She Says

My dog’s been circling the same spot for ten minutes trying to get it just right to lie down.

I can hear the rain pitter-pattering on the windows and my computer singing its own melody of errrs and creeeepps and blips and gggghhhs.

My cigarette smoke billows up to my nose, giving me that all-too-familiar uncomfortable burn that accompanies that all-too-familiar comforting smell.

I can feel the warmth of the keyboard under my fingers and my glasses hanging low on my nose and my hair gently caressing my face, just shy from poking me in the eye or going up my nose.

It’s cold in here, and my legs are starting to cramp so I stretch them out.

I don’t know what else to write so I’ll just write this.

This is an exercise my therapist wants me to do when I’m feeling anxious. Bring yourself into the moment, she says. Breathe, she says. Relax, she says.

I don’t think it’s working.

I taste my pumpkin spice latte with a hint of leftover whipped cream and then that familiar taste of ash.

There is a giant rip in Jack’s blanket, which is sitting to the right of me. I want to pick at it but I don’t.

I push my glasses up on my nose and can feel my eyelashes pressing against them. My ring slides down my finger but gets caught by my knuckle and I play with it. The burn hole in my pants scratches at my arm, which is resting on it since I’m sitting cross-legged again.

I smell my dog’s gross breath, which brings me comfort.

Bring yourself into the moment, she says. Breathe, she says. Relax, she says.

Maybe it’s working a little bit. But what about when it’s over?

I pull into myself like a child who’s frightened. I hunch my shoulders and cling my arms together and lean over my computer. My belly hurts.

As I take another drag, I rest my thumb on my chin.

The air smells crisp, whatever that means. Crisp and damp.

Tick, tick, tick, says the rain. The dog snores.

I run my tongue along my teeth.

Bring yourself into the moment, she says. Breathe, she says. Relax, she says.

Now I’m just sleepy.

*  *  *  *  *

What are some exercises you do to control your anxiety?

23 thoughts on “She Says

  1. Yeah. I try breathing and being present in the moment. Sometimes it works well, but honestly, this time of year, right now, it’s just a more vivid reminder of what’s prickly and not necessarily going well. My sensory system is already in overdrive. Being more present just means annoying smells turn to stench; my itchy, uncomfortable clothing becomes unbearable; a little mess in my house feels like I’m trapped in a landfill; the hum of my printer is grating and I want to snatch it up and throw it against the wall; I just want to drink a bottle of wine, pass out and call it a day. Sorry for the negativity, but that’s what presence is doing for me at the moment.

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  2. What DOES work and what I plan to do — as opposed to drinking a bottle of wine and passing out is focus on how thankful I am that it is FINALLY NOT raining after four LONG days in the house. I’m going to take my kids to a nature trail and walk out my frustration while they expend some energy. I’ll make a point to be present while I’m there. But first I have to shower which feels like entirely too much. I’ll do it anyway. :-)

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  3. We are all the same … we are all sisters, yes? PS: I work nights psych, and never shower on my days off … so what, sister mine … so what … breathe … smell … live while you can … kisses, cat :)

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  4. Exercises to control my anxiety?

    Working out on my elliptical helps me a lot…but only while I actually sweat, huff & puff and then for a little while afterwards…. unfortunately I’m not able to work out 24 hours every day. So I need other stuff.

    So, I use essential oils, but they are subtle. I splurged on cilantro, which is supposed to help with anxiety & combination with orange (I love orange oil) but while I like to eat cilantro, I HATE smelling like it! ;) $26 down the drain, I guess, although …lavender essential oil helps somewhat. My friend Meagan (of Anxiety ) says lavender and lemon help her anxiety a lot.

    When I read your line, “I smell my dog’s gross breath, which brings me comfort.” I giggled. I find comfort the same way, although with dogs who are now in Heaven. Lucy Puppy’s breath still actually smells good most of the time!!! And get this: I love her disgusting farts, or “toots” as we lovingly call them. They are beyond gross! But they comfort me. Go figure.


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    • I HATE exercise. Hate it. And it rarely, if ever, makes me feel better. It does wipe me out, though. But lately the most anyone will get out of me is a nice walk.

      I also HATE cilantro. Hate the smell, the taste, everything about it. Hah. As for the other oils though, I haven’t tried any of them. Maybe I’ll have to look into it.

      And it is weird, isn’t it? My dog’s breath smells HORRIBLE but I often kiss her cheek just to smell it because it brings me this comfort I can’t explain. =]

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s weird – I’ve gone through phases where I loathed working out too! For some reason the past 6 months i has been different!!! Walks are plenty good but sometimes (many times) those seemed way too much.

        You would HATE cilantro oil! When I hold the bottle up to Lucy’s nose, she bares her teeth like Wolfen.

        I would look into lavender for sure. If you ever feel like checking out her site, Meagan is at:

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Nature always makes me happy – on a nice day, lay on the grass under a tree and watch the leaves blow in the wind. Its pretty soothing. Bonus points if you have your shoes off!

    And I’m with you on the exercise thing, its awful! Why run when you can walk? And why walk when you can sit? Haha :D

    Hope you find your happy place soon T! Xo

    Liked by 1 person

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