Last week, I pressed through a lot of anxiety. Being undiagnosed with Asperger’s and anxiety until a couple of years ago, I really did not think about anxiety growing — it was always there and felt “normal” to me, but I did have a knowledge that many people did not feel or respond in the ways that I did. I had panic attacks and anxiety my whole life. As a child, my mother would get so frustrated with me because I was so social and seemed to be at ease interacting with others, but I would start getting stomach aches, sudden fears, loose my words, start to cry, all sorts of manifestations before or after social events. However, the manifestations did not occur for similar situations. One day I would be in a panic about going to school and having to talk to people, but I had no qualms about getting in front of people and dancing.
One day, I could walk into a room and talk to everyone without any issues.
Then, on the way home start acting out or get a stomach ache and emotional. I had stomach aches a lot. Anxiety ripples fear throughout me and makes me emotional. In my emotional state I begin to loop. My loop can manifest on anything – it is solely based on whatever has triggered me for the day. It may mean absolutely nothing to me, but I cannot let it go such as when someone posts a quote from a famous person and I question whether or not the person actually said it. I will spend hours in search of finding the direct quote just to satisfy my curiosity. However, it really does not matter to me, BUT I MUST know. My mind needs that stimulation, say “information” drug release to help calm my anxiety.
That is how I have coped with my anxiety throughout my life – when I was younger I went to encyclopedias and dictionaries.
Now I have the internet. I also, go through some unhealthy ventures where I get fixated on facebook, looking at images, reading posts, making connections, coming up with questions, analyzing how people comment on certain posts, but comment differently on others. There are no people set apart, it is group collection of people’s voices that I observe and wonder what made them reply like that? For instance, on Huffington Post there is a huge gamut of responses for any given article some can be downright awful and trollish while, others are thoughtful and mindful. Then, there are those who reply who I do not believe read the article at all. Ordinarily, I spend little time on such things for some reason my mind has picked up this way of processing to sooth me at times. Probably protection, anxiety induces my social fears so I am most likely trying to “read” and “understand” people to seek out patterns and think, MAYBE this time I can protect myself — I am sure that plays a key role.
This particular soothing method is actually more harmful for me.
It instigates even more anxiety and begins to fuel depressive thoughts, being on facebook at certain moments of an anxiety loop will spiral me into feelings of failure, shame, inadequacies, and as though I am invisible. I DO NOT feel this way in my typical state of mind. Over the course, of six months I think it is, I have changed many ways of coping with my anxieties. I had to force myself to walk away from the computer, even to the point of forcing myself to watch something on TV (which I am not a huge fan of doing, it can make me feel unproductive, that is only how I feel for me.) because it is far better than, social media. I can pop on Sherlock or a documentary to help bring me calm. I remind myself that the anxiety will pass, and I also remind myself of my track record of making it through them. I have made it through panic attacks, anxiety attacks, and anxiety loops 100% of the time.
I am in an anxious state at the moment; there are various factors at play such as the sudden weather changes inducing my sinus issues and vertigo spells. I have not had horrible spells, but enough to throw me off a little. It messes with my already sensitive sensory processing system. However, I feel great. I am in a good mood, I feel silly and jolly. At times, anxiety feels like a hand gripping at my ankles trying to drag me out of my “walking on sunshine” state into a spinning bottomless pit. If I feed my unproductive mind-numbing coping mechanisms then, I do fall into that pit and it can take me weeks to pull out of the depressive thoughts and foreboding. The last week was rough to say the least, but it was extremely positive too. When I feel I cannot bring any balance or help for situations my anxiety starts to bombard me.
I did several new things this week that had lingering anxiety attached.
I found sort of a workout partner and she and I hit it off really well. I went into the gym at the Y for the first time and tried new things in there. I talked to a lot more people than, I have EVER for the last year and half going to the Y. I have no worries about being myself as a matter-of-fact being awkward or analyzing every word I was about to speak did not happen. Don’t get me wrong, I was totally awkward and said all sorts of strange things, however; this has always been my shtick. I do not do it on purpose it just happens I say inappropriate things or what seems silly and people laugh. I have had negative situations because of this, but in this environment the people are very accepting because there are so many personality types — a feel of open-mindedness makes a big difference in how comfortable I feel.
Social anxiety did not hit me in an intense overwhelming way until after I left there Wednesday morning.
The anxiety rose, the fear consumed me, and the tears started to come. The cloud of depressive thoughts came with the question did I do something wrong? Oh, God!! I don’t know!!! I came home and decided to write some of my thoughts on facebook and I am glad I did because it helped me a great deal to hear from others and seeing “likes” was comforting. Then, I got off of facebook because I had to get school going and stay focused. That was good too. I find that my anxiety rises when I do not have direction. Like today, I really have no set schedule and I feel a little lost. I have a ton to do. I need to clean, do laundry, finish up late lessons with the kids, prepare for tomorrows lessons, and figure out what I am making for dinner, so on and so on … I cannot get focused. I am anxious.
Hello, that is why I am writing!
I hope this will help my mind find calm in a productive way — I hope. I pressed through those anxious thoughts with flying colors and went about my week meeting people, talking to people, being social on facebook etc … I was doing really well, but I was getting physically drained. By Friday after my workouts, I was ready to go home and gear up for Ariel’s home school co-op. They were having a luncheon which meant changes. Many people, many smells, art show, strings playing, and talking to people. I had those thoughts on the back burner when I went out to my car to discover that someone had hit it and broke the front light leaving a sizable dent. I nearly screamed in panic.
My first thought was to get in the car and get home to safety.
I stood there fighting with myself, I was telling myself to get home. You have to get home now!!! And the other part of me was saying take a picture and go back inside. I went back inside and said someone had hit my car, thankfully the person left their information for me at the desk and we can get it resolved. When I went in I said to my aunt, just when we start to get a little break something like this happens. She said, “Well their insurance will cover it so you will be fine.” I wasn’t referring to that I was referring to all that it is going to take in disrupting our household schedule to get the car fixed. We cannot just say, oh well the car needs fixed and go get it done. We have to plan; now I needed to explain in great detail to Daniel how the car got broken.
Now I needed to ease his mind and reassure him that no, the car will not get hit every time we drive it or if it is in a parking lot.
I was thinking of how we needed to adjust our schedule to get it fixed and that filled me with anxiety. Ariel’s state testing is next week — anxiety. We are meeting Daniel’s special Ed teacher next too — anxiety. David is going out of town next Sunday for several days for work — anxiety. My morning schedule will change while he is gone — anxiety. I don’t want anxiety. I do not want to spiral just because someone accidentally hit my car, but I do. I do not want to be overcome with anxiety because I am making friends or talking to people, but I do. I do not want to go into a state of anxiety because my schedule changes, but I do. And I press through it and it is exhausting! Because I knew how much my mind was feeling this I allowed myself to rest when fatigue came upon me. Last night I knew I needed a break from the computer and I decided to rest my brain and body with shows like Brain Games and I watched several other documentaries. It helped a lot, although this morning I found myself feeling the anxious scratches gnawing at my chest and heart.
I went on facebook, forced myself off — went back on again, and got refocused chatting with a friend.
Then, Ariel needed me and I found myself rethinking my anxious feelings. They are not gone, they are still here as I type, but I am not responding emotionally out of them. I feel on edge and that any moment, like the unexpectedness of the car being hit, could send me — it does not have to. I was able to come through that among the many other anxiety inducing situations I went through this week and still function well. I have been able to function well, now that is HUGE progress for me! It took listening to my body, remembering negative patterns, stopping them, and accepting the unexpected, but once again I made it. I will make it this coming week, and I will most likely be fatigued, socially hung-over, and exhausted — I always feel better and I am usually very happy that pressed on. For the moment, I feel much better, calm is easing its way into my mind and I think writing this all out has helped.
Thank you for reading! Please share any thoughts or insights you have I would love to hear them! (But give me a few days to comment back because you know anxiety and all. Ha ha ha) ;-)