Friday, January 27, 2017

Talking about Anxiety

Inspired by a friend's Facebook status, this is a bit more stream-of-consciousness musing than narrative or informative.

"Religion was a wonderfully effective cloaking mechanism for the obsessive, racing thoughts," my friend wrote. "Oh, good god," I thought. I was raised Catholic, and I'll never know how being indoctrinated with incessant guilt precisely influenced my growing up with constant anxiety, but I'm still mad as hell.

Getting treated for depression (wellbutrin now) and self-diagnosing adult ADD (both within the last 3 years) has helped me A LOT in managing my anxiety. Learning about executive dysfunction and that I'm not just a fuckup has been key. When I feel on the verge of a meltdown, I can now recognize it for what it is, treat myself with compassion, and work through it, and often avoid it.

Regular mindfulness meditation sometimes helps me, yoga definitely helps, developing specific habits as a reaction to ADD has helped: training myself to put my keys, glasses, phone always in one of two places they belong; training a habit of making a mental note of the location of my car in relation to the building I'm entering EVERY SINGLE TIME; and perhaps others I don't even consciously recognize.

Learning to treat and act upon "maybe" feelings as if they are a "No" in physical/romantical situations has been HUGE.

I feel like Orlando broke me, and I had to pull WAY back from SJ/political posting and engagement on FB. My mood/anxiety have been a lot better because of that choice, but there's still that old guilt.

Completely quitting web dating for 8 months at a time was AWESOME for my anxiety and stress levels.

I'm slowly learning to recognize earlier when I'm becoming overwhelmed in a place or situation and giving myself permission to turn down invitations, cancel plans, and leave abruptly (as needed), trusting that good friends will understand and not take it personally.

I worry I'm framing this all as happy successes, but the truth is that it's taken a lot of damn work to get here, and I still go through cycles of needing to see a therapist regularly and not infrequently taking mental health days from work.

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