I think if my parents would have taken me to the doctor more than once every five years as a kid they might have found out I have anxiety. I’ve never had an actual panic attack (I don’t think?) I’ve never been diagnosed per say, but I’ve finally realized after so many years of life that when I say “I have the feeling like a tornado is coming” that might be classified as anxiety.
And that’s how you know I’m from Nebraska, because I mean that phrase very literally. Having grown up in tornado alley, I have always been terrified of them. Each time I would watch the news and see that Madison County was in a “watch” my stomach would drop and my hands would clam up. I would sit out the rest of the night in pure agony awaiting my fate. And if the “watch” should be moved up to a “warning” by the National Weather Service I would grab my loved ones close by (which were my Beanie Babies and Polly Pockets) and haul ass to the basement to start praying. Our Fathers, Hail Marys, I said them all over and over and over.
And that my friends, is only the behavior of a high strung little kid who probably suffers from anxiety. Or as my parents liked to call me, “a very focused little kid.” One in the same, obviously.
*Just to give you an awesome visual this is the exact suitcase I used to keep my most prized processions in. And yes, I was born in 1971.
Fast forward a few years and I still find myself saying from time to time “I just have that feeling like a tornado is coming” and I realized two things. A. I should stop saying it like that because it sounds very hick. And B. it’s probably anxiety. Or C. if it’s during the months April-June and it’s eerily still and green outside it could be both. And in that case GET TO THE BASEMENT!
Lately that tornado has been hanging over my head almost every single day and it comes in the form of the little voice that whispers, “Why aren’t you where you want to be yet? Why haven’t you done what you want to do yet? Why didn’t you start sooner? Time is running out. Hurry hurry hurry.” I’ve lived my entire life in a rush. The last thing I need is a tornado telling me to hurry it up.
It’s exhausting. But the fact of the matter is that I want to do a lot of things. And it seems like every morning I’m reminded that I’m not doing those things yet. Sometimes it feels like I’m on the right track, but other times I’ll look at my myself and wonder what in the hell I’m doing. Why do I even bother with stand-up because who knows where it will end up? Why do I spend ten hours a week at iO and Second City because sometimes I end up leaving those buildings feeling more lost than I did before? Why did I spend six months writing a book that now just sits on my computer because I’m scared too finish it?
And why am I having daily soul searching conversations with my dog?
But questions like these kill. Because they’re rooted in doubt. There will always be the possibility of a tornado lingering in the horizon, but I suppose that’s what keeps me on my toes. So I guess my only option is to keep my loved ones close by and pray for the best outcome.