Anticipation…oh boy, how fun
October 15, 2009 Leave a comment
I have been doing pretty well the last few weeks with my anxiety, although I haven’t been blogging about it because I have been busy trying to catch up on real life and learning how to deal with every day things again. I have had some residual chest pains, stomach problems and moments of high anxiety, but they are outweighed by the strides I’m making – I’m able to drive alone comfortably now, go into busy places without panicking, even sit for a few hours in a group of people and not disintegrate. It was starting to feel rather surreal – I would do something that used to panic me, then sit and wait for the panic to strike, and when it didn’t, I would think, “Wow, I’m really getting better.” I was starting to trust myself again. I was starting to get confidence back and even missed a few counseling sessions to try to test myself and see how much progress I was able to make alone.
As some of you may remember, I lost my babysitting job about three months ago. It happened right as I started the descent back into an anxiety-ridden, panic-attack mess, and was one of the triggers that really set everything off.
Yesterday I got a mini-bomb dropped on me when my brother showed up to drop off my nephew for a job interview he had to go to. I was surprised but happy to see them, of course, since I love my baby boy and and was glad to spend time with him. But after the interview my brother just announced (without asking me, mind you) that he was going to be working the night shift, so he’d bring the baby to me in the mornings, hang out with us for a few hours, then go home and go to sleep and leave the baby with me until my sister was able to pick him up in the late afternoon when she got off work.
It’s not that I don’t want to babysit again. It’s not even that I wasn’t asked, but just told. It’s just that I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything in the three months since I last worked, and now my life is going to be going through another massive upheaval dealing with the baby and setting up new routines, and I just odn’t know if I can handle the stress without getting sick again. I AM doing better, but really, it’s only been about three weeks since I’ve even been able to eat properly; I don’t want another relapse, and I don’t want the feelings of anxiety that go with it!
Last night after they left I really started having bad anticipatory anxiety. I was what-iffing myself to death and almost worked myself into a full blown panic attack over it. My hands started going numb, I threw up, I was sweating and shaking and irritable. It was really terrible. I even became my own worst enemy, because instead of dealing with what I was feeling I started fighting against it, when just gave it more strength. In the end I stayed up all night and then realized this morning how ridiculous I was being.
I started talking to myself in a nice way and working through things. It went something like this.
“No one can make me babysit if I don’t want to. I am a person who has the right to say no. If my family gets upset they will forgive me because they love me anyway. And even if they stay upset, Frankie sees my point of view and will not be angry with me. I’m just avoiding confrontation because it scares me to be out of control and risk losing things. I will be okay.”
“I am fully capable of being a good babysitter. I am responsible and smart. I can handle whatever may come up. It was fun to babysit him in the past. If I choose to do so again, it could be really fun and I might enjoy it.”
“I can take him places with me. Working again does not mean I am stuck at home. Being stuck at home would not mean I am going to relapse.”
“I have a right to an opinion that’s different than everyone else’s and I have the right to make myself heard. I am lovable anyway.”
I didn’t take the time to write all of these down (well, until just now) but just thinking about my options and telling myself I am not stuck or trapped helped so, so much. I feel a lot better now. I was feeling like I was losing control to the anxiety and the situation, which of course made me feel even more scared. Now that I realize I have control and am not a victim of what happens to me, I feel much better, stronger and more in control.
I have had some help in learning to think this way, and two posts in particular went through my mind this morning. this post has some great advice for how to view your anxiety and deal with it. This is a ten step mental exercise plan that helps tremendously, especially step #9. I use this exercise more than anything else, including what I’ve learned in CBT and other counseling sessions. Read it, apply it, memorize it, and use it…it can help, I promise.
Those are my wonderful words of wisdom for today, hope it helped someone!