running on anxious

The past few weeks I've been feeling unsettled. I'm sure that I could point to about a million explanations for my heightened anxiety and not sleeping. Some are logical, understandable even. The world is an unstable place right now, the economy, jobs are at stake, etc. So, it makes sense to feel a bit unsettled too. Okay, I get that. But the past few nights I've woken up from dreams, or nightmares and felt completely panicked: heart racing, tingling, etc. Some nights, the cat wakes me up and I'll realize I've been sleeping in a totally weird and awkward position, and my nerves feel kind of pinched. The way I work and read these days is a lot like a hunchback and there are ways I sit all day that hurt my neck and make it difficult to sleep later.

So all of these things make sense. But in the moment, it's hard for me to accept that I'm okay, even though I know I'm probably just panicking. I talk a lot to my students about trusting themselves, trusting what they have to say and yet there are so many ways that I don't know how to do that for myself. It's like I'm split into these different parts that war with one another: one part that feels confident and generally optimistic about my world and other parts that just cycle through a series of worst case scenarios. The tensions between these thoughts create a schizophrenia of weirdness that sometimes explodes outside of me. And when I can't turn off, I just stew in my own insanity.

I was talking to a student today who's going through a particularly rough time and she said, "I want to believe it's going to be okay. I just don't know if I have it in me to be so cheery."

I thought, "I know just what you mean." And then later I ran into one of my favorite people who mentioned that she'd been having really odd dreams lately, too. We talked a lot about the general state of anxiety facing us, and our students and I felt completely justified in feeling a bit overwhelmed. So, I don't know what happened between that moment at 12:30 a.m. when the cat woke me up by rustling paper around and I began to feel...uneasy.

Of course, it could also be that I've been eating too many spicy foods before bed and not drinking enough water and that I still have a half stack of essays to grade before class.