Yup, the title of this post is Good Anxiety. It sounds like an oxymoron, but the reality is, not all anxiety is created equal and it’s not all bad.
My standard type of anxiety is worrying and the nervous feeling that goes with it. I worry about the future. Thoughts of ending up alone in a nursing home, waiting to die sometimes pop into my head and plague my thoughts for hours, to the point that I actually feel scared.
Other times the past worries me. Things I should have said or done. One particular memory that rears it’s head at the strangest times is of me biking home from somewhere when I was 13, around dinner time and seeing an elderly woman trip over the kerb and not helping her. I can get quite worked up over this memory, wishing I could go back and help her, make sure she was okay. I get nervous wondering what happened to her too. This is something that happened over 19 years ago and it still plays on my mind at least once a week.
I worry when I’m running late, stressing that I will miss out or be in trouble. I worry when I’m early, wondering how I will fill the time while I wait. I worry about what people think of me, of what I said to them, how I worded it and things I’ve done.
I worry a lot.
Most of the things I worry about never eventuate. I’ve often nervously rehearsed scenarios in my head of what will happen or what people will say in a certain situation and how I will react or respond. There’s usually several different scenarios running through my head, but they almost never go to ‘script,’ if the situation eventuates at all.
It probably sounds like all I do is worry. I’m better than I used to be, I have my calming techniques and I am mindful of when I’m being silly with the emotions I feel related to over thinking. But it’s still a work in progress.
It’s not all bad. Nerves are natural and there are times that it would be odd if we weren’t feeling the butterflies. Before a job interview for example. They are scary, because we have a limited amount of time to sell ourselves, a task that can be difficult, yet incredibly important for the next step of our lives. Somehow I interview well, but I’ve yet to attend one where I haven’t been shaking on the inside and I think it would be safe to say that even people who don’t have anxiety would say the same.
Worry and nerves can stop us from doing silly things too, like jumping off the roof into a swimming pool. I’ve seen enough YouTube videos of that ending badly to know that people should listen to those nerves.
I am nervous right now. Tomorrow night I am singing in the final of a karaoke competition. A friend and I entered last week and we both made it through. I was a little nervous about singing last week, because I hadn’t done it for a while, but mostly I just wanted to sing again and have some fun doing it. After I sang Zombie kept telling me I’d made the cut, he thought I sounded good enough, but I wasn’t convinced until they called my name. I can always count on him for an honest opinion, so I should have believed him, but I just didn’t expect to get through.
I’m pretty excited about it, but also petrified. We are being filmed performing and the footage will be uploaded to YouTube. We have to sing two songs each and potentially a third if we make it all the way. I’m not kidding myself, I don’t expect to win, I doubt I’ll even place, but I’ve never had to sing in a situation where it counts so much.
I was fine, until this morning when I submitted my song list. I’ve chosen songs that I know inside out and also that suit my voice. They’re songs I’ve sung in karaoke a thousand times, but the second I hit the send button, the butterflies woke up. And they’re multiplying.
I know that as soon as I get to the chorus of my first song, the butterflies will disperse and I’ll be having fun again. I wouldn’t mind if I wasn’t feeling nervous, but it’s nice to feel some natural anxiety for a change instead of stressing about things that I shouldn’t be giving a second thought.
Smiles and Sunshine