That's Good Enough For Today: Anxiety

IMG_1589Sometimes the anxiety comes and seizes me and I feel so small against it.

Something little will trigger it, a worry about the future, a regret of the past, a disappointment in the present – and out of nowhere I’m having to practice Lamaze breathing in the middle of Starbucks.

Once it descends, I can’t seem to shake it. I practice positive self-talk, exercise, smiling, talking through it, prayer, aromatherapy, and warm baths, all which offer varying degrees of relief. But the dull physical sensation doesn’t go away, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days.

Some of you will know what I am talking about, and some of you will not. I studied psychology many years ago. The terms acute stress episode and panic attack and chronic anxiety disorder are familiar to me. I’ve given myself these diagnoses before. Sometimes I look up local therapists. I’ll call one someday. For now, I study their smiling headshots and bookmark their websites and I think

that’s good enough for today. 

Recently, the anxiety came down on a Friday and decided to linger all weekend. It wasn’t debilitating but it vaguely permeated everything I did.  So finally, on Sunday afternoon, I did what I do when I don’t know what else to do. I went to the ocean.

The crisp scent of a eucalyptus grove on the Pacific takes me back the days before all of this. The freedom of an open horizon, the crashing waves, wild but faithful. I’m eight years old again, camping on the coast with my family. I’m passing out hand drawn advertisements to neighboring campers for the play my brother and cousins were planning on giving at the campground amphitheater. Eucalyptus seeds are crunching under my bare feet as I scurry from campsite to campsite.

The smells and sounds and textures take me back and I remember who I was before anxiety, before big questions, before I fell into – and then later, fell away – from a consuming faith. I watched my toddler run into the cold water, gleeful to be alive. I held her back from diving in, because that’s what mothers do, but inwardly I admired her ferocity. For the first time in two days, I felt peace.

I know the anxiety isn’t gone for good. But it did lift that afternoon, and that was good enough.

I haven’t talked about the anxiety much on this space, but those of you who read consistently have probably already found it in the white space of what I have written. I may unpack this more with you later. But

that’s good enough for today.

What do you do when you don’t know what else to do?



  1. Julie Canudo on June 26, 2014 at 8:25 am

    This must be hard to share, so thank you for sharing! As a major introvert, though I haven’t had a panic attack, I do feel anxiety, but mostly in social situations. Larger gatherings tend to be overwhelming to me at times (not that you can’t be an introvert w/out experiencing any of that..haha) My favorite place for my mind to rest is the beach. We try to go as a family at least twice a month and the drive up 152 is simply gorgeous too. Hoping we can connect sometime soon, as we won’t be able to make library time today. 🙂

    • Carly Gelsinger on June 29, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      I am an introvert too, and let me say that library story time wipes me out! 🙂
      The drive to the beach alone helps me let go of anxiety. We really do need to connect!

  2. Donia Monetha on June 27, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I have struggled with anxiety my whole life, but I have been freed from a lot of it this past year. It was at it’s worst when I was younger . Seeing my therapist has helped a lot and practicing meditation has been really good for my mind. If you have any questions message me , I’d love to talk with you ~

    • Carly Gelsinger on June 29, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Thanks Donia, I think I’ll take you up on that. I looked up therapists, don’t I get a gold star for that?

Leave a Comment