Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety: “A Christening — Introducing Anxiety’s Brand New Name!”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

You’re invited to a …

Recently, my therapist “Rubi” suggested that I come up with an alternative name for my anxiety, a nickname of sorts. Why? Well, I’m working through this big, heavy workbook about anxiety …

Here it is, completely taking over my comfy study chair.

TIB (Truth in Blogging, remember?): I have a Love/Hate relationship with the book. Our latest spat centered on the book (it’s not even a hardback) somewhat arrogantly insisting that I begin to recognize and address my anxiety AS A FRIEND!

Seriously? Is poison ivy my friend? Is wet bread? Are the Kardashians my friends? No. And neither is anxiety. It’s my enemy. And it has that hateful “x” in the middle of its name, for goodness sake.

But homework is homework, and I’m a good student, so I dismissed the Kardashians and got to work.

First, some synonyms for anxiety: “worry, concern, apprehension, consternation, disquiet, jitters and agitation.” (Whew.)

And a few words related to anxiety: “alarm, stress, tension, anguish, discomfort, franticness and panic.” (Whew II.)

Both lists anxious-ed me!

And some antonyms for anxiety: “calmness, contentment, tranquility, ease, peace and serenity.” (Much better.)

Okay, that’s all just procrastinating. I gotta name this baby.

My first idea was “Frenemy”— you know, the joining of friend and enemy. But it felt too forced. Too trendy. Too bipolar. Like putting together Friends and CSI.

Next, I considered “Okra.” Wait, there’s a reason why! It’s so frustrating to harvest. I had to do it as a kid. Wearing a long sleeved shirt and wielding a sharp little paring knife, I walked the surprisingly tall rows of okra, slicing off the ripe pods. The sun! The heat! The itchiness! The danger of the blade! But I love okra. It’s actually my very favorite summer vegetable. I love it slimy, fried or gumbo-ed. But I like it too much to give its name to anxiety.

Prune”? It comes close to working. It’s pretty disgusting to look at, all wrinkled and dry. (“Prune” just rudely interrupted me and asked if I had looked in the mirror lately.) But, as with okra, I love prunes! What? You don’t?! They’re so sweet and just loaded with regularity-inducing fiber. Delicious. Nutritious. Okay, maybe they’re slippery. And too yesteryear. So, no, “Prune” won’t work.

So I’m also reading this other book in my study chair …

about fungi …

I know, I know, I need to get a life. But it’s actually fascinating.

And primarily because of this book, I’ve decided to nickname my anxiety … “Truffles.”

Do you know about truffles? Not the candy—which, by the way and coincidentally, I gave to HR for Valentine’s Day …

But, no, I’m talking about the disgusting-looking mushroom which grows underground. Let me properly introduce you.

Truffle—a strong-smelling underground fungus that resembles an irregular, rough-skinned potato, growing chiefly in broadleaved woodland on calcareous soils. It is considered a culinary delicacy and found, especially in France, with the aid of trained dogs or pigs.” Oxford Languages {You can train pigs?! Seriously?}

Truffles are not pretty.

And Oxford Languages was just being polite in their definition. My book Entagled Life: “The word for truffle in many languages translates to ‘testicle,’ as in the old Castilian turmas de tierra, or Earth’s testicles.”

Oh my word! (Literally)

“Truffles are the underground fruiting bodies of several types of mycorrhizal fungi … Truffles are spore-producing organs, analogous to the seed-producing fruit of a plant. Species evolved to allow fungi to disperse themselves, but underground their spores can’t be caught by the air currents and are invisible to the eyes of animals. Their solution is to smell.”

(Please bear with me for a couple more quotes. Think about my truffle candies I gave to Robert if it helps.)

“Truffles must be pungent enough for their scent to penetrate the layers of soil and enter the air, distinctive enough for an animal to take note amid the ambient smellscape, and delicious enough for that animal to seek it out, dig it up, and eat it … Once eaten, a truffle’s job is done. An animal has been lured into exploring the soil and recruited to carry the fungus’s spores off to a new place and deposit them in its feces.”

I had to put the book down and go outside for some fresh air for a bit after that revelation. It was simply TMI. One of the world’s most luxurious and expensive delicacies …

… begins as spores in dog or pig poop?

!

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if naked mole-rats, warthogs and aardvarks also carry it around in their poop.

Naked mole-rat

Let’s pause and …

************

But oh my gosh. The similarities I see here between truffles and my anxiety!

1. Anxiety, like truffles, is simply not pretty. And I like pretty. Who doesn’t? It’s not pretty to contemplate or experience.

2. Anxiety seems to hover “underground” much of the time. Part of my issue with anxiety is that I never know when it might pop up, dug up somehow by a trained pig, and make itself known. To be honest, I know (“fear” is a much more honest word) that anxiety for me is usually unpredictable. And that’s frightening.

3. The true power of truffles is in their aroma. When I begin to be anxious, it seems to draw me almost aromatically into its web. As you may know (if you have read any of my “Hello, Anxiety” posts), I have a protocol to help me deal with anxiety. But sometimes, I confess, I simply forget to consider and utilize it. The sour smell is just too strong.

4. Anxiety grows. “There are two key moves by which fungal hyphae become a mycelial network. First they branch. Second they fuse. Truffles’ affairs quickly unspool into entire ecosystems.” And that’s another of my problems with anxiety. It can grow. And grow. It can overwhelm. Like untended weeds in a garden.

5. “Truffle” sounds a bit like “trouble.”

6. Truffles are costly. So is anxiety. It costs me time, energy, happiness, etc.

7. But on the other hand, the word “truffle” sounds a little silly too, don’t you think? Not 100% serious. Almost playful. Much “lighter” than “anxiety” (as long as you don’t think too much about the poop connection).

(Please note that I’m Trying with a Capital T to see some leaning-toward-positive attributes of truffle-like anxiety.

8. Truffles smell good to some people. I admit that I like the earthy aroma of truffle salt. Likewise, anxiety … (Okay, I haven’t evolved enough to complete this comparison. Maybe you can help me.)

9. Truffles taste good to some people. Again, I like the earthy taste of truffle salt. Similarly, anxiety … (Same parenthetical sentence as above.)

10. And even if you don’t like truffles, you don’t have to HATE them, do you? They don’t have to be Your Deadly Enemy Food. (I’m talking to myself here.) “Anxiety does not have to be my mortal enemy.”

So, after all that rigamarole, I hereby christen my anxiety “Truffles.”

My anxiety workbook posits that WAF’s (worries, anxieties and fears) are birthed out of an attempt to protect us (think “fight or flight”), but they have just gone too far, like that “friend” you somewhat accept but don’t want around all the time.

I’m not ready to call anxiety a friend, but like with my NPA—Neal’s Protocol for Anxiety—I do desire to find ways to lessen its destructive impact on my life. To be kinder to myself. And yes, to recognize that my anxiety is a part of ME, not a virus that comes from outside of me.

So, “Hello, Truffles.”

************

P. S. I believe all of the above, of course I do, I wrote it. But it’s so much easier to write about renaming anxiety when I’m not experiencing it. And to say, “Hello, Truffles!” when anxiety’s scent is nowhere to be found, deeply underground. But I know that the naked mole-rat is probably around somewhere, just waiting to provide anxiety’s spores welcome transportation. And later, the trained pig starts to dig.

8 thoughts on “Hello, Anxiety: “A Christening — Introducing Anxiety’s Brand New Name!”

  1. Omgoodness what a wonderful post! I totally get it! I have anxiety issues too, but thank goodness I didn’t have to do that workbook! LOL I did have flashbacks to my childhood when reading the paragraph about OKRA …. oh how I hated “picking okra”; however I do love eating it fried. Anyway, excellent work and I love the name “Truffles”. Best Wishes! Leigh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great post. Having been experiencing some anxiety of my own I may use your idea to lessen my own. I know my anxiety can be lessened by writing about it and sending it out into the universe. I hope it did the same for you today.

    Liked by 1 person

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