Fredericton concert goer, scene supporter and laugh-lover Molly B opens up about her struggles with anxiety.
By Molly B.
So, like shit tons of people, I’ve always had struggles with anxiety. I’ve always coped and gotten through it. I could mostly attribute it to one thing or another: growing pains, interpersonal garbage, and the usual shit of life. Four years ago, things took a pretty grim turn. After a stressful event in my personal life, my anxiety became stronger than I ever imagined possible. I started having heart rhythm issues (that are still getting sorted) and panic attacks.
For three years, I stayed pretty close to home and rarely left Fredericton. I remember going for a drive with my parents for an hour one time on a Sunday and crawling out of my skin the entire time. I spent three entire years of my life waiting to die. Every car ride, every day at work, any time I went to the grocery store; I would wonder if I was going to drop dead. I would try to have conversations with my husband about making plans for my impending death. I would wake up panicking and think, “Well fuck, I should make sure the laundry is done because I’m not going to make it through the night.” This was the state of existence I lived in.
“Something that meant so much to me was now part of the problem. Music is one of the most important parts of my life but I just came to terms with the fact that I probably wasn’t going to be enjoying live loud music again anytime soon, maybe ever.”
I was under such emotional stress; I felt my body start to break down. I was exhausted and in physical pain all of the time due to the amount of tension in my body from living in fight or flight mode. I managed to go to work everyday and socialize with a few folks but not many people saw just how scary it actually got. Pacing around the house in the middle of the night, not being able to get my own groceries, or running out of the shower screaming for my partner because I thought my heart was going to stop, or laying in bed with my heart pounding in my chest and just wondering if it was going to quit. I could go on but it fucking sucked and I still fear going back to that place every day.
Something that suffered probably the most during that time, and even before, was going to see punk and metal shows. It was too much. Too loud, too overwhelming, too many people, too much socializing, too exhausting, people are too wound up, I don’t want to drop dead. Something that meant so much to me was now part of the problem. Music is one of the most important parts of my life but I just came to terms with the fact that I probably wasn’t going to be enjoying live loud music again anytime soon, maybe ever.
“It was a simple idea of remaining quiet and still when everything around you is frenzied.”
A couple years into this hell, I started to try anything to make myself feel better through counselling, dietary changes, exercise. I had previously cut out booze and cigarettes. All of this shit has been a really slow process and I didn’t start feeling better right away. I ended up losing a lot of weight as a result of these changes which I’m sure didn’t hurt anything. Through this I discovered yoga. Earlier this year, I took restorative yoga for 8 weeks with local instructor Ruth Merritt, which was an amazing experience. I didn’t want to stop so I quickly started taking yin yoga through the Brookside Wellness Center. The instructor would talk frequently about being the eye of the storm in challenging or chaotic situations. It was a simple idea of remaining quiet and still when everything around you is frenzied. This concept was something that I really took to heart and began to try to incorporate it into my daily life as much as possible at work, at home, and at shows.
Over the past year, live music has gradually become central to my life again. Instead of seeing the experience of attending events as a source of stress and anxiety, I began to try to experience it as a source of stress relief, just in listening to loud music and remaining completely calm and feeling that shit rush over you. The chaos around me was helping calm the chaos in my mind. Fuck, it ain’t perfect by any stretch but I finally feel like I’m living my life again. Getting excited about seeing music, feeling comfortable enough to travel a bit to see concerts, and meeting new pals. I still struggle with anxiety, in fact this weekend I’ve been more anxious than I have been in months. It’s still a work in progress; we’ll all get through it, be the eye of the storm.