Weekend Reading, 6.23.19

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Lately I feel as if most of my Sunday reflections are inspired
by, or a paraphrase of something that someone else has told me.
I’m short on words lately, so I’m more than happy to take
inspiration from others.

Last Sunday, I wrote
about a case of the Sunday Scaries
and the good advice that I
got in response to it. I’m not quite in the throes of the Scaries
right now, but my anxiety has been pretty bad this week. It’s
been heightened for the last month, but I can safely call this a

I don’t always have much luck understanding the timing of my
anxiety, why it comes and goes when it does. I think there’s
probably a trigger most of the time, but whether it’s
subconscious or something I’m aware of varies a lot. And
sometimes it really does seem to descend like stormy weather,
unannounced and random.

I know the trigger right now, or at least one of them: it’s
overwhelm. Specifically, it’s feeling as though these last four
weeks of my internship are some of the most demanding I’ve had,
and also feeling as though I don’t have anything left to give
them. I’m so tired and turned inward lately. I know better than
to isolate completely when I’m having a hard time, but right now
isolation feels less like a conscious choice than a necessary means
of coping. I don’t have any energy to turn outward. The energy I
have needs to go to my internship, my DI class, my work, and to my
mom (she’s got another knee replacement coming up in a week).

On Wednesday of this week, I felt the way I do when anxiety is
at its worst: crippled. So overwhelmed that small, inconsequential
things like commuting or finishing up a school assignment felt
insurmountable. Even my memory and attention span were affected; I
made a lot of stupid mistakes that day, misplaced some things and
forgot about others. And the rest of the week hasn’t been much
better. I know I’m not doing my best work right now, and while
nothing life-or-death hangs in the balance, it’s not a great time
to for me to peter out.

I hate this cycle. No matter how many times I tell myself that
it’s just anxiety and it’s all temporary, the experience leaves
me feeling incapable and ashamed. If any friend of mine reported
the same thoughts and feelings to me, I’d fling my arms around
her and say that we all feel like this sometimes; that it’s OK
and she’s OK. But I don’t know how to do this for myself, least
of all when there are so many little deadlines that I’m terrified
of missing, or tasks that I’m afraid of messing up.

Instead of a failed attempt at comforting self-talk, I’m going
to do something wiser, which is to turn to the understanding and
insight of people around me. Last Sunday, a reader emailed me with
her advice for coping with the Sunday Scaries. She said,

At one point in my life when the Sunday Scaries hit me I found
that if I looked at each step of the day and asked myself, “Does
this feel scary?”  it helped.  And I would look at EACH little
step: Stepping outside of the house – “Does this feel scary?”
No.  Walking to the bus stop – “Does this feel scary?” No.
Riding the bus – “Does this feel scary?” No. Walking to work
– “Does this feel scary?” No. Seeing my new co-workers –
“Does this feel scary?” No.  And on like this through the
whole day.  This helped me tremendously, and showed me that I
wasn’t fearing each little component and the big picture was only
made up of all the little components.

These words rang so true. I’ve attempted versions of this kind
of piecemeal, slowed-down approach in the past, but nothing quite
so deliberate. I can’t imagine a better way to ride the anxiety
wave out.

I had a lot on my plate today, including a lengthy event. When I
woke up and tried to think about the day as a whole, I could feel
the familiar, low-grade panic setting in. I did exactly what my
reader invited me to do: I took each step of my day—sometimes
literally—one-by-one. It carried me through. It reminded me that
things are very rarely as scary as I imagine them to be, that
overwhelm can be combatted by separating the whole into pieces.

I’m feeling especially complain-y lately here on the blog, but
I’m trying not to let that become another, needless source of
shame. Instead, I’ll just say thank you—all of you—for so
often giving me the tools I need to live with more gentleness and
grace. Happy Sunday.


Jackie does vegan comfort food better than anyone, and I wish I
had a plate of her
vegan chicken + biscuits
right about now!

A beautiful
plant-based spin on Greek salad

Such a lovely
vegan udon noodle soup
(that perfectly halved bok choy!).

At my last rotation, the cafeteria had a buffalo tofu that I
fell in love with (I actually brought some home on my last day and
froze it). Allie’s buffalo chickpea burgers are now calling my

Finally, for dessert, feeling all the feels for Abby’s

deep dish peanut butter cookie


1. So glad that
more attention is being called to the potential of “food as
medicine” programs

2. I’ll savor pasta at any time of year, but somehow it’s
connected in my mind to summertime. Food52 rounds up
38 favorite vegetarian pastas
, a great many of which are super
easy to veganize.

3. Found this
 via Cup of Jo, but I’d seen it before. I loved it
then, and I love it now.

A fascinating essay on interoception
(the study of the body
from within), which I’ll need to re-read before I can say
anything insightful about it. But I’m one of many people who is
hearing that term more frequently lately, and I’m curious to
understand it and its implications better.

5. Today was a good day for me to read about
interconnectedness and the power of wishing each other

I wish you all well. And in spite of a rocky couple weeks,
I’ve managed to come up with a sweet new make-ahead breakfast
that I’m dying to share with you tomorrow 🙂


The post Weekend
Reading, 6.23.19
appeared first on The Full Helping.

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Weekend Reading, 6.23.19