High Anxiety

It’s 5:30 a.m. and I feel a cold, wet nose press upon my arm.  I roll over and stay very still, hoping my medium-sized, gray dog – Sancho- will lay down and go back to sleep.  It’s no use, however, because suddenly my body is alive and awake and I feel the nervous buzzzzzzzzzz of a thousand bees of thought stirring inside my brain.

I begin stretching and moving and Sancho does the same.  A few moments of scratching his ears and tummy and then we both hop out of bed.  He jumps and puts his paws on my legs and it feels like he’s pushing me towards the bathroom.  I almost trip on my cat, Dulcinea, and then I go through my morning routine.  Sancho is walking in circles, walking in circles, and his nails are click-click-clicking on the hardwood floor.  A faint whimper issues from his throat and he pulls back his ears and head and barks as a way of telling me I’m not moving fast enough.

I put on a pair of walking pants, a t-shirt and tennis shoes then throw my hair back in a pony-tail.  As I begin walking, Sancho chases Dulci down the stairs.  When I reach the bottom step, Sancho is walking in circles, walking in circles and his nails are click-click-clicking on the hardwood floor.

I pull up the blinds so my nosey cat can check out the stirrings of the neighborhood, and then I give them their food and refresh their water bowls.  Sancho whines again and is now walking in circles, walking in circles as he slightly slides across the tiled kitchen floor.  I open the closet and grab his leash and collar.  I snap his collar around his neck and he pulls on the leash with his mouth.  I give him some slack so he won’t choke himself; but then he turns around as I’m reaching for my keys and he walks in circles, walks in circles around me, entwining my legs with his leash.

I unwind him and pull back on the leash and take the lead.  We reach the front door and before closing it, I tap, tap, tap my keys in my pocket all the while repeating in my mind, “Keys, keys, keys,” as a reminder to not lock myself out of my house for the fourth time in four years.

Once outside, I tighten the leash and I feel its tension shake my arm.  The ripples of energy move up my arm and snap, snap, snap a few synapses in my brain.  My feet hit pavement and the energy zaps, zaps, zaps up my knees.  Before I know it, I’m briskly walking down the street, feeling alive.

The moon is high in the sky, and a pink dust is smeared across the Eastern sky.  On first impression, the morning is solitary and quiet.  The “silence” is shattered by the twittering of birds and the crescendo and decrescendo of the rhythmic, pulsating locust that act as a white noise.  The tweet, tweet, tweets of the birds are like a refrain in my brain of thoughts on a treadmill that are keeping pace with my legs.  Out darts a rabbit and Sancho and I turn our heads and watch it streak across the neighbor’s lawn.

Morning routine, walk, coffee and breakfast finished, I decide on some type of exercise (more sweating, stretching, walking and/or yoga) to lasso my brain and pull it closer to my body so I can function throughout my day.  I attempt a meditation, and find myself in Etch-A-Sketch mode with my thoughts:  shaking them away as I find myself attaching to them and creating obstacle illusions, sagas and stories out of thoughts that move like starlight or hot molten lava.

I chance a glance and see my cat laid out in the sunshine on her window perch, snoozing her life away; and my dog, with his ears perked and eyes darting back and  forth, jumps up on his window seat and begins barking at the mailman, the cable guy, the runner, the dog walkers, the kids, and a leaf blowing across the street.  I call him over to me and make him sit and calm down.  So much for the relaxing mediation.  I am now high energy and need to figure out what to do with it.

I make a mental list (and sometimes write it down) of the 20 some chores/projects I have set for myself today:  from cleaning toilets, doing laundry, running errands, paying bills, writing lesson plan, grocery shopping to making lunch/dinner, vacuuming, watering plants, mowing my lawn.  All the while rewarding myself with very short interludes of texting, emailing, facebook status updating, reading and watching TV.  Then, I am back in high anxiety mode and wishing to create and better my world.  I think about my home decor, my next blog, my future life, my clothing attire, how I want to style my hair, and wonder if my small wound on my leg will ever heal.  I become elated, hopeful, grouchy, nervous, fearful, anxious, calm, easy-going, and bored all in the course of the few minutes it takes to switch tasks.

All my OCD, methodical planning of arranging my day is put back into play.  I use it to counter-balance my faulty, flighty bird-brained memory that causes me to climb the stairs two or three times to get something I forgot to get when I was up there the first or second time (hence, why I created a “filing system” on my stairs years ago:  important stuff goes on the top and bottom of the stairs to be picked up as I’m climbing or descending, while less important, trivial items are set in the middle to gather leisurely or whenever I remember).  I’ll be in the middle of doing dishes one minute, walking into the living room the next to retrieve a glass on the end table, then the very next minute I forget why I ever came into the living room in the first place because I’ve already thought of three or four other things I could be doing on my way to the living room.

When I do remember that I need to pick up the glass and take it into the kitchen, I become upset and worry if I’m going to be that old lady in the nursing home that wears her underwear over her knit pants while dribbling out food as she talks to the son whose name she can’t recall at the moment.  All this anxiety stresses me out, and I walk back into the kitchen to finish the dishes and remember that I forgot to pick up the glass that’s in the living room.  I feel like I’m walking in circles, walking in circles, walking in circles…

I look over at my dog and see him sleeping on the couch.  He looks up at me and then puts his head back on the cushion.  I”m sure he’s hoping that if he doesn’t move maybe I’ll lay down and go back to sleep.

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