Anxiety, Fears, Heartache, and Loss of Blood

Like most people I know, I have a lot of contradicting qualities. For instance, I’m pretty comfortable with failure (there’s only a few weeks left in the year and I still haven’t started on one of my resolutions) but also I’m so stubborn about achieving certain personal projects that I would often lose sleep and fret because I so badly want to complete a project in a timely manner. For example, last year I stayed up late all of December trying to read triple what I usually read in a month just so I could read 50 books in 2012. (I have 6 more to go in 2013.) It drives my dad nuts because he hates seeing me stress and not sleep and not breathe and it’s ridiculous to be this wrapped up over something just for me. I made the rules, why not relax the rules for the benefit of getting more sleep?

We have a few more weeks of December and I can feel the familiar anxiety of deadlines and New Year Resolutions on my chest. I’m reading a book about grieving the loss of a love written by a couple of doctors and they advise against taking on a big project or getting in a new relationship fresh from a break-up. Time to feel and heal. As I read this last night I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I’m doing it wrong again.

This is only my second big heartache in my love life. How I got over the first guy, I pursued new experiences. At least once a week. Something I haven’t stopped doing. It was amazing and fun and I jumped out of a plane and ignited my wanderlust. But really, after the dust settled a few years later, I realized I was just running away from the sads and the anger.

I’m doing it again. In December, on top of trying to finish (am I nuts?) the rest of my resolutions, I also decided to face a fear every day of the month. Someone who is suffering from anxiety and deadlines of resolutions decided to PURSUE FEAR.

Today, I faced my fear of needles by donating blood and it was by far the scariest thing I’ve done in four days. Since then I’ve had this ache in my chest and almost 12 hours later, I can’t shake it. I don’t even know what it is. Is it the adrenaline from facing fears? The pressure of trying to find 31 fears to face in December? I run with my projects before fully planning them out because I’m afraid of ideas losing steam. And once I’ve committed to something, even if it later feels stupid (like chasing fears in the midst of a broken heart), I am now compelled to complete the project.

This unrelenting knot in my chest. Is it anxiety over fears? Anxiety of not finishing yet another project? My own heartache? Watching my dog grieve the loss of his old comfortable life with two parents? Six people and counting have messaged me or commented to tell me they thought the man who drew my blood was good looking. I detected a hint of interest from him. He did make my bandage with a customized bow and encouraged me to find him on Facebook. I’m not pursing this but even the idea of it makes me tense.

The phlebotomists were worried about me because of my size and warned me that smaller people have a harder time recovering from blood donations.

Maybe what I’m feeling today is merely the loss of blood.

  • I tried to give blood once, almost passed out, and then couldn’t quite fill the whole bag, so they had to toss it. The way you push yourself to do all of these things is awesome and inspiring, but hopefully you can be easy on yourself when you need to be. I can totally relate with keeping busy to distract from sadness/heartache, though. Busy the hands, busy the mind…

    • Jessica, uck! That sounds like a terrible experience. To go through that pain and they couldn’t use the bag. For naught! thank you for the kind words and you always make me crack up with the perfect emoji on Instagram. <3.

  • lisasyarns

    Way to go on donating blood! I used to do that on a regular basis, but am not able to anymore due to the meds I am on for my RA. It was a great way to do something to help others. I hope you bounce back from the blood draw soon.

    I can relate to how you feel in terms of sort of filling your life with so many goals and pursuits that you can’t slow down enough to really process how you feel. That is how 2013 has been for me. I added up my flights yesterday and it turns out I will have taken over 70 flights in 2013. Some of which were for work, many of which were trips to escape Charlotte. I keep thinking my time here is temporary so I tell myself it’s ok to keep running away from it all, but I think eventually I am going to have to deal with some of the emotions that I’ve been running away from…

    • That’s pretty awesome of you to do it on a regular basis!
      I’m not sure if I’m at that level yet but am considering it!

      70 flights in 2013. Your miles must be looking GOOD. I’m sure there’s a balance between distracting ourselves from the sads and chasing distractions. I’m not sure where that line is though.

      Are you back from Paris yet?

      • lisasyarns

        I’m not sure where that line is either… hopefully we both find it… I feel like the pendulum is going to swing in the other direction for me in early 2014 as I don’t have much planned but hopefully I figure out how to strike a balance.

        Unfortunately I am back… I flew back on Monday and was back at work on Tuesday so dived right back to reality. I miss it so much but know I will be back there again!

  • Fung

    Do some stalking first before you decide to friend him. Also, I saw another friend who donated blood in Houston got a bow made for her. Maybe he just wants to be friends. Also, not everything ends in romance. You might just make a friend or go on 1-2 fun dates.

  • Julie

    Although I’m finding your project really interesting, NO ONE will think less of you if you scrap the project. So many people don’t even THINK of projects or START projects let alone finish them. You’ve already succeeded in my book. Love you!!

    • Ah you are the best, Julie. Love you too. <3

  • You rock at projects/resolutions because you are so committed. It’s ok to not finish something, especially when it makes you stressed or lose sleep. So be proud of everything you’ve done & know that finishing something just because you said you would doesn’t serve any purpose or good. XO

  • Wonderful post, Linda!

    I’ve given blood a few times but it’s always hit or miss for me, because my iron count is usually right on the line of either being too low or just right. And I always feel slightly weird after it. So yes, maybe some of this physical feeling was due to the blood loss (especially if you don’t do it regularly). But then, I think you’re also under a lot of stress and turmoil and heartache. So that just doesn’t help matters, does it? :( I’ll just second what everything else is saying and that scrapping this project is okay. It doesn’t mean anything other than you decided to be true to what you’re feeling and honor that. You don’t need this project to heal. I’ve had to give up on so many projects/goals/resolutions that it’s just sad. But that’s the human experience. Sometimes, we fail because we don’t try hard enough. And sometimes, we fail because we need to. It’s just not the right time.

    You are an amazing being to even consider this project! Even laying it out is a big step and I’m proud of you, no matter what! Hugs!!

  • Vishy

    I want to just say that you are very brave and inspiring, Linda. I loved reading your post. I think it is okay to be busy with activities and distract ourselves when our heart is not happy.

  • knot = anxiety

  • Rose

    My comment is chiming in way too late, but even without ever giving blood I would say it HAS to be giving blood. That can make you feel low, pushing you into other thoughts. Not always a bad thing, but in this case I would wait a few days before reassessing. Crossing fingers things are better now! I think it’s very brave to take on a project facing fears and acknowledging others while facing your own.