Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My 2 Least Favorite Words: Just Relax!

This past weekend I attended a 2 day photography workshop. I picked this particular workshop because it wasn't too far away from where I lived.  I paid for it over a month in advance and I was really looking forward to it. I knew when I paid I would cross my fingers that my hubby would be in town to watch the little one, but that he could possibly be gone as well. Sure enough, the day before the workshop he had to fly out of town last minute for the entire weekend.  It made things complicated which was what I wanted to avoid. We were scrambling to find babysitters for both nights but we managed to do it. Now I had to drop her off on my way there with dinner and a nap in her as opposed to just leaving her with her Dad.

Day One

I ended up arriving 5 minutes late the first day, a bit frazzled from my circus routine in getting there. The instructor made sure to point it out to the class which left me a little uncomfortable right from the start. He was poking fun at how unprofessional I was to arrive late and how real photographers are always early. I wanted to sock him for not realizing the hoops I was jumping through to even be there, 5 minutes late or not.

The first day was classroom instruction. The second day was an actual photo shoot of two models and a motorcycle, but the location was undisclosed until we were at the workshop. When he announced the photoshoot was 40 minutes away, I was again annoyed. That added two more babysitting hours onto the next day, and it meant I had to drive on two unfamiliar highways to get to a random overpass. Driving to unfamiliar places, especially when there are highways involved make me very nervous.

Day Two

The next day I left much earlier so that I could have plenty of "getting lost" and "freaking out" time if I needed it. On the way there I thought to myself, "I am actually paying someone to torture me like this. I put myself in this uncomfortable situation, and its a good thing to do, but I still paid an arm and a leg for it. " In the end I was so proud of myself. I found the location in one piece and I got there early. Anyone that gets nervous driving knows that after a drive like that you are still a little on edge.

As I was setting up I asked the instructor a question. I don't remember the question, and I don't remember his answer except for when he told me I should "Just relax!" He said that several times to me over the two day course. I must have come across to him as a really uptight person. That's not who I want to be. However this workshop was a stressful thing for me to do. And again his judgmental, transparent comments left me annoyed.

Anyone with anxiety knows that if we could "Just relax" we would in a heartbeat. Its not easy for us to calm our nerves, slow our pounding heart, and fully enjoy everything.

I had a stressful but growth filled weekend. I learned that even if I don't like someone's personality, I can still learn from them. I learned that I can do hard things, all by myself. And I bet you can too.

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This post was originally posted on Aimee's other anxiety blog, The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety at HealthyPlace.com


Karen said...

Thank you for writing this. My husband tells me to "just relax" all the time and doesn't realize how difficult it is for me. The first part of this article about all you had to go through to get to this event is a normal daily task for me. I felt your anxiety as I read it. I have 3 boys that I'm constantly having to juggle to get to places.
One thing I might suggest is to find a tentative babysitter who's willing to cancel at the last minute. If your husband has that type of job where he could be called out at last minute, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Make all the plans as if he isn't going to be there. I've learned to do that, and if my hubby's home, then it makes it all the easier. Saves you last minute scrambling.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting your experience! I am participating in a sprint triathlon on Sunday which I am really, really anxious about since a lot of my anxiety manifests itself by me being sure I"m going to have a heart attack. Anyway, I've trained for several months and I just need to get through it. You did your hard thing and now so can I. Thanks for the inspiration!

Patrick said...

All my anxiety started when I had an incident where the medics were telling me to "relax" while there was about 5 of them huddled above me. That word has since been a trigger for me by even thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I can definitely relate to those who always say to just relax. I'm happy to hear that you were able to learn and grow from this experience. Did you know that the first step to you or your friend’s recovery from a mental health problem is your support? I actually work with SAMHSA and the What A Difference A Friend Makes program. To find out ways you can help a friend dealing with anxiety or any mental illness, please visit http://www.whatadifference.org/mentalhealth

Edwin said...

Thank you so much for this! If I could "just relax", I would have already! It's infuriating and demeaning when people think I just hadn't figured to try that.

Anonymous said...

Lol thanks for the article,
While I get the fact that we need to "just relax" sometimes it sure can be hard to accomplish this though. Thanks for sharing your thoughts ;).

joe barry said...

Thanks for your post it definitely can be frustrating when people are on the outside looking in and think that by them saying "just relax" its going to end up happening.
Wish more people would open up to the seriousness of anxiety and depression. Its not as simple as just relaxing or counting down from ten.

Anonymous said...

It is great to see you tackling anxiety head on and blogging about it. I am a hypnotherapist and see people suffering from anxiety every day. Hypnotherapy can be an option for some suffers. I have some info about it on my website for anyone interested

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