Anxiety Transference

My anxiety is a slow, persistent hum. It is always there, sometimes it’s more dulled, like a simmering winter stew. Other times it’s loud and in my face, like an angry booze-filled bar fight. The only consistent thing about my anxiety is that it’s always there. It co-works with me, it takes long car trips with me, it even does the laundry with me.

Four weeks ago, I rescued an adorable pup named Coco. One of the reasons I was drawn to getting a dog was the impact it may have on my mental health and in particular, my anxiety.

Since starting my job four years ago, I have struggled with performance anxiety. Since adopting Coco, I have experienced, what I can only describe as, anxiety transference. The anxiety I normally would have worrying about myself or my job is now deflected to considering Coco’s needs.

Having a little critter to care for has forced me to think less about myself (hallelujah) and consider the daily needs of another being. It’s so easy to think about yourself constantly, especially as a woman. Creating a situation that forces you to get out of your own head, is incredibly empowering. And it feels very healthy.

So now, instead of hanging out with my anxiety solo, I get to hang out with my anxiety and Coco. Coco is the third wheel to the lifelong date i’ve been on with my anxiety. Coco helps stir that warm winter stew and she mitigates the bar fight when needed.