I’ve been dealing with a low key version of my typical generalized and social anxiety disorders all week, and didn’t realize it until the thing making me anxious was finally over.
But, because I’d not functioned at my usual capacity, now I have to deal with all the things I wasn’t getting done while I was anxious — and not realizing it. Which makes me slightly anxious all over again.
It goes like this…
Chronic headaches, restless nights, avoiding communication with everyone but a few people…
Wondering why it’s so difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Feeling apathetic and lethargic as I work and blog…Every. Single. Day. It’s like moving through mud.
Forgetting basic things like the fact that I read Masturbation Monday posts EVERY Tuesday night. Seriously.
Feeling overwhelmed by small things I need to do, so I let them pile up.
Keeping open a dozen extra tabs in my browser so I remember to go back and do things I have no energy to do now.
Feeling panicked over all the damn open browser tabs.
It goes on like for a week and a half, possibly longer. I have good moments, like recording podcasts and even playing with a new sex toy. But once the high of those moments passes, I’m left with the mental gunk. Gunk I can’t identify and recognize and am so lethargic, I have no energy to figure out.
And then I make an appointment I’d avoided for weeks. Not a serious or major appointment. A wax. That’s it. Something I have done for years and enjoying having done. But this time it’s in a new place with new people. And my perfectionism (a huge part of my anxiety) thinks I’m supposed to get this decision right the first time. Find the “perfect” place, and if I “fail” at this monumental task, I suck, and I’ve wasted my time.
There are few things I hate more than wasted time and inefficiencies. So it’s easier to do nothing. Except, the appointment needs to be made because I’m unhappy if I don’t go. But I’m a nervous wreck about making the “wrong” decision. These thoughts cycle over and over again, a constant litany playing at the back of my brain while I try to do other things.
Until finally, I do it. In a moment of gumption, I click a few buttons and do the fucking thing and make an appointment. And it’s easy, and I wonder what the hell is wrong with me that I took two weeks to do something so simple.
But of course, after that, is the actual appointment. Helllooooooo, social anxiety.
Meeting new people. Hoping I don’t make a damn fool of myself. Wishing I didn’t have to do this.
I manage to override the terrified part of my brain because I REALLY WANT THIS APPOINTMENT which helps. It’s no guarantee of reducing anxiety, but it gets me moving.
I walk in, and it’s lovely. The people are personable. They don’t make unnecessary small talk. We laugh and joke. By the end of the appointment, I’ve made another appointment and been my sarcastic self. AND THEY LAUGHED. They got my humor. The vibe was good. The people are nice.
What the fuck was I so anxious about?
And that, I’ve found, is the lie of anxiety. Your mind spins out of control about a thing until you do it, and you realize the worry was made up, out of proportion with reality.
Is that always true? Nope. Sometimes you have a worst fear confirmed and then your anxious brain says, “Ah ha! See?!?!?! BE AFRAID OF EVERYTHING!!!!”
But let’s say you’re relieved that all your fears haven’t come true, and (as I do) feeling foolish for having been so worried in the first place. Here comes the real rub…facing everything that went undone or was shoved to the side during that moment in time.
I’m exhausted from lack of sleep and walk around with near-migraine level pain. (My pain tolerance is ridiculous for headaches, but I think that’s because I’ve had frequent headaches since childhood. And never understood this isn’t normal. I thought everyone’s head hurt all the time, and I was a big baby for complaining. So I rarely do.)
I’ve still got dozens of open browser tabs that represent tasks that really do need to be done.
My brain is full of all the things I couldn’t think about for the past week, things that now demand my attention.
Oh, and there are all my hopes, dreams, and plans flooding back in again.
It’s enough to make me feel anxious all over again. But the weight that’s lifted when the (needless) fear is gone is more powerful — this time.
I know why I’m in this current cycle of anxiety. Stress does it to me every time, and moving is one of the biggest stressors most of us face. Things are good, but my brain doesn’t realize that yet. It’s primed for fear and worry, for what if-ing until I can’t think straight.
I also haven’t used any of my tricks for keeping myself calm. No evening journalling. No warm showers. (Baths are out in this house as we only have a shower.) Not a lot of sex — my libido is barely coherent anyway.
But I’ve faced this anxious hurdle and crossed it. Maybe I’m close to being out of this cycle and having more good days than bad — there’s no way to know until I look back later. I hope that I learn something from this episode, that a voice of reason sneaks in the next time anxiety takes over.
“Hey! Remember that last thing you were scared of? It wasn’t as bad as you feared, and you felt great when it was over.”
But who knows because anxiety is such a damned liar.
All I could do was shake my head and agree. The liar is in full force here too!
I hope things start to mellow out for you Kayla. 💜
Today seems to be a good day, so fingers crossed!
Since I know your time zone is an hour later than mine, I am seriously hoping you did not have to give in to your mild insomnia and decide to work in the wee hours of the morning. Not that I can judge, that is what I am … supposed to be … doing right now. But your name in my inbox always catches my attention. As a fellow passenger on the never-ending train that is Anxiety, in too many forms to mention, I can commiserate with your struggles.
Lately, I have been attempting to use a masking technique to deal with my smaller anxiety issues. As a mother, and former member of the corporate world, I am sure you understand the concept of wearing different hats. Masking is very similar. It is essentially putting on a virtual costume that does not have whatever anxiety I’m facing at the time. I have seen some small success with the more mild anxieties, but haven’t had the nerve to try any big ones, but also haven’t had any major disabling anxiety attacks recently either TG!
Anyway, didn’t expect this to all come pouring out, guess I’ve really missed communicating with y’all… I keep missing the lives. Goals and work, ugh, I need to take some time off!
Sending back some squishy boob hugs!!
As a big fan of both goals and work, I totally get it. We like being live on Wednesday, but I think we’re both ready to go back to mid-day streams. 🙂
And I’ve certainly used masking (though I didn’t know the name of it) as a mechanism to get through things…but I did it unknowingly BEFORE my diagnosis. I think I’m so focused on making it go away completely or stopping it before it can start too bad that I don’t spend a lot of time on figuring out how to navigate anxiety. I either fight against it completely (which is so freaking exhausting) or I give in (which isn’t always awful) — but neither is very productive or helpful.
So much to nod in agreement with. I’m never sure where the anxiety comes from, but once it hits it’s got everything you describe. Personally I’m often not sure if the anxiety is the driver of stress or the stress drives the anxiety.
And yes, when finally forcing yourself to do that thing, one of many being avoided, and finding it to be easy and simple can be a moment for reflection on the irrationality of it all. And then, bracing for the fears of dealing with all the other things now exposed on the list.
I do hope you manage to nail the liar and banish it.
I think anxiety and stress work in conjunction, so sometimes anxiety drives stress and once stress appears, it drives anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle, for sure.
I often laugh with relief when the “scary” task proves easy…and then get VERY frustrated that I let myself be scared of something so small. That’s another vicious cycle, I think.
I have never described it as anxiety, but being so damn afraid of the thing you should do and then when you have done it, you realized it wasn’t as bad after all, happens to me all the time. I try to be mindful of it, try to prepare for it, but still my brain keeps on lying to me. I wish there was a way to just let things happen, and not to overthink the things as much as I do…
What you describe sounds like anxiety to me. I think some of us are prone to worry without the official diagnosis of anxiety — for years, that was me. Until it became debilitating and I couldn’t live my life fully. Then it was anxiety. It’s frustrating, especially when you know you can be different but your brain just won’t let you…at least until the cloud of worry passes.
Very very true. I can identify with everything you said. ( I currently have 9 open tabs on my browser! 😉)
I work on five different browsers with multiple tabs open at any given point. But when my anxiety gets out of hand, those tabs MULTIPLY. It’s awful! And I guess one of my new signs, lol
I know that feeling when things are piling up and getting on top of you with home and work – and then you also have that appointment to keep or place to go – u think u can’t spare the time and question if u really want to be bothered with having to meet new people.. Then u go – and its great – u come back feeling brighter, glad u went out into the world…
Hugs and thanks for linking to SB4MH 😉
I always wish I could step back for a minute and get clarity in those moments, but those are the times when it’s hardest to find. But, thankfully, the fog lifts eventually. 🙂
so true “But who knows because anxiety is such a damned liar.”
Hang in there HUGS
Today is a good day (which helps in finding perspective) 🙂
I could relate to a few of the things you listed. I didn’t know what anxiety was until my counselor told me that I had it while in a session.
I try to be mindful more and more because it’s something “new” to me that I guess I’ve had as long as I can remember. I was still in denial until two years ago when I went on a trip without my Beloved. Man, talk about freak out. Even when I’m packing for Mr. Sam’s I will have an anxiety attack. I push past it sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes I think a person just needs to take a break from everything and anything and “shut down” for a day or so and not do anything but focus on oneself, to recharge ourselves.
Thanks for linking up this week 🙂
I found it both comforting and strange to know I’d been this way my whole life but didn’t have a name for it. It’s hard to break old habits and cycles for sure…sometimes it seems impossible. And yes, I agree…sometimes you have to hide away for a while and ignore everything else until the storm passes.
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