I have lived in Missouri nearly my entire life. Each year we have at least one major snow of ice storm that moves through. Yes, the winter weather puts a cramp in my daily life, but it is almost always manageable. Even when it's a big storm, facing the foot of snow to be shoveled or the few days of cabin fever isn't too bad when looked at with a positive attitude.
On Tuesday, the Kansas City area was hit with a winter storm. Not a blizzard, but we did get about 11 inches of fluffy, sparkly snow.
The day before, on Monday, I had several errands to run and it was then that it struck me that the way some people handle an impending snow storm is very similar to how those living with anxiety may handle their day-to-day lives.
A few people that I crossed paths with didn't seem troubled by the snow much at all. "It will either snow or not. It's just weather." Was the attitude of some, and my attitude as well.
[Thanks to 4 years of cognitive behavioral therapy ;)]
Then there are the other reactions. People talking incessantly about what time the snow will start. Should a class or event several days away be cancelled? How dare an employer expect its employees to be at work. All of these conversations happening while the sun is still shining and the storm has not even begun to develop over the western plains.
I had to stop by the grocery store to drop off milk bottles, not really thinking about how crowded it may be. I had hoped to pick up chocolate milk per a request from E, but after waiting nearly 10 minutes just to return bottles and seeing the long lines at the checkout, opted to wait.
As I looked at the people buying frozen pizzas, bags of chips and cases of soda, I couldn't help but wonder if their pantry at home was truly bare. Yes, it is nice to have all of the comfort foods you crave, but I always think that, if we were in an emergency, we could survive off of the 5 lb bag of lentils, 6 boxes of mac and cheese, and the Costco bag of fish sticks. The people that frequent grocery stores the day before a storm can't be much worse off than that.
When my anxiety was at it's worse, I felt like Chicken Little. Always waiting for and anticipating the next disaster. To allow yourself to do that robs you of the precious joyful moments of life.
To face an incoming snow storm with dread and fear is much the same. Enjoy the sunny day before hand. Make sure you have enough to get by if you can't or don't want to drive for a few days, but don't get so caught up in the weather that you are a nervous wreck. I have been there, cowering in my basement during tornado season while others finish up their grilling and yard work as the rain starts to fall.
It's okay to be prepared. But don't become obsessed.