Reading posts on Speak your Truth about living with anxiety has given me the strength to share my own struggle. Not as a means to gain sympathy but in the hopes that someone else will read this and find strength much the same way I found strength from Stephanie Neighbour’s blog. Living with anxiety, agoraphobia, depression, etc., you often feel alone and ashamed, afraid someone will find out your secret and think less of you. The internet has provided a space where from the safe anonymity of the computer screen we can find that we are not alone.
I have lived with anxiety and bouts of seasonal depression for most of my life. In the last couple of years, I have experienced life-altering events that have exacerbated this. I now battle agoraphobia. I am not housebound more like neighborhood bound. On my worst days, I am in my room and on good days I am out walking around the neighborhood with my daughters and our dogs. Being in a car is much more than I can handle most days so I try to avoid cars. This has been the hardest struggle because my job requires some traveling. I used to travel all the time. Most months you would find me gone almost every weekend. In the last year, I have stopped pretty much traveling even for work which has caused some hardship. I haven’t owned a car in about 3 years so that has enabled me to stop most of my traveling. This is something I am really trying to overcome. I am trying to get a car because I think if I owned a car and I could drive every day, it would help me to stretch my boundaries and overcome my agoraphobia. Each day pushing the limits driving a little farther and a little longer until I could travel again. I would so love to travel as I did before.
I do not take regular medication for my anxiety. I do have a rescue medication if I have a really bad panic attack. I use cognitive behavior therapy to try to manage my anxiety. Over the years, I have developed little techniques that help me. One of the things I do is write through my anxiety. When I am feeling anxious and out of control before it gets to the point of panic, I write in my journal. I write through my anxiety, looking at it from outside as if I am writing as a character in a novel. It allows me to distance myself while exploring the situation. I write until I am calm. This is just one of the many techniques that can be used. I also use distractive thinking such as running the ABC’s in my head, repetitive counting on my fingers, singing, and Lamaze breathing things that distract my mind from the anxiety loop. Below is a journal entry of writing through my anxiety. Maybe it will help you. Writing helps me.
Feeling very nervous and overwhelmed already today and I have only been awake for around 30 minutes. Naming it what it is anxiety. Recognizing it for what it is anxiety. Anxiety that anxious feeling of foreboding and impending doom for no logical reason. Over dramatization of the situation. Getting stuck in the loop in my head and not being able to escape.
The broken record plays and loops around
the same thing over and over
until I feel I am going to lose touch with reality
until I feel that my mind will break and
I will be never more. Lost in a land of insanity
waking sedated tied to a bed
not knowing where I am or how I got there.
Anxiety my oldest friend
coming to visit in the wee hours of my youth
moving in to cohabitate in my 40’s
inviting friends like
to come and visit
Like fish company starts to stink after three days
and this company has started to rot.
They say recognizing it for what it is helps. Naming it helps to break the loop playing in your head. Naming it helps you to see that it is what it is and that is all that it is. That’s what they say. So I have named it. I have called it what it is. I have written it down and still the loop plays.
I am breathing through it.
Trying to distract my mind
by reciting my ABC’s
Techniques I have taught myself.
Waiting for the calm to come.
Waiting for the Goddess
to reach out her hand of compassion
touch my soul
break the loop
drown out the sounds with her voice.
Waiting for the peace to return at least for a little while until the next time until that phone call until that knock at the door until that change in routine that will wake it and open the door for its friends to come and sit a spell in my mind. Taking up space, pushing me out, playing the record and laughing as I sit huddled in the corner waiting to be saved by that hand of compassion.
You must find center.
-I know, I am trying. I feel as if I am spinning out of control.
No one is in control.
Let go and let the universe hold you.
-Letting go is the hardest part.
I know but you are safe my child. You are safe. I will hold you in the palm of my hand until your fears subside. I am here.
Tears are the release do not hold them back. Let them flow as you fill with peace and light let them wash away all the sins and carry away all the fear. Forgiveness and peace fill you. Love and light surround you. I am here.
You are not alone.
I am here.