Red Flag Anxiety Days, and How to Cope without Combusting

Elizabeth Park
4 min readJul 19

I moved to Portland last month, suddenly, as I mentioned here. Had to get out of Florida, don’t regret it.

I already had been dealing with those big stressful life events as listed on the SRRS scale for a number of years. I haven’t added them up, because I’m too busy dealing with them. But they’ve got to be off the charts.

And now I was hoping to reach green pastures and still waters, as per Psalm 23.

Naive? Sure. Hopeful despite everything.

Portland is known for summertime fires. Dry weather and high temperatures mean that some days are known as Red Flag Days, with high risk of fires.

Cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool

My anxiety forecast? Same.

You know those days when you’ve been blissfully sleeping, but then you get a scam call or a phone alert about your bank account and then BOOM! All the adrenaline.

Heart racing, mind racing, palms sweating, fight or flight activated, trauma state reactivated. Digestion stops. Hunger goes away. Forget to breathe.

I have that, a LOT. Today, actually.

But I’m a life coach, so I MUST have some ability to deal. Also a parent. And an educator. And most importantly, a child of God, as cheesy and religious as that sounds. I’m NOT religious. Fuck religion. But I do love God. Make of that what you will.

So here’s what I do to get through the Red Flag Anxiety Days without combusting:

  1. I face towards God. Not literally, but in my heart. I pray, however incoherently, until I feel God/Jesus/Spirit. “Our Father, which art in Heaven” and “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” I focus on someone bigger than myself, bigger than my problems. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” This, by the way, takes EFFORT. My lizard brain wants to wallow in the fear. That’s EASY. Choosing truth is hard. That’s why so few people do it.
  2. I remember gratitude. I am breathing, I have shelter, I have gotten through all the things that came before
Elizabeth Park

Life coach for the spiritually dehydrated, survivors of narcissistic abuse, and neurodivergent