Out of nowhere, it hurts. Just for a moment. Then it stops and all is well for several days, and then suddenly, it hurts again. Needles, pressure, right underneath the skin, gnawing and biting to get out. It burns, and it’s suffocating.   Scalyfreak stops, and focuses on breathing slowly until the pain fades away and breathing comes easy again. She waits several moments after the pain has faded, just to make sure it will stay gone this time, and then slowly starts walking again. These strange attacks of pain and suffocation have been happening for years, but never this often. Never this painfully. Never with so many tears, or with so much fury. And never this frequently, and that concerns her somewhat.   As she continues down her path, Scalyfreak thinks about this strange ailment that she is gradually realizing has plagued her for years. Surely there must be a cure somewhere? Something that can at least lessen the impact this strange illness is having… it would be very inconvenient, potentially fatal, to have an attack in the middle of battle. There must be a way to control this. To prevent the sudden and instant flares of excruciating pain.   Because she is thinking about it, Scalyfreak actually senses it coming this time. Just barely. Right before it hits, she feels it creep up on her and manages to stop and brace herself right before the pain returns with such a vengeance that she doubles over from the onslaught, and crumbles to the ground.   And the pain explodes.     So apparently there is this thing called “anxiety”, and it’s a chronic thing that can’t really be cured, only managed.   Between a lot of reflection and introspection, and with some (significant) help from my therapist, I have come to realize that, for me at least, the anxiety is actually an overblown fight-or-flight response to something my brain thinks is dangerous, regardless of whether it actually is or not. The key to living with it, while living a happy and relaxed life, is to actually learn to live with it. To accept it, and learn how to take all the adrenaline and energy from a full-on reaction to a perceived threat, and turn it into something productive. This reminded me of something @Harriet said a while back, about the Gift of Adrenaline, and how it can be our greatest enemy if we allow it to take over, but also a great ally, if is is properly harnessed.   Harness the body: Go to the gym and lift things. It’s impossible to overstate how much lifting heavy things makes everything easier. It also makes me stronger and more badass, which obviously is a good thing. At some point during this challenge I will make it to 100 lbs on at least one of my main barbell lifts, maybe more than one. Because this is a big milestone for me, I have decided that we deserve shiny things! This appeases Self-Indulgence, and also makes me happy.   Award for the first barbell lift to reach 100 lbs: Weight Plate Ear Rings   Award for the second barbell lift to reach 100 lbs: Matching necklace, engraved with, “Through Strength I Gain Power”   Neither of the above are goals, only rewards. Injuries happen and stress has a tendency to sabotage progress. That said, shiny rewards are good for motivation.     Harness the Mind: Sleep must happen I have struggled with sleep since long before I joined The Rebellion, and I have finally realized that one of the reasons for that I never really had a good reason for improving sleep other than “it’s good for me”. I did not have a Big Why.   Now I do.   More sleep will make the anxiety more docile and easier to work with. This is a goal worth pursuing, so I will pursue it. Now it has a purpose.   Harness the soul, so it can soar: Camp NaNoWriMo! Writing stories about bartenders in an orbital space station makes me happy, so I’m going to devote time to it. And to other things, but this is what I’m writing down for right now.   Let’s harness the flame.