Constructive Panic

I woke up in a panic yesterday morning. 

Normally, for someone who struggles with anxiety, this is not good. Waking up in a sweat, unable to sleep, in what is basically the middle of the night, is not good.

But, this awakening from terror happened in the most constructive way possible. It was constructive panic. 

Stay with me, I’ll explain.

Earlier this week, my director asked us to share three moments that we’re proud of so far this year. Of the ones I listed, I was most proud of my ability to know my job, know our students, and to feel as though what I’m doing has a purpose and is well defined. This flash of panic was a lot like that.

Where panic or anxiety around bedtime used to be ill-defined, random, and unmanageable, this bout was different. I knew precisely what was making me antsy. I was able to identify what needed to be done to resolve my discomfort, and I was able to get up and productively calm myself down with a relaxed breakfast, cartoons, and an early arrival to work.

This wasn’t a skill I used to have. I used to drown in this sort of anxiety, dwell and ruminate, and allow myself to be blinded by doomsday scenarios. But even though my workload and intensity of my work has increased, my coping mechanisms and ability to regulate my moods and feelings has increased as well. I’m thankful for that, because it’s not slowing down for a while.

Have you seen yourself change as your job has changed?

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