Day 5: Learning to Navigate the Water

How did it go?

Today was meant to be a day of relaxation. For me, that means taking Belle somewhere fun for us to run off the last bit of the weekend. So, we went to a dog beach in Annapolis. And, boy, did she have fun!

This time we brought one of the new Chuck It balls I bought after the last time and a Frisbee. She didn’t care much for the frisbee, and I found she doesn’t like when other dogs try to take her ball (though she has no qualms about stealing theirs).

As I watched her run into the water and play with the other dogs, everything else in my head seemed to just stop. As the waves came in and out, I let the water wash over my feet, and I let myself feel it’s warmth. As I went out deeper to get the ball (because Belle was too intent on playing with another dog’s tennis ball), I found I didn’t care that I was wading in above my knees wearing my workout shorts. As her sandy paws hit my stomach when she jumped for the ball in my hand over my head, I found I didn’t care I was getting water and sand all over me.

And right then, I knew I was just in the moment and enjoying it.

I read an article today I found a little helpful: “Having Anxiety Does Not Make Me a Loser.” While I am by no means in the tech industry or a high-ranking official in an organization, something about this resonated with me. Maybe it was the idea that I often feel judged when I mention my anxiety or that I can’t handle a certain psychological stressor due to my depressive symptoms. I liked the concept he mentions about being an observer.

This idea came from the post “Dealing with Anxiety” by Karen Young. While I am sure I won’t get this right the first time around, it’s definitely something to try. It also pointed me in the direction of another article to help me cope.

What did I learn?

I learned that it is far easier for me to be present in a singular moment when I am with Belle. She makes me focus, and she helps me to see the freedom the world has to offer—because she sees things so simply.

In reading Young’s post, I also found one of the hardest lessons I need to learn: let go of the need for certainty, even if it’s just for a moment. I am praying for strength to let go of the need for certainty and to trust in God’s plans and His time.

But what keeps coming back to me as a lesson is that small change is okay, and it’s good. “Think of these strategies like drops in a bucket,” Young writes, “The first time you try them, you might not notice much…Eventually, though, the more you experiment with them and the more you use them, the more capacity you will have to harness the strength of your wild and beautiful mind and make it work more in your favor.”

“You will learn that you will always have what it takes,” she continues, “and that anxiety is a feeling that comes and then it will go, just like a bad weather day.”

And maybe that’s the best reminder: anxiety and depression will come and go like waves, but, like boats in the ocean, I will learn how to navigate the rough seas.

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