In many ways, these last two-three weeks have been rougher than the past few months combined. Things seem to have really come to a head, in terms of anxiety/depression. My sleep has been poor and my appetite non-existent. Luckily I have been getting a three-pronged approach to healing, in the form of medication, therapy and reaching out for support to friends and loved ones. I have to keep reminding myself that these things take time!
I thought for this post that I would focus on some positive things I’ve been learning from my therapy. I was given some reading and I have come to understand a lot more about what I’m going through, so it doesn’t seem like a big, scary unknown thing.
Here are some reassuring passages I’ve pulled from my reading. This comes from “The Causes of Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia” from the Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders Phobia and Anxiety Disorders Clinic:
Anxiety cannot continue forever nor spiral to ever increasing and possibly damaging levels. This is really important for me to remember when I am going through a panic attack, that eventually my parasympathetic system will kick in and my anxiety will decrease.
Even after the danger has passed you are likely to feel keyed up or apprehensive because the chemicals are still in your system. In other words, relief may not come immediately. But it will come.
One of the first effects [of panic] is an immediate and automatic shift in attention to search the surroundings for potential threat. Thus, it can be very difficult to concentrate on daily tasks when one is anxious. This is soooo true. My ability to concentrate on almost anything has been shot to hell these past few months. Work is a huge struggle. I find it difficult to focus on reading or even TV. I am able to manage some easy chores, or things like BuzzFeed lists and short YouTube clips. I find I often pick up something and forget to finish it, or I’ll do something and not even remember that I’ve done it because I wasn’t paying attention.
Humans generally cannot accept having no explanation for something. In many cases, therefore, when people cannot find an explanation for their sensations they turn their search upon themselves. In other words, “if nothing out there is making me feel anxious, there must be something wrong with me.” For the first two months of my illness, this took the form of extreme, obsessive health anxiety. Following that came the fear that I was going crazy.
Another important thing that I have been trying to take to heart from my therapy is this: that I should treat this as seriously as a physical illness, and allow myself time to heal, rest and be good to myself. My mind and body have been through so, so much and I don’t need to push or rush anything.