Bio Moment – Anxiety’s Grip

Today, I won’t be using any links to lead you anywhere. I trust that you’ll allow me to ramble and if you see something you’d like to know more about, you’ll go searching on your own.

Today is special because although I had planned to write about this subject all along, someone (namely, my dad) threw a monkey wrench into the plans.

I’d planned to write about my hands. Why? Because they are the best barometer of where I am on the anxiety-o-meter. I thought about it as I drove into work this morning. I would tell you that I’ve bitten my fingernails for as long as I can remember. I would share about my friend Eileen, who said, after meeting me for the first time at a job interview, “You looked so put-together. And then I saw your fingernails.” She didn’t need to explain further. I understood. I was 30 years old and still bit my nails to bloody stumps. <<< not exaggerated.

Oh, I tried to quit a quatrillion times. Sometimes, I got some help, like the time the friendly orthodontist said to my mom, “Don’t worry. She’ll never be able to bite them with these braces.” Remember, this was back when braces looked like ten miles of metal railroad tracks. Little did they expect my resolve or the strength of my teeth.

The first time I actually grew my fingernails out, I was 35. My hands look downright pretty. Back then, I didn’t realize it was more than a habit. It was anxiety.

But back to my dad…

Say a little prayer, as he’s taken a tumble and one thing led to another and now he’s in surgery. Then my mom got lost, except she wasn’t really lost (just lost to my sister and me, who live on opposite ends of the earth and neither of those ends connect to where our parents live – except by the phone and internet – long live Skype!). Long story short, Dad is in surgery and Mom is safety waiting at the hospital. Thank God!

So in the midst of my reverie about what I’d write about today, I got the news about Dad. And I thought, I can’t write today. And I got to chomping on my fingers.

But now that things have settled a bit… I find that I want to write. It brings me comfort. Plus, I feel a need to share how everything affects everything.

I’ve seen therapists, taken meds, prayed, meditated, joined groups and you know I’ve read lots and lots of self-help books and the rest. I wondered why it was that I kept falling back into this disgusting habit.

If you saw me on the street, you’d think I was ordinary. I look like many other women my age… round, friendly and slightly fluffy.

Sometimes, usually in the privacy of my own home, I lose my shiznat. I get scared for seemingly no reason and think I’m dying. I have panic attacks. Vertigo. Occasionally, this happens outside of my house. There is nothing (NOTHING!) more embarrassing. The last time it happened, I had to call 911. Fun times.

But most times, like I say, there’ll be no outward sign that I’m struggling. Except, perhaps, my fingernails.

Today, as in right this moment, my fingers hurt… a grim reminder that I self-medicated by biting them down. I won’t beat myself up about it. It was a scary day, what with Dad and Mom. And really, in the realm of life, ugly hands don’t matter so much. I have a pretty heart.

9 comments

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your dad. Scary times, indeed. Let us know how he fares. By the way, my answer to nail picking (not biting, but just as compulsive and anesthetizing) was getting acrylic nails. I know, taking the coward’s way out, but it works! And, I am required to engage in self-care for at least two hours once every three weeks. That’s altogether good!

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    • Aw! Thank you… and love your idea. I used to wear acrylic nails. You’re right, I should pamper myself again! Dad’s doing a bit better after surgery last night, thanks so much for asking. He’ll have some way to go on healing. One step – one day – at a time.

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