Sign in

Essayist • Poet • Author • “tumbling: poetic thoughts from an anxious mind” NOW AVAILABLE in paperback & e-book formats •
Elizabeth Joyce

By the time my husband and I first met, one love lesson I had been taught painfully well was that the words “I love you” hold very little meaning on their own. People say those words easily, say them out of habit, say them while their actions prove otherwise.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with my husband. I wasn’t looking for love at the time. But there must be some reason for all those clichéd sayings about finding love when you least expect it.

My feelings for…

2020 is the perfect year to pare down

photo via Thought Catalog on Unsplash

If there is one thing I think we can all agree on, right now, it is that none of us needs any more stress.

Unfortunately, over the years, the ever-increasing demands and expectations of the holiday season have become yet another source of stress for too many of us.

Let me just stop here and say: If you are someone who finds joy in doing all the things each holiday season, by all means, do them. This message is not meant for you.

However, if you are one of the thousands of readers for which my 2018 essay, You Don’t…

History is the collective story we weave from as many — or as few — perspectives as we see fit.

Photo by Aaron Schwartz via Pexels.

My stomach actually dropped when I read this sentence last night:

Anyone who thinks this sounds reasonable? Is. Part. Of. The. Problem.

Anyone who thinks teaching diverse perspectives of historical events is “indoctrination” and “propaganda” but believes teaching a one-sided history of an infallible America is not the actual definition of those very things? Is. Part. Of. The. Problem.

What is education?

It is building on the knowledge of the past to create a solid springboard for future knowledge.

For the most part, knowledge of math and science progresses in a straightforward…

I often hear about how “most” people are good. Moral. Compassionate.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr — one which I’ve shared before.

And while I am taking a social media break, at the moment, I do want to make it clear that my reason for taking this break now is not to remain idle. For a few weeks now, I was already taking a personal break for the sake of my mental health but I decided I needed to also take a break, professionally.

Anything I would post right now would feel tone-deaf and disingenuous. …

In spite of my anxiety disorders — or because of them.

You may think, as someone with anxiety disorders, I’m likely to panic and overreact in the event of any potential threat. But, actually, in a real emergency, I become incredibly business-like and handle the situation quite calmly. This happens when there is a true, external threat because, by its nature of being real and being present, I can take action.

You may be surprised to learn that many people with anxiety disorders handle emergencies with a calm, level head. This phenomenon is not uncommon. …

But, while technologies change rapidly, human nature barely changes at all.

We, as a society, are much too quick to dismiss the past as no longer relevant. But, while technologies change rapidly, human nature barely changes at all. So, there is always something relevant to learn from studying our history.

National Museum of Health and Medicine

There is a reason they say history repeats itself. Mainly, because we are terrible at remembering the hard-learned lessons of previous generations.

You are, no doubt, aware there is currently a pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus sweeping the planet. Humanity has faced pandemics before, many times.

The worst in modern history occurred in 1918–19 and was caused by a (then)…

If anything it should stand as testament to why we need to take COVID-19 seriously.

It irks me to no end to see people continually pointing to the number of annual flu deaths in an effort to downplay the threat of COVID-19. If anything it should stand as testament to why we need to take COVID-19 seriously.

Allie Smith via Unsplash

Seasonal flu is well established and circulating freely throughout our population. The CDC reports an estimated 32–45 million people in the U.S. have been affected by seasonal flu this season, resulting in approximately 18–46 thousand deaths (CFR of ~0.05% to 0.1%).

COVID-19 is an emerging, novel virus. It is not yet freely circulating throughout the population. If it…

But, hey, it did leave me with debilitating anxiety!

photo by rawpixel via freepik

Not a week goes by where I don’t see a story pop up in my feed with some feel-good headline like: “Cancer Taught Me What’s Really Important in Life,” “Facing Cancer Taught Me How to Truly Live,” or “Cancer Taught Me to Enjoy Every Moment.”

And I think, Huh. All cancer taught me was debilitating anxiety.

What a ripoff.

I’m not sure why or how society has expected those who’ve gone through cancer treatments to have reaped some rewards from the ordeal.

To be a good survivor, it seemed I needed to let everyone know that there were gifts hidden…

When things don’t go as expected, that is when I struggle with my anxieties the most.

Sometimes it feels as if my different anxiety disorders are in-fighting, jostling for top position among my chaotically tumbling thoughts.

My medical anxiety tells me that every little ache could be the first sign of my next life-threatening disease. I am hyper-aware of my body and I can rarely bring myself to take even an Ibuprofen for fear the medicine, in alleviating my pain, will mask a symptom of something new and I will not catch my next diagnosis soon enough. …

The best (and only) resolution I’ve ever kept.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I never really have, that I can remember.

I don’t usually click on those silly internet quizzes or fortunes or other nonsense, either.

But, for some reason, I decided to click on precisely one of those silly internet things that promised to predict what my New Year’s resolution should be. Who knows why, I sure don’t. But I did. (And thankfully, my phone didn’t immediately shut down from some virus.)

Elizabeth Joyce

It wasn’t a quiz. It was just a random chance at a select number of options based on what moment I hit the screen…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store