On Anxiety


When you consider the various stresses of the last few days (still being unable to practise, visiting my wet fish of a doctor, stressing about 2012, travelling to Toowoomba, enduring family gatherings and the Matriarch, farewelling my sick and ancient dogs who are to be put down this week, seeing flood photos ‘resurface’ in the paper, and more…), the anxiety attack that woke me the other night is perhaps not surprising. It is bloody annoying, however, that my system retains the chemicals and my mind remembers old patterns and the anxiety carries on days afterwards.

Anxiety is a stupid affliction. A mixture of hypochondria and self-terror (particularly when it comes to the idea of practising) that inevitably develops into guilt – it’s crippling and it’s all so very unnecessary. A weekend of this that follows two weeks of illness that follows a week and half away and it’s four whole weeks since I was really practising well. And the guilt and the worry that this thought produces further fuels the problem! Gah!

It’s not that I didn’t practise today – in actual fact I did some decent work on the Takemitsu for my recital, along with a meager amount of technique. But I am filled with dread thinking that perhaps this will continue to plague me as I prepare, and the five weeks I now have at hand will dissolve far too quickly without containing the required work. The difficult bit is that in order to avoid this, I must reject that thought absolutely and instead commit without fear or terror (have courage!!). I’ll likely do this more easily with the help of routine, so tomorrow I wake before 7am and walk after an early breakfast then enter the practise room no later than 9. There is nothing more frustrating than time that somehow gets away…

Perhaps it is high time I started doing Tai Chi. Things just seem to be pointing to it, and I am in some need of balance, centering, better use of self, patience, and focus. John suggested it in my last Alexander Technique lesson, Liam suggested it some time ago, and Peter sent me this (Helen Bledsoe is an excellent flautist and a great teacher – I was lucky enough to have a lesson with her while I was in Europe):

Right now, however, the most important thing is sleep.


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