A few months ago, I dropped Milo off at the vet for the real deal dental cleaning. I avoided this procedure as long as I could because I knew how hard it is on dogs to go under anesthesia. But I suspected Milo needed his bottom front teeth pulled since they were a bit wiggly and his breath continually smelt bad. Plus, they still had plaque near the gums after the regular, non-anesthesia cleaning. What I wasn’t expecting was the call from the vet, a few hours after dropping him off, saying he needed ten teeth pulled. Yikes! Anxiety started kicking in right away and I was completely unaware.
I barely heard her say the cost of the procedure or that dogs have 42 teeth and they eat with their back ones anyways so he wouldn’t be affected. Immediately I felt like a terrible dog mom. I gave her my okay then before I knew it two hours had passed and I was sweating from a vigorous apartment cleaning. We’re talking on hands and knees cleaning cupboard doors, floor and ceiling panels, behind the toilet, the fridge, every room and every corner possible. The only reason I stopped was because I ran out of swiffers. When that happened, I was forced to breathe for a minute and recognize my feelings. I realized I felt anxious. I was panting with a tight knot in my gut. It felt like I was choking on uncertain emotions.
I text my boyfriend telling him how I felt and how I just cleaned like a crazy person. I’ve learned that if I acknowledge how I’m feeling and ‘the why’ I can process a little faster. Not fully in this situation since I didn’t know what to expect when I picked Milo up. That’s one of the hardest things for me and I know a lot of other people, the unknown. Bless my boyfriend for being able to just let things happen and not stress. I tend to overthink and work myself up. Hence the two-hour rigorous apartment cleaning that would’ve continued had I not ran out of supplies. Side note, VERY unlike me running out of supplies
Before therapy I used physical pain, like cutting myself, to release emotions. I’m happy to say I’ve learned appropriate and beneficial ways to handle most my stresses and anxieties these days. I still have bad habits like obsessively picking at my nails, face, or hair, but I’m usually not aware until someone says something. I’m a work in progress and you know what, I am okay with that.
Milo was totally high when I picked him up and wobbly on his feet, but other than that in good spirits. I could tell he didn’t want to be separated from me. I placed him on the couch while I ran trash out from all the cleaning. He hopped down and whined for me at the window during those couple minutes. The rest of the evening called for Netflix and chill. For real.
I always knew cleaning was one of a few therapeutic ways for me to handle my anxiety, but this reminded me just how much. Nothing like sweating profusely because you’ve been cleaning like crazy. Oh, and I forgot to mention this was post an hour of personal training on a fasted workout at 8am. I’m surprised I had the energy for cleaning at all, but again, it goes to show how powerful the mind can be. I’ve accepted mine is quite powerful.
What about you? Have any tendencies when anxious or stressed? What do you do to relieve them?