Managing Anxiety

Positive self talk:

“Ah, come on. Eat a meal. You’re hungry. Stop being such a little pussy.”

😆

What can I say? It’s the environment I was raised in. There’s times to be gentle and compassionate, and there’s other times to be your own obnoxious teenage brother.

I had anxiety today and I am pleased to announce that I dealt with successfully.

Much of this comes down to accepting it. Which is a thing I learned from Dr. Claire Weekes, famous author and anxiety treatment pioneer.

Usually something sets the stage for anxiety. For me sleep deprivation is a big trigger. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. Wide awake.

Okay then. Too early to work, even, so I start planning for Christmas shopping and other small personal tasks.

So far, so good. But I knew it was coming.

And it came around noon as I tried walking outside. Not too long after that second cup of coffee. Because what do we do when sleep deprived? We drink coffee, of course. Which contributes even more to anxiety.

I walk the neighborhood a few times, and suddenly I’m uncomfortable. My throat is sticking. The old throat freeze. My eating disorder started with this throat issue. I get real focused on my throat and my perception that it’s not functioning. Probably because it does get a little tighter with anxiety or something, but then my Anxiety Imagination of course turns this into a “my throat does not work”scenario. If you’ve ever had anxiety you know what I mean.

I stay calm to the best of my ability. We have been here before. Your throat works fine. Shut up. Accept it. Let it float over like a river. Go home and have an Epsom soak in the tub. Set a timer for 20 minutes and keep your ass submerged the whole time. Use 3/4 of a bag, not just 2 cups.

So I did that, and I helped. It was the combination of acceptance and a hot soak. Acceptance is key. How do I know this? Because I’ve taken baths in the past during panic or anxiety that didn’t work. I can remember in the past how one time a bath actually increased the “throat closing up” feeling because of the temperature change. Presumably because I was already in a state of sensitivity such that a sudden temperature change freaked my body out.

Whatever interventions you choose, acceptance has to come first.

Acceptance is the solution, and whatever else you do is providing additional support to the solution.

This can be hard for anxiety sufferers to wrap their head around. Particularly if they are new to anxiety.

2019 – there I am, therapist office, “Can’t you do something to make this stop?!”

She patiently explained that I need to get myself feeling safe. Without directly saying it, she basically communicated that this is an inside job. It’s a solo thing that you have to work out for yourself.

And she was right.

It also helps to have a backup plan. Okay. I was in the tub, still a bit nervous, but, again, I had that basic backround of acceptance going for me.

So I made a backup plan.

“Okay. If this doesn’t work, I’m going to rub one out. Even if I have to go about it the crude way and watch some porn” (because I was not in the mood, but porn will get nearly anyone in the mood if they are connected to their basic lizard self).

Laugh all you want, but I have read articles about this and I have lived experience. Nobody can be anxious during or after orgasm.

incidentally, it did not come to that. (pun!)

The Epsom soak nailed it. I went back to work and now I feel great. I am eating. That says everything.

Point is, I embraced acceptance. Then I gently made an action plan. While I was in the middle of the first option, I employed a section option as backup. A parachute.

Calm acceptance and staying connected to logical planning mind.

It’s good to feel non anxious.

Of course, I have not got my need for outdoor time met today. You also have to learn to make compromises.

I’m on 4 hours of sleep. Walking outside is generally too challenging during such times. It kicks up my anxiety. Light, noise, other people.

So? Have a day off from walking. Sheesh. Ain’t no thang. It’s a good day to do nothing and go to bed early.

this is how I am learning to think.

we the anxiety people often think we need to go-go-go and do-do-do. Because we – and if it’s true of me, it’s true of others – we were not accepted just for existing in our formative years.

We had to fit some kind of mold. Maybe we were made to feel lesser because we did not fit that mold quite right.

We have to prove to ourselves that we have value. Move! Go! Get that done!

For me, when I have nothing else,usually I will move my ass.

This is partly genetics and probably blood type or something, but also partly because then I feed my ego which likes to think that I am naturally athletic and takes pride in that.

So if I am inside too much I can get cranky but on a day like today I counter it with “okay you woke at 330 and overcame anxiety. A stroll to the mailbox is fine but we’re not doing a 2 hour power walk and that’s okay.”

It’s a work in progress, really. This acceptance thing has to be reinforced continually.

I am getting better at it. Moments of anxiety rarely last more than a half hour now.

3 thoughts on “Managing Anxiety

    1. 💜 Thanks Holly. I really appreciate that you see the change that is happening here. That means a lot to me because nobody is witnessing it and yet it’s fucking huge.
      So thank you. Again.

      Like

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