Anxiety and Self Doubt

Deep breath in. And out. Try to think about what you’re feeling. Eyes closed. In. Out.

I feel my heart beating, thumping, rattling but my fingers feel numb like no blood is reaching them – where the f#%& is it going then?. My throat is clogged and no matter how hard I swallow it can’t be cleared. My ribs feel stuck, or confined…or restricted – maybe it’s the weight of my self-doubt. My calves ache – they’re as stiff as my shoulders – which is ridiculous because let’s be real…I don’t exercise. No matter how much I stretch, I never feel…stretched. Unconsciously I clench my jaw wondering why I have a neck-cracky feeling – especially when there’s no cracks to be cracked. How misleading is that!?

I’m on vacation. I wake up and worry that 7:30am is too late.

“You’re training yourself badly”, I hear my dad say.

I get up, wash my face, have some coffee and can’t shake the feeling that I have something to do. Or…I should find something to do. The rocker squeaks back and forth, in time with the cage match contained by my ribs (get it?), and then I remember.

In…out…in…out.

“You deserve to relax. It’s your last day of holidays, then back to work. Watch another episode.”

10 minutes into a 40 minute episode and it feels wrong. “Deserve” is such a ridiculous word. None of us “deserve” anything. It’s a foolish, naive and selfish claim. So I press my sweaty palms against my sweaty cheeks and pull down so my sweaty face resembles a deflated balloon.

“You deserve a shower”, I tell myself through sunken eyes and stifled breath.

That’s where the real thinking happens anyway.


A few things happened over the past few months that made me doubt what I’m doing, how I’m doing it and how it compares to everyone else – and down the rabbit hole we go.

I have had to face the reality that I cannot help everyone.  There have been a number of calls from persons who want classes, but I simply can’t cater to them. I feel like as soon as I find a space for someone, five more persons pop up. And no, I’m not complaining, I’m condemning. Myself.

How dare I not be able to help everyone, at any time, in every subject.

I’ve also have had a few students who self sabotaged their exam preparation and performance, and it’s the hardest thing for me to understanding. All my hard work, all the lessons planned and taught, all the nights spent trying to find ways to help and meet them 50% of the way…75%? 90%? But I’ve had to tell myself that it’s not about me. I am but a tool, and no matter how much I’d like to help, and push, and motivate, I can’t help people who don’t want to be helped…or help themselves.

That’s such a cop-out, cliched statement. Students aren’t horses – they could never survive on grass.

I want to do more but I’m not seeing how. I want to help but not encourage dependence. I want to give, but not be inconvenienced. I want to be successful, impactful, resistant to the shackles of human, human-ness. But my anxiety, the pressure I place on myself, the need I have to be better, to be more than, to be un-human is as crushing as…as crushing as…rejection.

Sometimes I’m more disappointed in myself that I can almost never be satisfied in the moment. I’m always looking for the next thing, the next step, the next..next. And round and round the merry-go-round we go.

I should probably think some more about it. I should probably continue obsessing. I should probably remain in my hypothetical-mind-world and not tell anyone. I should probably write a blog about it – during my next shower, maybe, I’ll consider it.

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