Yeah, I smiled for the picture…but beneath that smile is a months’ worth of crippling anxiety and fear for the future of the free world, bubbling just under the surface.
I should start at the beginning. This post is going to get pretty personal, so now you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
I love yoga. I have for years. But when poor mental and emotional health start to take over a person’s life, regular exercise is often one of the first things to go by the wayside. You start to feel like you aren’t making any progress, or are wasting your time, or like you don’t deserve to do healthy things because you’re kidding yourself if you think it’s actually going to help.
This is exactly what happened to be about six months ago, when I finished college and found myself stranded on a mental island with my old demons, a newfound mental disorder, and no homework to distract me from dealing with either. Really, a lot of new challenges emerged, but not being able to motivate myself to exercise was definitely one of them.
Specifically, my anxiety takes the form of irrational, inconsolable fear of things that can’t be controlled, like natural disasters, acts of God, freak accidents, etc. That fear comes in quick waves that are hard to shake. They’ve definitely gotten rarer in recent weeks, but I still occasionally find myself on that island.
So today, as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un prepared to and eventually met face-to-face, I internally panicked about my everyday irrational fears, all while trying to form a reasonable expectation as to whether or not there was a possibility of this meeting ending with nuclear war.
It took all of my strength not to come home from work and immediately get in bed, but I knew that wouldn’t help me calm down.
Still, I was uneasy. I got so desperate for a comforting activity, that I busted out my now-dusty yoga mat and put one of my favorite YouTube instructors on the TV.
And frankly, the short session didn’t entirely dissuade my anxiety, and reminded me just how out-of-shape I am.
But at the same time, it was a physically healthy outlet for dealing with my mental health, and I’m really proud of it. So if there’s a lesson here, it might be that it’s all right to be desperate sometimes, because desperation can actually push you to do something productive every once and a while, and may occasionally even serve as a reminder that you do deserve to be healthy again.
Plus, we’re nearly three hours into the USA+North Korea Summit at this point, and nuclear war hasn’t broken out yet, so that’s working out so far.
Politics and world news can have a serious effect on mental health, especially for anxiety-prone news junkies like me who have very few healthy outlets for stress.
Be open to the idea of mental distress pushing you in a healthy direction. You deserve to feel better. You deserve to be and feel healthy.