Been a while since I checked in for my anxiety. I've been taking time to just really examine what's happening and try get my life back under control.
For the most part life is manageable. At first I was unsure if I would just be "cured" once I started taking Zoloft. It sure felt like it the first couple months. After 4 months it's safe to say that's not the case, but it sure helps a lot.
A way I like to explain it to people is like this: Say a scale of 1 to 10 is the scale of stress management for someone without an anxiety disorder. Side by side mine would be a 3. Maybe 4 on a good day. Before I was on zoloft, it was 0. Anything and everything sent me off the deep end, as I'm sure you know if you've sought out this post.
As I've been just trying to live normally, I've been observing how quickly I hit that ceiling of 3 to 4. Driving for example is much easier to deal with. I don't hit that ceiling anymore, there's a certain amount of relaxation when I have my music and I'm alone on the road.
A typical day at work, however, can go either way really. The biggest factor is usually which coworkers I end up working with. There are certain people that if I'm working with them, I'm gonna have a fantastic day. Others not so much. The worst part is actually knowing it's gonna be a hard day before it even starts, it can be difficult to stay positive. When I'm working with the difficult ones I hit that ceiling quickly. When that happens I find it helps to just take 5-10 minutes, turn off the lights in the office, and breathe in deeply through my nose and exhale through my mouth using the 5-2-5 rhythm (inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 2, exhale for 5). Putting my head down and just letting go of any clinging thoughts helps as well.
One area which has really improved is the scenario building. Anxiety BC has a great definition for it:
GAD worry can also be described as "scenario building". That is, worry is often an attempt to try to think about every possible scenario in the future, and then trying to plan for it. For example: "What if I don't have enough money to pay the bills? Well, I could probably borrow money from family or from the bank; but what if no one lends me the money? I might get another job; but what if I don't find another job that pays more, etc.That constant computation of possible outcomes was probably the most irritating part once the anxiety became overwhelming. It felt necessary. I've always hated surprises. My family was always of the type that had a schedule, and if you threw the schedule off everything fell apart. People got angry. If you said you'll show up at 6, you better be there at 6. Because we eat strictly at 6:15, then we have dessert at 6:20, in which case we go out at 6:50. That kind of thing. If it's 6:05 and you're not there, worry sets in.
I feel like I was born into needless worry. Which is probably true. I've come at odds with my wife on notes like this at times because she comes from a very relaxed, welcoming, and familial background. We were invited to a barbeque at 9:00 PM, and this had upset me because I didn't plan for it. My mindset was ready to have a cup of coffee, watch a movie, and go to bed early. It's really not a big deal, but it was for me. I didn't want it to be, but that's just how I was conditioned.
Nonetheless, I feel like that part of my mindset is finally changing. I do feel much more relaxed in my thinking, and just remembered the scenario building for the first time in a couple months. I'm often haunted by certain conditions from my childhood, but it's becoming more and more fleeting as I'm comfortable in leaving things behind.
For now I'm just living one day at a time. Enough worry in the present to be bogged down by the possibilities in the future.
P.S. Avoid Walmart if you have an anxiety disorder... I thought I was ready after 4 months. Not the case!
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