Anxiety makes life sucks everywhere

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I love to blame my anxiety on a lot of things that aren’t within my control. According to me, I’m in part miserable because I hate Winnipeg. I can’t leave Winnipeg because I don’t have much money. I don’t have much money because anxiety gets in my way of working.

Now, here I am a 14 hour drive from home, somewhere that’s warmer and where I have time to do things that make me happy, and I’m going through the check-list of things that  trigger my anxiety to figure out why I’m so far from feeling human.

The truth is, my brain is going to fall into the same patterns no matter where in the world I physically am.

There are downsides to living in a city—a nature deficit, constant hustle, no where to be alone—but there are downsides to being away. I’m missing my friends, routine, normal diet and hobbies.

A large part of my work to get a handle on my anxiety has been focused on restructuring my life, but that can only do so much. My therapist recently asked me what my biggest source of anxiety currently is. Money. If my money troubles went away, would the anxiety? Nope. I’d find something else to worry about.

A woman who runs a support group for people with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder recommended I read The Worrywart’s Companion. I’m slowly chugging through it and noticing all the ways I let me brain run wild and how that’s hurting me.

Leaving Winnipeg for somewhere with a lower cost of living isn’t going to stop me from obsessing over how much money is coming in and where that’s going to go. Being close to friends and making time for them  won’t clear the stress if I let myself analyze every interaction for days.

I know there’s no easy fix for what I’m dealing with. It’s a process that involves making small changes to both my lifestyle and my way of thinking. But it’d be really nice to at least get to a place where getting out of bed is unbearable somedays.

It’s probably time to throw myself back into the vision book and gratefulness board.

Compassion in the court

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Yesterday for school I was sent to the Law Courts to find a story.

James Turner, a court reporter in Winnipeg, told my class that in room 408 there was a murder trial. He hadn’t heard any details about it. I was intrigued and headed there with two of my classmates.

A group of about a dozen law students were in the same room. Then the accused’s family crowded in.

There wasn’t room for the entire family to sit. But I didn’t give up my seat.

I was afraid the judge would kick out anyone who wasn’t sitting. And I needed a story.

I put my assignment ahead of the family.

When the judge came in, he told the defence lawyer to give his extra chair to the family. The Crown attorney gave up the chair he was sitting in. 

A couple years ago Sarvasati Productions put on a play that likened the criminal justice system to a zoo, where people would come and ogle the criminals. The judge would throw them in jail without thinking of their background or the real consequences of incarceration. This scene was going through my mind.

Until the judge told the aunt, who had left the court room after being asked to remove her hat, that because of her medical condition it was fine that her hat stay on.

He asked the defence lawyer to introduce each family member.

After giving the sentence in jargon, he explained it in plain language directly to the accused, who was wiping her cheeks with tissue the security guard had gotten up and walked across the room to get her.

And I felt like the biggest asshole, sitting their scribbling in my notebook with the dozen other students like it was some learning experience, not somebody’s life.