Someone I love has true anxiety.
It’s taken all of my life to really understand that statement; to understand that it’s real. It’s true. And it’s sometimes debilitating beyond my belief.
Here’s where I come from: sure, I get anxious at times. I think everyone does, at some point in life. But my anxiety is not usually about me; instead, I get anxious about those I love, because I can’t control what happens to them (especially as my daughters get older!). I worry about my kids, my husband, my parents, my family, my dogs.
Yes, I get anxious, but it’s more worry thank anxiety. I worry because I can’t control what happens, but I also know it’s not going to change anything.
The same holds for myself: I can do what I can do, and then let everything else fall where it may. I’m good and compartmentalizing and putting things in ‘rooms’ in my mind. I’ve found if I let things out of their respective rooms in my mind unfettered, I head down the anxiety hallway quickly. So I do my best to only let them out of their room when truly necessary (this may not be completely healthy, but it works for me–at least for now).
I have friends who deal with anxiety in lesser and greater degrees, and for years I’ve thought in platitudes about anxiety. “Relax!” “Just do it!” “You can only control how you react!” “Life’s too short!” “Cheer up!”
Lately, though, I’ve realized what my family member goes through. Nervous, upset, worrying about the same subject for days on end, discussing it ad nauseam because it’s what the mind and every ounce of energy is focused on.
And that all my platitudes don’t mean jack crap, doing nothing but highlighting the inability to ‘get over’ the anxiety.
This weekend I realized how debilitating real anxiety can be. I haven’t been around this person in awhile, at least not when an anxiety spiral is in full effect. This time, the spiral was at the end, and it was medicated. Mostly I got the exhaustion and a lot of discussion.
I’ve known this family member has had ‘issues,’ but I chalked it up to indecision and some bad luck, along with the inability to just go for it. For years, I’ve heard how easy it is for me (to meet people, to talk to people, to change my life in little ways), and I rolled my eyes (because it was over the phone, I could do that).
But I understand it somewhat now. Anxiety isn’t something that will be fixed by making a decision. This is something that I can’t imagine dealing with, or trying to handle alone. I understand a bit more how that anxiety can spiral down into depression.
I truly love this person, and I’m sorry for all the times I rolled my eyes over ‘anxiety.’ I’m going to do my best to be there, and to end the platitudes, and remember to take it seriously.
I need to be an ear, a shoulder, and be here in whatever way I can. To remember that I don’t understand what it’s like, and to end the conversation when anger takes over for either party. I need to employ MY calming methods for me, to keep the conversations calm, but also remember that the things that I use to stay calm (deep breathing, yoga, reading, writing, time with friends) don’t work for everybody.
I will never totally understand it, but I can listen. And I can offer love.
Now, a book that lifted my spirits: Amy E Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is available for pre-order now, with a release date of July 21st, 2015.
A budding chef on her worst day combined with a snarky food critic equals a romance? Surprisingly, yes.
Gruff, snarky Al Waters is unhappy. Stuck in Milwaukee, where he landed after taking a job as a food critic in order to get away from covering Royals in England, his home country, Al is a snarky food critic in a city with no culture. Or so he thinks. And then, by chance, he meets Lou.
After a chance meeting, Lou’s day goes from bad to worse. And this is the day Al chooses to review her cute French restaurant, when all her staff is on edge because their beloved boss is hurting, when she can’t get a proper meal out the kitchen, when her bestfriend and sous chef cuts herself and takes a few minutes to stop the bleeding. This is when Al, writing under his pseudonym, decides to take a shortcut and only review a restaurant once, because his meal is so bad and there is no way Elizabeth, Lou’s real first name, can ever redeem herself.
When the scathing review is printed, Lou retreats to a local pub where she meets Al. He complains about Milwaukee, and she offers to show him the best of the city with one promise: no talk of work. As the Milwaukee spring turns into summer, the two find themselves falling in love, even as Al’s review is forcing Lou’s restaurant to close.
Will the truth come out? If so, will they be able to save love, and the restaurant? All this and more will be answered in the pages of Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.
I loved The Coincidence of Coconut Cake because it made me smile and gave me a lift. It’s a sweet, cute book with wonderful, likable, flawed characters. The story is predictable, but that’s okay in a book like this. The writing is good, the food and recipes are mouthwatering, and Milwaukee is described with such love and passion that it makes me want to live there! This is a perfect, fun summer read.
4 stars. It made me smile and sigh wistfully, and that’s the point of summer books, right?