Anxiety can often rule my life. For the past two weeks, I have experienced higher than normal anxiety; likely caused by my recent move and a poor man choice. As I reflect over the past few weeks, I realize I should have given myself time to settle into my new home before I tackled my love life. Hindsight. Because I suffer from Generlized Anxiety Disorder, too many stressors at once are not a good thing. Not good at all.
On Monday evening my anxiety peaked. I woke up with a sense of pure dread, so I spent the day running from it: I studied, worked out for 2 hours, painted my house, walked the dog, did laundry, cleaned my house… I wore myself to the bone trying to out-run the unsettledness of my mind and body; only to end up sobbing in my tub feeling completely defeated. When my anxiety gets to this level, I have no choice but to stop and reset myself.
The first thing I do is stop drinking. This is the hardest for me, as I typically have a couple glasses of wine a night to relax. However, when the anxiety starts to increase, so does my drinking. I don’t notice it at first, or maybe I do and I don’t admit it to myself. Either way, 2 glasses turns into a bottle a night pretty quick. When I get to the point of NON-STOP crying, I know it’s time to dry out. I haven’t had a drop since Sunday night, and I don’t plan on having anything until I’m feeling better.
Step two is to be mindful of my breathing, thoughts, and eating. When I’m anxious, I hold my breath a lot. My thoughts become extremely negative and sometimes suicidal. I WOULD Never actually try to hurt myself, but when the internal pain becomes increasingly hard to bare, I question why continue. To handle the pain I cope with either food restriction or over exercising. The constant negative thoughts, lack of oxygen, and lack of food become a lethal combination. To end the cycle, I must turn my focus on mindfulness. I breath, question my thoughts, and nourish my body with healthy foods. It sounds easy, but it is not.
Once I’ve become mindful, it’s time to talk. I talk to family, and I talk to friends who know me and have seen me go through this before. I need reassurance that I am doing ok without my medication. I need to hear that I’m not crazy and that this will pass. Talking helps me sort my thoughts, but it can also make me more anxious. I worry if I’m a burden to my friends and family. My burden worries reduce the amount of time I spend talking to people. I talk, and then I withdrawal from the world for a bit. I dont’ know if this is a good habit, but it’s what I do.
Finally, I write when I’m anxious. I don’t always write about my anxiety; not directly anyway. I don’t want my blog to be a self-pity party, so I do my best to limit the negative. More often than not, I keep my writing short and humourous. Being lyrically creative increases my self-esteem which in turn, reduces my anxiety.
So that’s me right now. It’s me a lot of the time, but it’s not all I am. Hidden within the threads of my anxiety is a smart, funny, loving woman who would give anything for a day of peace. I’ve bared my anxious soul today, but do not worry. Tomorrow I’ll be back to writing about sex, wine, and rock and roll baby.