Every day, people go into the world and do things. We run errands, we go to work and school, we exercise…the list goes on. And when we go out into the world, we bring our whole self with us. If we’re happy, we’re going out into the world with a smile on our face. If we’re upset, we’re not in a good mood, and the world is going to hear about it. Either way, we still go out. I’m usually annoyed at the fact that I have to continuously interact with the world, because it means I have to bring my depression and anxiety with me. But everyone once in a while, I can actually use that to my benefit.
I have a strategy when I leave the house. It’s something that’s taken more shape over the years, and it’s been validated time and again during the pandemic. For some people, it’s the phone, purse/wallet, keys pat-down. Those three things should be okay, right? Even if you forget something, you have what you need. But one manifestation of anxiety is that in my mind, the list of what I need is much more than that.
Preparation goes beyond what I need to pack. Like most people, I like knowing where I’m going and why I’m going there when I leave the house. The more details I have the better. There is a lot of anxiety that comes from uncertainty, and it can be a relief to have those details out in front of you before you even go. It might not make the action easier, but knowing what to expect can alleviate some of those feelings.
I don’t enjoy the anxious feelings I have when I’m getting ready to leave the house. I’m leaving a space of calm and comfort to be in a situation where I’m confronting discomfort head-on. Whether I acknowledge it or not, it’s true. My anxiety can bring out my least-favorite traits – but it can also help me be the most prepared person in the room.
I’m ready for virtually any possibility because the scenario has already crossed my mind a dozen times before. When you know your anxiety is triggered by being caught off-guard, you do your best to make sure you’re not. Whether it’s a few minutes or a little longer, I do what I need to be my best self out there.
Most of the time I wish that I didn’t have to go through this wave of emotions that comes. It happens whenever I leave, whether it’s a week-long trip or a simple trip to the grocery store. But I also won’t deny that it’s part of who I am. But bringing all of me means that I make sure I am okay in every single way I need on my way out the door. I wouldn’t tell anyone else to hide part of themselves, so how can I tell that to myself? Am I always prepared? Maybe not all the time. But I always make sure I get what I need, and that’s certainly enough.