I have a confession to make – I’ve had a bit of a relapse with my anxiety.
After more than six months of standing up for myself, taking control by making decisions, and telling everyone from my mom to Ellen Degeneres about EMDR therapy, I’ve had a rough couple of months.
When my therapist asked me what was going on to trigger all this anxiety, I wasn’t sure what to say at first because here aren’t any “huge” changes going on in my life. But then I realized it was a bunch of small things – which is exactly what usually causes anxiety.
For one, things have been shaken up, stirred, and shaken up again at my 9-5. While my office job isn’t my dream job, I do, in general, like it, and know I’m good at it. But some sudden staff changes have left us in a bit of a state, and I had to take over for another position until we found someone to replace the prior person. We also recently had some pretty serious flooding in the area, so the hundreds of cars that got totaled in that disaster are finding their ways to us faster than we can keep up.
Things at home are different too – after spending five years on second shift, my husband got a transfer to a daylight position – something we’ve been dreaming about for a long time. While we’ve been waiting our entire marriage to be on the same schedule, the adjustment has been more complicated than I thought it would be. It’s great to be able to see and talk to J every day, but after spending nearly five years by myself every evening, it’s difficult having another person’s energy around. Concentrating on writing is nearly impossible while he’s playing XBox or watching Formula One Racing, and while I can certainly migrate to the spare bedroom/office, there is almost inevitably a pile of (his) clothing on the desk that I have to put away before I can set my laptop down to work. Even cooking, cleaning, and walking the dog has been impacted by his own agenda and ways of relaxing, and it’s been quite complicated navigating the daily emotions that range from affection to blatant and total irritation.
Our trip to London is also barreling towards us faster than a freight train. I’m still very excited, but now that it’s roughly 90 days away, the terror is started to set in. I keep conjuring up images of planes crashing into the Atlantic Ocean, getting lost in the haunted Tower of London, and arriving at our our hotel in the middle of the night only to find that they mixed up our reservations, forcing us to live on the streets for a week.
There was also my first writers’ conference, which left me feeling simultaneously inspired/intimidated and incredibly proud/self-conscious of my works in progress.
Oh and summer is here in all of its party/wedding/bridal shower/cook out/parade/picnic glory, causing my calendar to be cluttered with event reminders and my wallet to be hemorrhaging like a stuck pig.
So the tightness in my chest has returned (although that could be from the oppressive heat and humidity that I swore I wouldn’t complain about back when seven inches of snow fell on April freaking seventh), and I’ve had to go back to basic coping mechanisms like deep breathing and positive self-talk. Needless to say, I feel like I’ve taken a few steps back in handling my anxiety.
But the good news is that now that I know there actually is another side to my anxiety and depression, I’m able to tell myself that the feeling will pass when I’m laying in bed feeling mentally and physically like garbage. I’m able to remind myself how good it will feel to be productive and happy again when the episode passes.
Coming back from an anxious or depressive episode is like having a cold and waking up that one glorious morning to discover you can breathe through your nose again. When you regain consciousness and breathe in that sweet stream of air through your nose, it’s the most glorious feeling in the world. The key to getting yourself through the sickness is to think about that glorious moment when you’re dealing with the worse of the cold.
I still have lots to get through this summer – most of them are fun events, but they are also those that require lots of planning and a certain amount of money, which is where the stress comes in. So I’m trying to take things day by day, one event at a time, hoping I can ease into fall and our trip to London without being a total anxiety case.
Until then, I’ve got my bi-weekly EMDR appointment, my lavender essential oils, and the fabulous music of Herr Mozart to get me through.