Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

All the good things, all the bad things - that may be...

I've made a decision, based on the sheer level of anxiety experienced today upon the realization that yes, actual people are reading my actual blog and I need to re-learn how to write online. This is not to say I'm going to stop purging stories through writing, because I have a paper journal for that. Rather, I'm using this place to merely talk about my feelings, rather than my experiences, particularly when they involve specific people in my life.

That's a lot harder to do than I had realized up until now. There have been blogs I've followed religiously, where I never really even noticed they didn't go into specific detail about relationships, but managed to talk a lot and be vulnerable. I think I tie up a whole lot of who I am with who I interact with, as opposed to focusing on me individually. I mean, either I'm reacting to something that occurred with someone, or some people, or I'm relating a story for the purposes of entertaining.

So, welcome to the new chapter of my journal, y'all. I hope to be more introspective.

As I've probably already made it abundantly clear, I have a very significant anxiety disorder. When something happens to elicit dread, I feel it in my gut. My throat tightens, my blood vessels constrict and I get very cold, and I've been known to hyperventilate. As my doctor would tell you, my baseline...well, I can't remember if it goes up or down. But it goes in the wrong direction. My ability to think rationally reduces itself to the lowest of levels and I literally become slower and less apt to reason with myself. It happened today more than once. The really difficult part about the anxiety is the level of self-awareness which has evolved over the past decade. Fortunately, I can see it coming - metaphorically, I'm standing at the helm of a ship and I can see the iceberg, so there are occasions when I can steer the ship not entirely around it, per se, but I don't crash into it head-on, either. There's the ugly voice - one which I really need to assign a name to - which sits in my brain and starts judging the acknowledgment of the anxiety as soon as its recognized. Yep, I'm freaking out. Yep, here comes all the physical reactions to the fear you've managed to manifest. You'd think you'd be able to handle this by now, but you can't.

The voice is nasty. Side note: I was having a conversation with some women earlier tonight, and one girl said that when she has thoughts, she reads them in her mind. She actually sees the words forming as the thoughts come to pass. I don't. I've never really thought about how I think. The ugly voice is like this guy sitting in the dark corner of a stage, on a rickety stool. He's got my voice, but the sarcastic, judgment-riddled tone. He doesn't look like me, though, which is an improvement. I used to think that voice WAS me, and it's not. I'm not a fan of whoever identified the ego. More specifically, I'm not a fan of my own ego. Thoughts are so problematic at times.

There are times, though, when it shuts down, when I'm really in the moment. I am absolutely the most mindful when I'm performing. Not only do I recognize I do this onstage, but today I also was able to piece together that I do it in a professional setting, too. During my interview today, I was in the zone. I can see why people do sports, because it forces you to focus purely on the game. Crap, I made need to pick up a team sport. Anyway, after my interview, my body started pouring out all the adrenaline I hadn't realized I'd pent up, and something in me pointed out that during the hour-long interview, I had really invested solely in listening to the panel of interviewers and directly responding. I wasn't in there worrying about something that happened before, or something that could happen later, and that's huge.

Another aside: I got to share the stage tonight yet again with some of my favorite performers, and our show was outstanding. The adrenaline ooze is happening as I type this. You know, I have a tendency to type when my body is shutting down. As much as I'd like to write mid-day, unless I bring my laptop to work, it won't happen. First world problems.

Is this enough for tonight? I think it's enough for tonight. I'm tired, and I want to knit and read and sleep, not particularly in that order. Sweet dreams.

Droopy eyelids.

I want you to know, but I don't want you to know.