Racing Thoughts and Anxiety
I used to and still on occasion, ok more then just on occasion, obsess about the past and the future. I have trouble just being in the moment. I have the tools but applying the tools is very different. Here’s where the raw, real Amy is beginning to be revealed and this is how I hope to achieve what I’m setting out to do by writing about my challenges and struggles and how I deal with them.
My mind races when I’m overwhelmed, in public, in crowds and I try desperately to hold it together until I’m in the safety of my room where I usually loose it and have a full blown panic attack. I have developed some tools to help me deal with my anxiety and fear of leaving my home. One is music. I put my headphones in, I do my shopping and get out as quickly as possible.
I try very hard to avoid clusters of people, cluttered aisles and do the best I can to avoid having to answer phone calls or texts because they distract me while I”m trying to hold myself together and get my grocery shopping done. I keep it to a minimum. When I was leaving the grocery shopping until we were out of everything it was disastrous for my kids, me and anyone in my way. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t focus and all I wanted to do was get home and in my room. I would get paralyzed in my car knowing I had other stores I had to go to and I’d cry, freak out and loose it. I’d have no choice but to go home and worry about the rest of the shopping the next day and similar situations would happen.
So, doing the shopping in smaller, daily outings is conquering two issues or goals. I am leaving my house and I am getting only the things we need that day. I have found that this is also saving us money on food I’m throwing in the cart without thinking and then it goes to waste later. I have wasted so much money on food that went bad from my panicked shopping experiences. Now I also bring one of my sons with me to help let me know what they need and what they don’t want otherwise it will go bad. This also achieves the goal of caring for my bad back. They are with me to carry the bags instead of me trying to do everything myself. This is huge for me. I have trouble asking for help, even from my two teenage boys.
Meditation works so wonderfully for anxiety. The trouble with social anxiety is meditation is impossible even when I’m safe in my car. There’s people walking past my car, I’m self conscious and humiliated and I leave. Sometimes before I’ve even gone into the store or worse, seen a doctor because I cannot sit in waiting rooms. Other days I can, if I’m comfortable and it’s a place I have been to several times before. Many times I end up leaving, dentists, eye doctors, my back doctors and worse, my counselor’s office. I have learned to tell the receptionist I will be outside, I give her my number and I find a place I can be away from people, put my headphones in and listen to guided meditations or ambient, calming music. This has changed so much for me. I’m able to attend appointments I never could before. The solutions and tools are there, we just have to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
I journal my feelings and thoughts when I’m calm and safe. I try to remember triggers or anything I could have avoided to accomplish my tasks. If I’m able to handle whatever public outing I’m on, I write about what I did that made it successful. I’m learning and that is hope. That is progress. This is the real, raw Amy.