Stick to a very, very rigid routine. Do not break it ever, if possible.
Shitfire. I broke mine today. Not really. Sort of. I had to go to town to get some meds before we leave tomorrow. One of them would not be ready until late in the afternoon. I realize that I never go to town in the late afternoon unless there is no way around it. Also, Mr. Moon needed me to take him by a customer's house to sign some papers and then drop him off to pick up a car. All of this was just supposed to take a few minutes.
I knew that was ridiculous. It would take forever.
It did. And it was fine. Except- the anxiety clock was ticking. Gotta get the meds. Gotta get some things for Mark to eat. Gotta get back home and make supper.
I finally dropped him off to get the car and then went to get my medications and a few things for the trip and Mark's Pepsi's and frozen pizzas. That's what he likes. I am so happy to get him anything that he might possibly want. I want him to love staying here. Also, he calls me "momma" and I love him.
Prepare things in advance to reduce stress before an out-of-the-ordinary event, if event cannot be avoided.
Okay. So I don't WANT to avoid this event- going to Roseland- but that is not to say that the idea of going doesn't stress me out greatly. It does. So today I washed clothes, put my sewing things away so Mark doesn't have to work around them, made up his bed with clean sheets and a blanket, ironed a few things, and got most of my packing done.
In theory, this should be a huge relief, knowing that I will not have to do these things tomorrow before we leave.
Theories are great, aren't they?
Realities not so much.
Do not leave your "safe space place".
Unless you are truly a committed agoraphobe this is not a reasonable rule. It's not good for people to stay in their own little tiny bubbles forever and always. Not only does one sometimes need to go buy fabric and thread and groceries and shampoo and see their families, but getting away on a nice little trip with a spouse can be the very best thing for a marriage and the best thing for a marriage can absolutely be the best thing for a life and actually, lead to a reduction anxiety overall.
"Can" being the keyword here.
Also, see above about theories.
If you do leave your safe space, try very hard to travel only to another safe space where you feel comfortable and will not have to deal with too many unknowns.
Works for me. Luckily, the places that are safe for me to visit because they are so well known to me, are also beautiful and magical and I'm not just saying that. This does not reduce the anxiety level to zero, but then again, that will never happen in this lifetime no matter what.
Make sure that you have an emergency supply of whatever chemicals help you in an anxiety emergency.
This, I believe, requires no explanation. However, it is true that just knowing that there is help available if you need it, can be a real comfort and provide peace of mind.
This is quite important: Remember that although anxiety may sometimes make you want to punch someone you love, you must not. They are having to suffer through your anxiety too and may also want to punch something. Possibly you. Using good manners is the least you do for someone who is trying to be there for you. If you can keep communication open and also try to be as loving as you can, despite your own feelings, all for the better.
Remember that anxiety cannot kill you, that feelings are only feelings and that things will get better.
However, if you are suffering from anxiety and someone tells you these things, you may want to punch them. (See above.)
Try to be kind to yourself and hang on to the fact that you, too, have a right to peace, contentment, and even happiness.
This is true. Also be patient with yourself. Anxiety has many facets of fucked-upedness. One of them for me is that it takes away my ability to think clearly. I can't remember a thing for longer than a few seconds. Words escape me. My mind is as foggy as an Alfred Hitchcock movie set in London. Also, small things appear to be huge and filled with evil portent. It is absolutely necessary to try and remember that these thoughts and lack of abilities to function properly are products of the out of control chemicals and hormones which have temporarily taken over your brain.
Lists can be helpful if you remember something long enough to put it down on paper and no, you probably do not have toe cancer.
Do not be afraid to ask for help.
From those you love, from doctors, from therapists. On the other hand, do not believe everything you read on the internet. Exercise can and does help with anxiety and I am sure that meditation and other natural practices can also help. However, relying on these things alone and finding that they do not work is NOT because you aren't trying hard enough. It's because sometimes the causes of anxiety are far too deeply ingrained for commonly accepted and more natural means of "treatment" to work. Talk to your doctor! There are medications which absolutely help.
Don't be afraid to talk about it.
You would be surprised how many people suffer from anxiety, both women AND men. And it can be comforting to know that others understand what you are going through. It can also be helpful for those you are discussing anxiety with if they can talk about their own experiences. And if they haven't experienced anxiety themselves, someone they know and love has or will. A little knowledge can be powerful.
And I guess that's all for now.
Thank you for letting me talk about it. It's a hard subject as all mental health challenges can be because no matter how well educated we are on the subject, there is almost always an underlying and incredibly hurtful belief that a person can choose to be happy, can choose not to suffer. Those of us who are going through tough times can be harder on ourselves than anyone else would be. Let's try not to do that.
Okay? And if someone says to you, "What do you have to be anxious about? Your life is great!" It is quite appropriate to agree with them about how great your life is and then...punch them.
And please remember that I am not a licensed professional or any sort of professional at all.
I am just me.
Big love...Ms. Moon
I will gladly punch them for you. Much love.ReplyDelete
Love this! Some people could use a good punch........ but bon voyage to you, seems you are prepared in pretty much every way! enjoy!ReplyDelete
I'm glad you mentioned that about toe cancer because I did notice my toenail this evening and wondered. I'm glad you are going to get away to another wonderful place for awhile. I need to work that into my life too.ReplyDelete
What about that weird spot on my chest though, and my derrma called out sick and my appointment is now not tomorrow but next week.. This is all true. Enough about me. What do YOU think about that spot??ReplyDelete
Seriously this post should be headed PSA required reading. Because it's so true and honest, as are you, Mary.
I can identify with all of this and I must say that 10 mg Lexapro has worked wonders for me! What a relief not having the paralyzing anxiety attacks anymore! And, I am not crying all the time either, however, I can cry at appropriate times!ReplyDelete
I guess that I am lucky. My worst anxiety is in the middle of the night, in the middle of the dark. Tim snores away next to me. If I were to haul off and punch him, he'd wake up and begin to ask all sorts of questions, which would really make things so much worse. So. I don't. I am a firm believer in letting sleeping husbands lie.ReplyDelete
You said you were not a professional of any kind. Horseshit. You made more sense than about any 'therapist' I've ever heard. This is coming fromReplyDelete
a 25 year clinical psych nurse. Bon voyage.
You may not be a professional, but you are an expert. It must be hard work, but you are impressive with how well you live your life. I am in awe of your strength.ReplyDelete
I relate to this post with your honest look at your anxiety because I have some anxiety too. How great you have safe places to visit that are magical and beautiful.ReplyDelete
This is so helpful. Thank you so much. I suffer from a kind of muted anxiety, and I think that I'm so used to it that I've lost perspective about it, if that makes sense. I don't seek help and just plain forget. You've reminded me here of several things, and I am grateful for it.ReplyDelete
My ex-the-second suffers anxiety and his doctor keeps trying different anti depressants for him, but they don't work, some of them actually make him angry and violent so he stops taking them. Surely there is a different medication and why don't his doctors try them instead?ReplyDelete
Back to you now....that's a pretty good set of rules, routine, going to places you know you love and feel safe in, writing lists to be ticked off. All are things I do and I don't have the anxiety, I'm just set in my ways.
Well said, Mary Moon. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Chris from Boise
I feel as though you have educated me a little more about the nature of severe anxiety and how it can eat away at people. Like anybody else, I have my moments of anxiety but they are not really on a par with the state that you are referencing here.ReplyDelete
But maybe punch them in the arm, rather than the face. :)ReplyDelete
I can attest to the fact that men AND women suffer from anxiety. My dad had terrible problems with anxiety that worsened as he aged. He felt a very strong urge to control his environment and struggled with any situation with a lot of unknowns.
I'm glad you're going to Roseland, at least, a place that you know and love.
This is helpful, Mary.ReplyDelete
Sounds like all good advice to me.ReplyDelete
You've been visiting inside my head!ReplyDelete
This should be printed out, made into a pamphlet and handed out to all and sundry. Especially the "what to you have to be anxious about" types and those who tell you to get out into nature and change your diet and rub crystals and dance naked in the moonlight.
I have stumbled upon your blog and am so happy. I have suffered from anxiety from childhood. I think it relates to my father passing away when I was only three and all the changes that came after. I don't remember it but I have just never felt safe.ReplyDelete
I like you, was lucky enough to find a man that could not understand but loved me enough to help me the best way he knew. He was the constant that grounded my life and let me know I was protected no matter what happened. No many how many times I begged off a social situation or got uncomfortable, he supported me.
I lost him some years ago to cancer. I was able to keep goin for our son, still at home. Then my Mom got sick, I moved her in with me to take care of her. These things distracted me from the loss and the pain I felt. I did well. Son met a girl, love came and I was happy to make her and her son part of her family. They lived here for over three years working hard and saving for their own home. I got to be a hands on Grandma to that sweet baby.
My Mom has passed, the kids are now in a home of their own (which we raised them to do). I am alone now and the anxiety and panic have returned. I am on medication, I have been through therapy in the past. I think the thing that saved me was taking care of others. I am still trying to figure out how to keep in control mentally but my physical health has declined. I am no longer able to do what I once did. What to do, I don't know but I will keep trying. I do know that I will be reading your blog for inspration and courage. I just want you to know that you make a difference to so many people that are struggling with life and all the ups and downs that come it. Thank you for being so open and honest!!
You know I get this. Every word. Packing, man. Preparing to decamp to somewhere else. Kicks up those feelings that are just feelings every time.
I especially loved the punching part:)ReplyDelete
Steve's comment made me wonder how much anxiety my dad had. I know he suffered from depression but anxiety makes sense too.
I'm glad that you managed to get away and have a wonderful time.