m ready to succumb

I follow you around

I always have

But you’ve gone to a place I cannot find

This grief has a gravity

It pulls me down

But a tiny voice whispers in my mind

You are lost, hope is gone

But you must go on

And do the next right thing

Can there be a day beyond this night?

I don’t know anymore what is true

I can’t find my direction, I’m all alone

The only star that guided me was you

How to rise from the floor

When it’s not you I’m rising for?

Just do the next right thing

Take a step, step again

It is all that I can to do

The next right thing

I won’t look too far ahead

It’s too much for me to take

But break it down to this next breath

This next step

This next choice is one that I can make

So I’ll walk through this night

Stumbling blindly toward the light

And do the next right thing

And with the dawn, what comes then?

When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again

Then I’ll make the choice

To hear that voice

And do the next right thing

‘Frozen 2’ Songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez

Anxiety: A Continuum

I don’t know what the experts say for sure, but I believe anxiety, like a lot of feelings exist on a continuum.

Maybe all feelings are like this? Probably so.

In this way then, part of coping with anxiety is realizing this common trait exists, and then you can identify some lessons that might be useful.

Anger, Happiness, Frustration, Excitement, Fear, Calm, Anxiety. These are some of the feelings that come to mind; powerful indeed, feelings that can drive us forward, slow us down to “smell the roses”, or stop us cold, frozen in our tracks.

It comes to mind for me that the different feelings, the different emotions have varying affect on us; perhaps it’s more the negative feelings — or those generally thought of as negative — are the ones that stall us out, freeze us…and then the thought follows…

Why do we let the “negative” feelings affect us differently…? Why not just recognize it for what it is, process it, and then move on?

Why indeed…easier said than done. But it’s worth a try, right? It’s worth a try to NOT let the anxiety and the fear and the self-doubt get the better of you. I am filled with those negative feelings at times, seemingly to the very brim, and it’s up to ME to change how I deal with it.

These negative feelings, they are on the continuum with all the other emotions. And if you’re like me, for some reason, we give them more power over us…but we don’t have to.

So let’s try that simple strategy, and master lesson of how to cope with the anxiety and the fear and the doubt: Recognize, Acknowledge, and Go Forward.

GO. FORWARD.

Anxiety: Awash

It starts with the feeling. That’s just it, at its core.

It’s a feeling or series of feelings that can wash over you, immobilize you, cloud your mind to the point that there’s no room for anything else.

“Awash” is the idea, the concept that comes to mind. Something like, you become awash with powerful, sometimes debilitating, suffocating feelings of uncertainty, doubt, panic. If you’ve ever been knocked over or otherwise under an ocean wave in the surf, you can imagine it. You feel, and might very well be, helpless, at least in the moment.

As I shared in the intro post, I’ve felt these feelings since I was seven years old. I haven’t always had the same symptoms and haven’t always described it the same way, but it’s been there under the surface, nearly my whole life.

Big picture, it’s become something I simply have to cope with as part of who I am. The feelings are typically strongest in the early morning, just as I wake up. It feels like uncertainty, and inability to respond to the things that lie ahead.

That’s a big part of it: UNCERTAINTY AND FEELING UNABLE TO RESPOND TO THE TASKS AHEAD.

Looking back, I’d say it centers around that idea, that idea of not feeling like I’m good enough: for the job, the project, the relationship, the whatever it is. And at it’s worst, it’s crushing, like being completely The Object (not The Subject), not in control of my own destiny of the day, the week, the month, the year, the whatever time period you like.

And the flip side?

If and when I’m confident, there is practically no issue at all. I can barrel into the day with the exact opposite: uncertainty becomes certainty; inability to respond becomes certainty that I am able to do so.

It’s just weird. Or maybe it’s not so weird. Maybe it’s just life. My life, anyway.

I’ve gotten better over the last several decades in responding to these feelings; at least, sometimes it seems I’ve gotten better at it.

Prayer helps often times; expressing gratitude, taking responsibility for my faults, my mistakes, praying for others, so many others in far worse circumstance.

And then other times, even prayer and gratitude don’t immediately help much. Instead, I feel like I’m getting churned by wave after wave after way every day. I can’t find “up”; it’s all I can do to take the next step, the next breath, it feels like.

But it’s a continuum too, at least for me. I’ve not gone off the rails completely. Most people who know me might not guess what lies beneath the surface of my smile and humor and desire to help others, boost others…

they might not guess that I’m going through my second divorce (“Am I good enough to stay married?”),

that the learning curve I face at work seems considerable (“I’ve not done this job before, and I think I can do it, and then I’m getting better, getter better, and then, ‘Mistake Mistake Mistake’ — or so it seems”).

And when I write those two big challenges down, and take a few deep breaths,

I pretty well immediately feel more capable of seeing through these difficulties, to a better, brighter, future. It’s sort of like I remember that I CAN swim, in the midst of being rolled by wave after wave after wave…

And I get to the surface again, and I’m able to stabilize, and I take a few deep breaths…and I get to the calmer water, and I gradually make my way forward, again.

Still awash…but I’m able to cope, with a few deep breaths, and a few more, and a few more. Forward.

Anxiety: A Personal Intro

I’ve been dealing with it all my life; for a long time I called it “worry” – more recently I’ve come to define it as anxiety. It’s pretty well been my constant companion since I was seven years old.

So, why share some thoughts here now? Why not simply journal, or talk to a therapist? Those are both good paths for sure.

For me, sharing publicly accomplishes one, critical, added goal: it lets others dealing with anxiety know they are not alone. If this sharing of my path and perspective helps even one person only, as Hamilton says, “…it will have been worth it.”

So this week, a few thoughts and insights about anxiety. They’ll be brief, snippets; hopefully they’ll be helpful too.

Let’s GO.

Lyrics Post: “Back to the Bay” by Daveed Diggs

Pretty well can’t say enough good things about this dude, Daveed Diggs. Beyond his beats, his words, his Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson…I just pretty well love everything I’ve learned about him.

He inspires, plain and simple.

And he’s a WARRIORS fan from Oakland, California. All the better, dig it, dig Diggs, Back to the Bay…

[Intro]
Nestled in an enclave in Cali
Where demonstrations and rallies
Have a long history of making waves and tastes
Shaping language and style substantially
Standing for the best in the wake of the worst tides
We’ve seen in a long time

From a long line of lyricists, linguists, and yes, panthers
Not to mention regular people so inundated with game
That the slang rivaling Shakespeare seems common
As it should
Here where Gertrude Stein claimed there was no there
Has grown a scene which has newcomers clamoring to understand
And get a piece

And they holler at fever pitch
And confidently riding the crest of this epic sound wave is a team that in true Bay fashion redefined the rules of the game
And then made the new ruler undeniable
And as a new season begins we prepare to bring it back
Bring it back, back, back, back

[Chorus]
Back to the Bay
Finna bring another one back to the Bay
Show the whole game how to act in the Bay
Squad stacked in the Bay
You can hate but you can’t ignore the facts in the Bay

[Verse]
Look the earth we stand on is Klay
And the turf we claim is carefully placed
On a strong foundation, a nation
And watch us paving away in amazement
And the sweat breaks out with a smile and a head shake

You can taste the spice
Chef Curry, cooking up look at em shook as they know their ankles may break
And they could rant all day
Got Durant comin’ over to play
But real talk? Who wouldn’t want to live in the Bay

Best place in the Golden State
Face the music, hyphie
But never lost the blues and the polka
The gospel of Matt Barnes
Yeah, we still believin’
Stand tall, stay centered
That JaVale McGee

But they key thing, no matter what their eyes seen
They can’t see us, we dream in Draymond Green
Cooler than Pachulia’s stare, we gets busy
But stay calm and drop bombs like Iggy
We way too Jiggy, we way too focused

You know this, from the O to the So’ to the Valley Jo’ to San Jo’, this
Isn’t metaphorical around here the town and the crowd gets
Call it Roaracle how loud is the town business
Loud enough to shut ’em down
Loud enough you feel it every time we come around
Loud enough to shake the ground and still keep ’em flocking to Oakland
Keep talkin’ while we win another trophy

[Chorus]
Back to the Bay
Finna bring another one back to the Bay
Show the whole game how to act in the Bay
Squad stacked in the Bay
You can hate but you can’t ignore the facts in the Bay

And if you want to hear it? HERE.

Just Live

Sometimes so hard, just live, just live.

Chores and tasks and obligations and duties and demands,

All demand your time, your attention, your Right Now!, moments, hours, days,

It feels so anyway, feels anyway, all the more to me,

To my mind, mixed up in it all, mixed up by it all, all mixed up in a big pile of now creates,

Anxiety, sometimes inertia, sure you should be ready and able to cope, maybe you are, maybe you do,

But to you maybe it feels like you don’t so well sometimes.

And so taking the time ever so often, take the time ever so often to just live, for you, for the kids, with the kids,

For honey, with your honey, honey or kids or not, take the time, make the time to,

Just Live.

Let the pressure and demands and the obligations and the pulls on your time pause, take pause to just live, so important, life and death important,

Just Live.

Ritual

It’s a ritual, a ritual, turns out it’s habitual,

One of the pups, she shows up, most every day, rubs away, early morn, as if to say,

We’re here, don’t forget, is it breakfast time yet?

Slow start, from the heart, feels good, this little rub along my side, can’t decide why, just gonna remind, gotta remind, almost time again today,

The ritual, what’s your habitual? For me? Hard to miss, goes like this,

Let it shine bright bright today, fun to do, to say, start the day, again today, HOORAY~