A Portrait Of Anxiety to the Soundtrack of Rubber Soul

Beatles 2

“… and when I awoke, I was alone” – Norwegian Wood, The Beatles

On Sundays, I usually wake up early while the rest of the world is quiet. I can watch the sunrise and drink a fresh cup of coffee. I’ve always been up with the sun. As I think back, Sundays in particular were always somewhat of a relief for me. Some people dread this day of rest, as it is the last day of solitude before a busy week ahead. I however, have always welcomed Sundays. It means the week is about to begin and my days can once again be preoccupied. As someone with anxiety, an uneventful weekend can be long and daunting. I’ve gone through many a weekend with nothing to do and it is on those weekends where my mind takes over. Instead of feeling stress free with a couple of days off, I would battle through every hour of the weekend with thoughts of worry; fearing unrealistic outcomes.

You may be wondering what business my battle with anxiety has to do with Fanciful Impressions, a blog about all things vintage. However, for readers who are unfamiliar with my blog, I try my best to write content that draws from personal experience. Anxiety for me is always bad at this time of year and it is difficult to imagine not writing about it at all. During the winter months, there is less to do. There is less sunshine and daylight to brighten one’s day. For as long as I can remember, when my anxiety is at its worst, I’ve tried everything in my power to fight it. I will silence it by blasting pop music. I will escape it by going for a run and let my endorphins fight off the negative thoughts. What I have learned over many years of coping with this condition however, is that ignoring the issue is not the answer. It is a quick fix. For me, an acknowledgement of the upcoming attack has proved to be much more beneficial. But saying ‘you’re anxious today, just be mindful of that’ takes courage.

Yesterday, I woke up with a terrible attack, despite having a busy day ahead of me. As I ventured outside to run my errands, the attack reached its peak. Worry poured into my mind. Instead of recognizing it, I drowned out the sound of the intrusive thoughts by blasting music that has been a long time comfort for me. I strolled down the street to the upbeat tempos of the 1965 album, Rubber Soul. Feeling confident that I had overcome the wave of darkness, I began to realize that the lyrics of the album were perhaps just what I needed. For despite the peppiness of the chords, many of the lines of each track were melancholy.

I wanted to take the time to really listen to the lyrics of the album. I stopped at a nearby bench to sit down. Wrapped in my parka, I put on Norwegian Wood. The words of the track express a man’s uncertainty in an unfamiliar setting. He is in a place where he perhaps does not belong. Despite the debatable meaning of this once groundbreaking track, the song gave me courage. When I experience an anxiety attack, it is often due to surroundings where I cannot be myself or there is lack of control, much like what is expressed in the song’s lyrics. While listening to the track, I asserted the presence of the cloud that was hanging over me. What would have taken hours of effort to ignore, took less than three minutes to acknowledge.

No sooner did I state its presence yesterday, did the cloud quickly disappear. I was free to continue my errands with the rest of the album playing in the background on my headphones.

When I woke this morning, I was not alone with my thoughts, but instead felt the presence of clear skies in every corner of my mind. Rather than feeling impatient for the week ahead, I just wanted to soak up the final hours of the weekend.

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