I woke up on Tuesday morning with terrible anxiety — a feeling I’m not usually prone to. Nervously, I paced the house, looking for something amiss only to find … nothing.
My kids were happily eating breakfast, no crisis had erupted at work, my husband was still sleeping.
Everything was fine, so why couldn’t I shake this feeling that something terrible either had — or was about to — happen?
I’m still feeling it.
Anxiety is a weird feeling: My stomach twists all up in knots and I feel, oddly enough, guilty — like I had wronged someone (although for the life of me, I can’t imagine what it was I did.)
It’s usually associated with stress about money and finances but with the exception of a hefty Girl Scout cookie order, all my bills are (mostly) paid up right now.
So what was it? It was driving me crazy.
To compensate, when this feeling strikes I tend to flip over into what I refer to as “apologetic mode,” which is where I find myself saying “sorry” for things — little things — that totally aren’t my fault.
For instance: At the store recently there was this group of four or five people standing and chatting in the middle of the aisle. They made a half-hearted attempt to make room to let me pass but I didn’t need to get by, I needed the jar of marinara sauce they were blocking on the shelf behind them.
They looked annoyed when I motioned to what I was after and after I retrieved my sauce, I caught myself saying “sorry” as I squeezed through them back to my cart.
Now, why was I sorry? They were the rude ones. Who stands there in a grocery store aisle creating zone-coverage on pasta? Move.
It’s the same when I’m leaving the store and I start waving apologetically to the cars who stop to let me cross, even hastening my step so I don’t hold them up too long.
I’m in a crosswalk, they’re supposed to stop — pedestrians have the right of way. Still, there I am, feeling guilty for inconveniencing them by daring to cross the parking lot on foot.
What is wrong with me?
My husband tells me I’m too sensitive and I need to stop letting things get to me — which I find funny because I don’t consider myself a sensitive person at all.
In fact, in my circle of friends, I’m affectionately known as “the mean one.” (At least, I hope it’s affectionately.)
If someone wants an honest opinion about something, they ask me because I tend not to sugar coat things and instead just tell it like it is. But perhaps bluntness and being sensitive aren’t mutually exclusive. Maybe this is just a case where I can dish it out, but can’t take it.
Maybe I’m completely over-thinking this whole thing …
Where was I? Ah. Yes. Anxiety and over-apologizing.
In the end, I suppose there’s nothing for me to do but to wait for this feeling of dread to pass. As persistent as it is, I have no evidence anything bad has (or is about to) happen so I might as well stop running around like Chicken Little freaking out that the sky is falling.
But sometimes things are so much easier said than done.
Either way, if the world comes to an end this week … I told you so.
(And I’m sorry.)
Kasie Strickland is the managing editor for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion.