Hey my “Mental Health” savvy friends. I had a recent discovery concerning my anxiety yesterday. I went to my math tutoring session as usual and my tutor asked if I had worked on my math packet. I shyly admitted that I didn’t get much done throughout the week. She then told me that I could have the first 20 minutes all to myself to work on it as she needed to leave the classroom to catch the ending of a brief meeting of some sort. So I was left alone in a big empty classroom. I opened my packet and glared at the first problem. Totally easy and doable, however, I was annoyed that my favorite pen wasn’t in my purse. Yes, I said pen. I don’t like pencils. I need black ink to saturate the paper in a way a pencil can’t. If I make mistakes I prefer to scribble them out than to endure the horror of eraser smudges. But fine, I thought, I’ll opt for the sharpest pencil I can find. This takes a minute or two because most of them were dull. I finally sit back down at my desk and now I’m suddenly distracted by the textbooks on a nearby shelf as I read the titles of each and every one. Why you ask? Perhaps a passive-aggressive attempt at avoiding the math even though that is my whole reason for being there in the first place. And then the rest of the procrastination begins which is ironic because my mind is being a total Busy Body, and yet it’s actively choosing to ignore what’s right in front of me. I walked into the room this way mind you. Anxiety then, must be a stress response to problems that are off in the far distance. I deem all of these things as equally urgent and important and I can’t prioritize any of it. You want to quantum leap from this point in space and time to fix and piece together everything across the entire board in a murky and ambiguous future. Anxiety feels like the love child of both fear and anticipation. Meanwhile, my math equation is right here at my fingertips, close in proximity, and completely non-threatening. And yet my mind would rather run buck wild into the oblivion than to dedicate all it’s horsepower into this one simple task. I’m not trying to romanticize it either. I apologize for making this seem even mildly poetic (I tend to do that) Anxiety is a serious mental health concern for many of its sufferers. It can be very troublesome for those who experience it. It can hinder us from living a balanced and healthy lifestyle if left un-checked. I’ve noticed that this surge of energy can be directed into something imaginative or creative. For me that has always been writing or drawing, but how often can I actually engage in these activities? Not as often as I’d like to that’s for sure. So anxiety usually has nothing to show for itself other than the constant fidgeting. In this case, the tapping of my pencil.
I believe humans at their core are emotionally driven beings. However, life requires logical thinking as well as intuitive decision making. For this reason, I’ve grown to appreciate math more and more these days to remind myself of this. Math is completely void of emotion, and you know what? We need it. “…for 2 so loved the other 2 it merged and created 4" is not a thing. Math has rules, it has order, and it doesn’t give a shit about your feelings. Thank God! So, back to my main point. I noticed several math equations in I had significantly felt more at ease. I felt calm and focused. A truly rare event for me. It was wonderful. Working on math equations actually eased my anxiety symptoms. It might be weird and unconventional but it totally worked for me. I’m just now realizing most people probably prefer playing video games or something even more socially acceptable as crossword puzzles. Sudoku is probably way cooler than solving for X. Wow. I just might be the only weirdo doing math equations to ease my anxiety but I don’t care. But don’t knock it until you try it.