Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Is for Anxiety (A Health Report Update)

Grover's advice here is actually pretty good. When I can regulate my breathing better, I don't worry or panic as much. The problem with that right now, of course, is that I'm still shaken by the bronchitis. I'm not really sick anymore, but I'm still weak as a kitten and I tire easily, making walks and exercise more of a trial. Combine that with the thin, cold air we're getting right now and my ample weight, and I'm having real chest problems. (But, my Medicaid coverage was approved, so I can actually go to the doctor now if I feel I have to, which is one anxiety gotten rid of. Who knew anxieties could actually go away? Wasn't prepared for that.)

I haven't really been talking about my health here as much lately because I've been so caught up in feeling discouraged and unworthy and depressed. It's the hardest mindset to break out of, especially when I can't really go to the physical activity that keeps me more grounded. Really, the only thing that's been helping me feel better is just eating. And that's just because when I was at my sickest, I didn't feel like eating at all. This morning, we went to my favorite local diner and had the best pancakes in town, along with some fluffy scrambled eggs, some hot coffee, and some thick, smokey bacon. It was a great time; not only that, but the diner's having a trivia contest, and thanks to being a pop culture-obsessed shut-in, I won us 50% off our next meal. Little bit of a self-esteem boost there.

I hate feeling like I'm constantly building myself back up, but never really getting to the "up" I'm trying to build myself "back" to. It's so hard to get into a better routine, especially when I get distracted so easily. I called the suicide response help line at my mental health center for the first time ever on Saturday, simply because of tech issues I was having, which always, always derail me because they tip my financial worries over the edge. It's a vicious cycle of feeling like I can't get too relaxed because that's when the problems creep in, but not being able to solve or handle problems because I can't work, which leads to feeling guilty because I'm taking all of this time out for therapy, even though the therapy is supposed to help me manage my anxiety enough to eventually get back to work. I'm distracted easily because of the guilt and fear that I don't want to face, even when--or maybe especially when--they're irrational from a logical point of view.

Oddly enough, my therapist told me she was leaving the agency, which means I'll need to transition myself to a new therapist--and that's the one thing I'm not having any anxiety about.

She was worried I'd catastrophize the situation--or worse, personalize it as further validation of my schema of worthlessness--but I understand why she's moving on and, even though the grief that comes with ending an intimate relationship will probably be there at first, I actually don't feel abandoned or anything like that. It helps that the therapist I'm transitioning to is someone I already know (my therapist's case manager; she calls every three weeks or so to talk with me and check in on my progress).

What I've been doing lately to combat all of this is, well, breathing. Breathing and disengaging with my electronic distractions. I've started giving myself a time limit, getting off the computer by 11pm and then making sure to not get on my computer right after waking up, like I usually do. This way, I get to ease into the day. I sit and close my eyes and breathe slowly, in and out, and think about what I've got to do today (if anything). I think about my fears and my depression and try to make myself comfortable with them rather than trying to outrun them. It's not always successful, and I don't expect it always will be. But it makes it easier to face the day. And getting off the computer by 11 but not going to sleep right away gives me time to decompress from the distractions and the annoyances of the day. One of the best things I'm doing right now? Stretching before bed. I actually sleep much better that way. Just a half-hour or an hour of sitting, breathing, not focusing on that damn light from the monitor, and stretching out makes me ready to sleep instead of lying there, listing my fears, frustrated that I'm not falling asleep faster.

Rest is the key. The day is easier to face when rested. And I've spent years being unable to rest.

Rest and breathe.

ABC Wednesday

(Top image via.)


Roger Owen Green said...

Frog, oddly, I always like it when you write about your anxiety, not because I enjoy your stress, but because you are so honest, which makes it interesting reading. BTW, welcome to the ABC Wednesday family.

Devilham said...

I love your writing. I really treasure being invited into your life through your blog and articles. Though I have never met you, I feel a kinship (be it through anxiety, or the alienated feelings that the 'geeks' of the world endure (and recently capitalized on via media, but not really, as a father of one can tell you, we are still a marginalized species)) with you, though not at the level it affects you, that gives me a sincere wish to see you happy and healthy. And as a member of that tribe I must say (and as an asthma sufferer) that breathing and rest are CRITICAL to feeling healthy and normal, definitely keep focusing on these things as they were a life changer for me. We aren't all the same for sure, but if you cover the basics, sometimes the rest...while not falling into place, land where they do no harm

Carver said...

Excellent post. I have also found that breathing is the best for anxiety. I'm glad you will be able to go to the doctor for the bronchitis. That can linger and be miserable and as you say makes breathing hard. Thank you for such an insightful post and for joining ABC Wednesday. Carver, ABC Wednesday Team

Lisa said...

Grover is probably my favorite Sesame Street character...along with Elmo! There is much wisdom in this very simple, basic statement. Your writing is full of such raw honesty, and I'm sure others feel the same way you do and will relate to your thoughts, Perhaps writing is a way to ease that anxiety. I sincerely hope you find some joy in life to help balance your heart and mind.

Leslie: said...

Wow! Been there and still visit occasionally. I've been on meds for anxiety for hmmm let's see...probably 10 years now. And it's really helped - I'm not zoned out or anything - I am just calmer and can deal with the issues as they arise. A few visits with a psychologist helped me understand where it was coming from and how to let it go, but unfortunately am still on the meds. What the heck - it helps. Sounds like you're working hard at this and I'm wondering if maybe you should try to NOT work so hard at it and just let life happen - don's listen to me; I don't know you or your situation but do keep on writing here. Let's see, B could be for all the "bullsh*t" involved. LOL Look forward to seeing you again next week & a BIG welcome to ABCW.

abcw team

Kelly Sedinger said...

I hope your posts on this topic serve as a sort of aid to other people suffering from anxiety issues. Lots of times, knowing that the feelings are real and that they affect others can be a can be a good thing. Continued best wishes!

(And the juxtaposition of this post and the one immediately below it is kinda nifty. Not that you planned it!)