What makes you nervous?

I didn’t realize until I was almost 50 years old that anxiety was present in my life. It was like an underground current – always there but entirely unnoticed (by me). I’ve learned this persistent anxiety stems from an insecure attachment style that developed very early in my life. It’s a hyper-awareness – a means of positioning myself in the world so that I can feel some sense of safety and security.

Very closely, and I’m beginning to think entirely related to my attachment style, I’ve also had ADHD for my entire life. Part of being neurodivergent can be observed in that I am quite fidgety. It appears as though I have “nervous energy” almost all of the time.

I’m sure I often appear nervous to others. So the easy answer to this question might be to just say everything!

But it’s not that easy. I rarely feel nervous about anything! Even when I now notice that I’m experiencing anxiety, it doesn’t show up in my mind as nervousness. I’m learning to first notice it in my body. Often it’s a tightness in my chest. Sometimes, it shows up other areas – like my shoulders, neck, or as a slight but persistent headache. And when it comes to my head, sometimes it shows up as hypo-arousal rather than hyper-arousal. I sometimes notice the feeling of “closing down” or this sense of suddenly having really low energy – like my limbs turn to lead and my movements feel as though I’m moving through molasses. I have noticed my vision even “closes in” – I get a sense of tunnel vision and as though the world around me is blacking out.

Growing up, I had pretty severe asthma, too. I won’t say it was entirely psychosomatic, but I notice now that when I’m stressed, my body can get so flooded with cortisol, presumably (possibly other stress hormones as well), that my lungs begin to feel as though they’re also flooded. And, a quick mindfulness reset will usually cause that flooded feeling in my lungs to subside completely.

So now, I may have strayed from the question a bit. But the answer I can come up with is sort of everything and nothing. If I’m practicing self awareness, I can notice when I’m up-regulating or down-regulating, and I can respond with mindfulness and self care. If I’m not, I may not notice or feel any nervousness at all!

2 thoughts on “nervous?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s