The Third Response: Fight, Flight,or…

We are taught that all animals, humans included, are designed to have a fight or flight response to confrontational stimuli. However, what is not often emphasized is when that switch gets literally stuck. Too often, I find myself hoping for an instinctual reaction to  a situation– instead of being completely paralyzed by it. This my friends is anxiety– a force so powerful that it actually overrides instinct.

There is an on and off switch in me. As I have become more self-aware, I know this about myself. I know that the off switch won’t stay in that position. However, when in that place it is hard to not be nihilistic about life. I know everyone has their shortcomings– but in those moments, I am suffocated by the confrontation of mine.  All of my faults, regrets, and failures form into one giant tidal wave threatening to become a rip tide and drag me down into the abyss.  Like a tidal wave, I ride it out–trying to be as non-destructive in my coping as possible. Perhaps, cry a little (okay, a lot), watch movies or binge watch shows I’ve already watched millions of times. I’ll be honest, I don’t always abstain from a couple of glasses of wine or bottles of beer. However, I am good about not having it everyday, or even every week. I know that it is a slippery slope, and with my family history; it is one I probably shouldn’t even indulge.

Yesterday, I was in the stuck, paralyzed zone.  When I woke up today, I felt the same listless sense of nothingness. However, as the day goes on, the lights are metaphorically turning on, seemingly one by one. Even being dimly lit, is better than being completely in the dark.

Ugh, I’ve been picking at this post all day since I woke up. It’s 11:00 PM, and I just can’t seem to shake this self-pitying fog. Of course, as I am writing this the fog starts to lift, and just by the action of typing my thoughts, I get that boost to see the empowerment in reality I possess. Having both the ability and the platform to write is an honest blessing and true adversary to my anxiety. I think we can all agree it is much better therapy than wine, or simply whining.  In this case, I find I have become unstuck, and my reaction is to fight!

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