Friday, July 19, 2013

Anxiety


...and I'm here to kick your ass.

I don't know what triggered it and I don't know how to circumvent it but this is what I believe is going on with me right now.

Anxiety.

I have never thought I had any issues with being anxious.  It never occurred to me (I know...I'm a special kind of stupid) that it might be an issue.  That's because every time this feeling would come over me I'd pick up a glass (bottle) (bottles) of wine and make the feeling go away.  I'd go all day, white knuckled until I could get home and get that first sip of 'ahhhh and then proceed to obliterate the rest of the evening.  And then do it all over again the next day.

In fact, toward the end of my drinking I didn't get beyond mildly anxious before I picked up my trusty glass, so I know I couldn't/didn't recognize it for what it was.

Anxiety.

(This is one of those brick upside the head moments for me so bear with me while I work through it.)

I've noticed the last month or so that I'm not sleeping as soundly as I had been.  My shoes don't fit.  I can't get comfortable.  I put it off to weight gain but I haven't gained any extra weight.  My freaking skin doesn't feel like it fits.  I can't shut down my brain long enough to pray or meditate.  I don't feel like I'm being a good wife or mom or coworker.  I'm having trouble breathing.  I'm kind of itchy on my arms and legs.

Heart attack?  Not likely.  The flu?  Nope.  Allergies?  Nuh-uh.  Anxiety?  Um...maybe.  Who am I kidding...yes.

This isn't just feeling anxious - I, like everyone else, feel that from time to time and it passes.  This is something that has been slowly building like a tidal wave rumbling away, out in the ocean, slowly making its way to shore where it feels as if it will completely overwhelm me at any second.  And I'm trying to run...in sand.

I've been thinking about my pink cloud.  It's been gone for awhile now.  I think it was eaten by anxiety.  I know it was there in the beginning of my sobriety, went away for awhile and then came back stronger than ever.  I can read back through my posts and see that.  But for the past few months it's been gone.  I've been looking around to other things to try and get it back.  Food.  The hubs.  The kids.  The house.  Work (let's apply for several new jobs shall we?).  School (graduate school anyone?).

Sound familiar?  I'm looking outside for something that should be coming from inside but that can't get in because anxiety has build a goddamned (little g) fortress around me and won't let me get to where I need to be.  It wants wine but I have long since moved past that and won't wake that motherfucker up no matter what happens.

And it's not that I'm unhappy, it's just that I can seem to find peace.  That inner smile you get when the rest of the world is losing it's mind and you know it's going to be just fine.  You know...Faith.  I had it in my hands for the briefest of moments...I want it back in the worst way.

Funny thing, at the beginning of the year I chose Faith as my word for the year.  I think I chose it because I knew I needed to work on maintaining it.  And that's what I've been trying to do but Anxiety has gotten in the way.  I don't believe in Satan or hell as we're taught to believe it when we're young, but I do believe there are evil forces in the universe that work to separate us from God (Higher Power, the Big Guy...whatever) and I FIRMLY believe that anxiety is one of them.  It clouds my head and my heart and makes me crazy and not able to pray.  Yeah...that's evil if you ask me.

Now comes the hard part.  What in the name of all that is holy do I do about it?

I'm taking calls...the lines are open.  What do you do about anxiety?

Namaste


16 comments:

  1. Please don't laugh at me but this is what I do: I fake it until I make it..." I too am a special kind of stupid. It works about 75% of the time. I just get on with my day, smile, stay busy and pretend nothing is wrong and I am feeling fine.

    Hey! It works for me umm some of the time....sorry it's all I got.

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  2. Anxiety many times comes from us living in the future instead of the present. Live in the present. When you need to focus on the present and get out of your head I have found that breathing in and out of your nose while saying to yourself the air is going into my nose, the air is going ou of my nose. This exercise keeps you in the present and can help with anxiety of the future. Breath.... It's okay now and that is what is important

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  3. Anxiety is rooted in fear. Banishing fear is my goal for the year. Like you with your goal...I have mixed results so far. My pink cloud comes and goes as well. I'm trying to learn to be pacient with myself. I self-medicated most of my life. I can't expect to learn how to handle everything over night.

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  4. Oh, lord. Lots of deep breaths. Some Brene Brown. It's like the scene in Willy Wonka on the boat where things are all frantic and scary and then it just.....stops. Stop. Take a breath. Listen to you. Anxiety is a bitch. When it hits just say "May I be at peace". Take a walk. Ask for a hug. Cry and ask for help. Take care of self- be gentle, but not permissive. Follow self rules. Take the reins. Love who you are right now. Not the 20 lb. lighter you, this you. You are OK just as you are, right this very moment- see you as I see you. Amazing friend and shoulder to lean on. Kind smile. Dedicated mom and wife. Hard worker. Soul-full. Sober. Self-full. And don't forget the breathing. Big deep ones. Namaste. :)

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  5. This is amazing you guys...thank you. So. Much.

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  6. I love this blog, and I love you, baby...keep the thoughts coming... bringing them out helps to put them in order....the comment part about living in the future is important...give yourself a break and don't forget the breathing...

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  7. Tough battle.

    You have to just keep looking at what is causing it and work through whether there is anything you can do now. If not what and when can you? Write that down and do it at the time you agree with yourself.

    Takes time but can get better. Then it strikes again that is the battle.

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  8. I found out about Tara Brach from Mrs D's blog. If you Google "tara brach self compassion" you'll find a couple of amazing video talks. Her techniques are simple, profound and effective -- and for me, they have really helped turn down the anxiety levels, and made space for some joy and relaxing.

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    Replies
    1. I agree! Her book Radical Acceptance is phenomenal!

      http://www.amazon.com/Radical-Acceptance-Embracing-Heart-Buddha/dp/0553380990

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    2. Amazing, this is a valuable tip - I will get that book!Thanks Anonymous and runningonsober for sharing!

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  9. We're not entirely sure what specifically causes anxiety,but anxiety disorders, as with other mental illnesses, are not the result of personal weakness or character defects, Rather, we know these disorders are caused by a combination of factors, including changes in the brain and environmental stress.

    I adopt the belief that anxiety disorders are caused by chemical imbalances in the body and therefore I take a prescripted med two times a day. With appropriate medication, psychotherapy when indicated, and ensuring I take time each week to replenish my mind, body, and soul,, I have been leading a relatively NON-ANXIETY RIDDEN LIFE !!!

    Oh, did I mention the assurance of going somewhere with white sandy warm beaches every January!!! This is most definitely recommended when one lives in MN where the sun disappears for weeks
    hugs, my friend!!!

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    Replies
    1. I honestly think (not kidding here) that a week at the beach would solve a lot of this.

      Thanks for the comment - you rock.

      Sherry

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  10. Oh boy, girlfriend, sounds like you've been having some mild panic attacks. I have them-and sometimes I feel like I am literally going to die--- chills, sweats, clamminess, impending doom, rapid heart beat, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing. I'm usually triggered by crowds or feelings of no escape, sometimes even the dreaded phone ringing, but sometimes it lingers right under the skin no matter what is going on. I used to take Paxil, but that just made me feel like a zombie and I was sleeping ALL the time.

    Now I run to tire out the anxiety. I listen to music, I play with the dogs, I sit and take deeeep breaths, I conjure up my "happy place" in my mind, I keep a notebook with me and if some thought makes me anxious, I write it down and get it out of my head. I write about it on my blog. I count my blessings. I "talk" to my mom who died a couple of years ago. I reach out to others and try to be of service--helping others can really help yourself. All those things calm me down.

    Have you had your thyroid checked? If levels are off just a tad, it can really screw with your emotions. And even a saliva-hormone test to check estrogen/progesterone/testosterone levels... And watch your caffeine intake too.

    You're meeting a new doc next month, right? That could help too!
    Love ya, C-

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  11. It's amazing how we do not look into ourselves! Still... it sort of makes sense, our eyes are placed in such way that we always look outwards ;) Then, I guess, it comes natural to look outwards for solutions and causes to our problems, anywhere but inside ourselves.

    Neither I have any solution for anxiety... I comfort eat, it helps momentarily. I cry, it too helps for a moment, blog about it and take any chance that I get to talk to someone about it. Unfortunately that doesn't happen very often, but blogging sure helps.

    Anxiety is scary and I want nothing to do with it, but there's one thing that sometimes helps. That I, where ever I am, remember to be in the Now. Right there and then - I ask myself if I have any pressing problems? Usually there actually isn't anything in that second. I tell myself to let go of the past, because the past doesn't exist any longer it's only a memory. And right in that second I don't look into the future, it hasn't happened yet. All there is, is just me and the present moment. Just purely me and nothing else (which is a relief as I normally carry around people in my head, unkind people and people who don't know better).

    You are such a wonderful and remarkable woman Sherry, I truly hope that the anxiety eases off. Take care my friend *hugs*

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  12. RoS -

    Yes, next month (on the same day no less) I'm seeing both my psychiatrist AND my doctor. I want a thorough blood workup (including thyroid) and I want to know what's going on. If it's panic attacks then okay (I've had them before...I'm thinking you might be right) but I want to be sure there's nothing going on with those hormones. (I tried the Paxil too - hated it and won't take it again.)

    I know I need to get back to exercise but this crazy time at work just doesn't leave time for it. But it's almost over so I'll be back to the cardio and yoga soon...I'm sure that will have an impact.

    Thanks for the lovely comment and the email. They really helped.

    Sherry

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