This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.
As I mentioned in my last anxiety post, I nicknamed my therapist “Rubi” (for a variety of reasons, the foremost of which is that he’s a jewel, a gemstone of a therapist, even if I can’t spell “Ruby”). I also explained that my most recent “homework” has been to assign a numeric value between 1 and 10 to anxiety when it rears its head. To recognize it and feel it, but also try to come up with statements which might calm me by affirming truths about my worries, anxieties and fears. “I HAVE felt this way before, and it passed!”
Well, I had a chance to work on my homework Monday when anxiety did some ugly head rearing. Robert and I received some frustratingly unwelcome news. (Which I may write about in another post.)
Later in the afternoon I finally remembered to assign the anxiety a number. And by that time it had, of course, grown.
To a 6, maybe a 7. (I never feel exactly confident in this exercise.)
This higher level of anxiety for me is often accompanied by its two cohorts: my perceived inability to breathe efficiently and a fear of (this is disgusting) nausea and even throwing up, exacerbating the breathing problem. Probably far TMI here.
The fellow below is wearing what I perceive as my experience/problem/issue with notched-up GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder):
The headset provides him with a “virtual reality,” quite different from “normal.” Which seems a bit similar to how I regard my heightened anxiety. It tends to block out (put a red light before?) everything in my immediate experience except itself. So. Very. Frustrating. I keep “staring” at it, feeling it, and to my exasperation, I guess in a way I become my anxiety. And it becomes my reality. Not my blog’s most often see-how-happy-Neal-is version.
GAD’s version of Neal.
I texted Rubi to tell him the news Robert and I received. Well, that was the presenting reason I messaged. I also wanted, I suppose, SOME IMMEDIATE HELP. He’s a therapist, for goodness’ sake.
After some soothing, warm empathy and encouragement, Rubi helped me see that there was actually a little green light right there on the side of my anxious “headset.” Maybe not an instant out, but a way around or through. Easy for him to say, he was looking from the outside. See how clear it is from that perspective!
“Just stay in the moment. Anxiety is all about what hasn’t yet happened.”
Rubi gave me a little jewel.
When I’m not wearing the headset, I too can easily see the green light. But when the contraption is strapped so very tightly on my head?! Hmmm.
Also when I’m in the moment of strong anxiety, I tend to forget that there are other things in the moment as well.
* My breath.
* My bodily sensations grounding me to earth and to life.
* My personal truth statements waiting to remind me that I am resilient and I’ve gotten through all this before.
* The sudden epiphany that Rubi’s homework level is a 6 or 7 and NOT a 9 or 10.
* My even-with-anxiety dignity.
Anxiety too often has me looking straight ahead, in a dark place, at red-light fears which haven’t even happened yet.
Good therapy teaches that I can raise my hand to find the green light switch.
Confession: I certainly like saying, “Goodbye, Anxiety!” (pretending that it is gone for good … “I’m so fixed!”) a whole bunch more than “Hello, Anxiety” (not quite so welcoming and definitely without the exclamation point).
But don’t tell Rubi. That will just mean more homework.