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

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

Life Moves Pretty Fast...

If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
— Ferris Bueller

I find it easy to lose myself around this time every year. There’s this frenetic energy attached to the holidays - presents to buy or make, parties to attend, homes to decorate, cookies to bake, cards to mail, etc. If I’m not traveling, I’m hearing about the traveling being done by my friends and family. Everything seems to be attached to planning and looking ahead, and it’s now that I feel the most haphazard and disorganized.

The busier everything feels, the harder it is for me to keep track of my own stuff. I keep filing away responsibilities in my brain, trusting that I’ll remember what I need to do when the time comes. That works some of the time, but I’m also constantly in this state of, “What am I forgetting?” And there is always, always something I’m forgetting.

Not surprisingly, this results in anxiety. There’s a quote that pops into my mind when I recognize how fast my wheels are spinning.

Worry is a misuse of the imagination.
— Dan Zadra

It’s losing track of what’s happening now for fear of what could happen later. Yesterday, I was at church, and Reverend Barry Ebert said something along the lines of, “What we’re looking for, we’re looking through.” It resonated with me, because too often, I think I miss what’s right in front of my face.

My anxiety is on a level. Last night, I had a nightmare about being robbed. That dream roused me in a state of heightened awareness that I haven’t been able to shake for four hours. I have that nervous feeling in my body where my arms are tingly and my stomach is about to lurch, like I’m in a roller coaster car that’s about to crest a monster hill. My breathing is shallow and I have a headache. My brain is moving so fast and using up so much adrenaline that my physical body is worn out, and I just want to sleep.

Photo by  Dmitry Mashkin  on  Unsplash

The truth is, there’s no reward that goes along with anxiety. And there is distinct shame in having these feelings when families are being tear-gassed and other horrifying atrocities are taking place. For me, this can occasionally be the reason behind why I don’t ask for help; there are bigger problems out there, and I’ve heard the phrase “first world problems” too many times not to feel like this stuff should not matter in the bigger scheme of things.

Confession: I was really determined to do a ton of online shopping today and take advantage of deals, but I’m afraid to keep a browser open, because there’s no way for me to hide from the news. It’s too easy to pop onto social media. It’s too easy to hop onto Google and see the headlines while I’m searching for where to get the best deal on toys for my nieces. When my brain hits max capacity (like it clearly is right now), I have to cocoon myself from the scariness of the world. The urge to compare my worries to the realities of the lives of others is too potent.

Like the title of this blog post suggests, life does move pretty fast. But anxiety? It can make my brain feel like it’s moving faster, and this is a race I do not want my brain to win.

Photo by  Josh Riemer  on  Unsplash

Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash

I haven’t fallen into a worry pit like this in a while, and it’s probably spewing out at this rate because I have just been using my mental filing system to no avail. I’m sure I’m forgetting something. It’s the grown-up, much less appealing version of FOMO.


Fortunately, I get to see my therapist today, and I’m well aware of what’s happening in my brain.


I’m going to put in ear plugs, keep my head down, and try to rein in some of this worry by focusing on what I can smell, what I can taste, what I can see, and what I know is real. Because the stuff that my brain is telling me? It’s the same as a nightmare, but I’m awake. It’s just my imagination.

I mentioned Rev. Barry Ebert earlier. I admire him so much; he speaks to me. Below I’ve attached a video of a prayer I unearthed while looking for a link I felt best encapsulated who he is to me. I watched it and my breathing slowed. I’m a little bit better now. Whether you watch the video or not is up to you. Regardless, if you have a brain like mine that occasionally has some pretty incredible and terrifying lightning storms, know you’re not alone. I’m here. So are a lot of others.

Ladies, we're not apologizing enough.

Drawing blanks.