Why are all my lifelong friends so damned anxious?
And why can’t they just calm the f*ck down?
I’ve been around 55+ years. In that time I’ve made some lifelong friends. A couple of them I met while serving in the Air Force. I’ve kept in contact with and visited two of them several times in the last 30 or so years.
Both of these friends are high achievers. Much more so than I. Both served in the Air Force with me and recently left government service as GS-15s. For those of you who don’t know, that’s pretty high up on the government ladder. I was a GS-12 when I left government service for family reasons. Fifteen years later, I believe it’s the smartest thing I ever did.
I went on to get my bachelor and graduate degrees and started a career in Adult Education. It’s not the highest paid job out there, not even close. But it’s extremely gratifying to help people from walks of life achieve their educational goals.
I’m a naturally anxious person and I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) when I retired from the military in 2005. Shortly after that, I started on 10 mgs of Lexapro and have been taking it ever since. I am a much calmer and less anxious person now.
Meanwhile, my two dear friends are like whirling dervishes. They have to be moving at all times. They are so full of anxiety that they are sometimes unpleasant to be around. Until they start drinking, then they relax. They self-medicate with alcohol to slow down. I used to do that as well. It’s a pretty unhealthy habit. Thank goodness for the Lexapro.
I’ve tried talking to both these women about doing things to relax. They are both retired and yet they still handle everything as if the world was on fire. I know, it kind of is, but that’s beside the point. I’ve told them about how Lexapro helps me. I’ve discussed the benefits of deep breathing, meditation, and yoga with them. Who has time for yoga when you’re busy telling your husband what a mess he left in the kitchen? Who meditates when they are texts to be sent?
I try to be gentle with them, they are obviously unhappy. They have great lives but they just won’t relax enough to enjoy them.
I am so grateful for my choice to do something about my anxiety after spending a few days with both my friends over the last few months. Because I almost followed that same path. I am grateful that I went back to school, took a huge pay cut and started a career where I can help others, something that is very important to me. I may not have a lake house or live in a 55+ community, but dammit, I’m happy. As I get older I realize this is the only life I get and I don’t want to squander it in an anxiety-fueled tizzy all the time.