I want to write so much but just don’t have the time to do it right now… So I’ll just limit it to what happened to today only.
Yesterday I bought a mini van. Today was the day to go switch the title over, register it, get the plates, and pick it up.
This morning I was nervous, so I did the thing I love doing… I gamed. Gaming calms me. I took care of my daughter, and while she played, I played World of Warcraft. Waiting for my friend, Todd, to get off of work.
He got off work and picked us up and off to the next town over we go… Only to be turned away… It seems that things have changed since I last changed my address on my driver’s license. Here in Illinois, all’s you needed was a piece of mail sent to you at your new address and, boom, you get an updated license… But not this time! Nope, this time we had to drive back to my apartment, grab my lease, and then go to the bank so I could get a bank statement… Then back to the other town to do all the fun paperwork… Ugh.
Forgot to mention that I couldn’t get the title switched over without first updating my driver’s license with my new address. Anyway…
So this all sounds like just a slight pain in the ass inconvenience, but for me it was so much more…
Today I went out for the first time with the new awareness I had of myself. Anxiety fought me the whole way, but it never got the upper hand. Almost did once, but I beat it back down. I noticed something… What triggers my anxiety a lot is I’ll out of nowhere, think my toes are going numb, or that my limbs are going cold, or other weird sensations… Then when anxiety strikes it strikes hard and my heart flutters… Usually it is here that all hell breaks loose and I loose control. Horrid cycles of thinking I’m going to die, and the physical sensations get more intense because of the anxiety, and the anxiety gets worse as the sensations feel stronger.
Now, here’s the neat thing I noticed that killed the anxiety every time it started back up. When I wrote my last post I found the walls and broke one. I remembered I wanted to stay free and needed to let go of anxiety and walk away. In the car on the way to get the van I switched focus, and for the first time in a very very long time, I let myself get sensory overload… I took in the violent shades of greens, browns, and various colors of vehicles of on coming traffic strike me, I heard the insects buzzing in the grass and woods as we rushed by, I let myself hear all the loud noises of traffic, the swoosh they make as oncoming traffic meets and passes our car, the road signs and the road itself, the brightness of everything, the sky and clouds… I breathed in deeply the aromas of hot rubber, trees, dirt, exhaust, the river, and whatever else bombarded my nose… I breathed deep and let all these things come flying at me and hit me… Then anxiety took me down a notch…
You see? Anxiety wasn’t my demon after all… Anxiety was my friend. Anxiety is what took me away from scary sensory overload and cuddled me with fears and made me focus on every possible thing that could be going wrong with my body, thus blocking out the world and all the stimuli. It protected me from sensory overload by shutting me inside where the scary world was not. Anxiety was my friend and my crutch.
But not today.. And I this is where things get kind if bizarre… I can only handle incoming stimuli from so much before I can’t anymore I guess… Let me explain… When anxiety would grip me again I opened up again to all around me and refused to think about any physical sensations to my body. And you know what? The tingling, the coldness, the fluttering of heart… All stopped.
Yes, I went into sensory overload… But I welcomed it.. It felt better than the anxiety by far… But I also noticed that when I let the outside world bombard me so… That I couldn’t feel anything physically almost. It was like I was going totally numb. Which would thus bring anxiety back. So I fiddled with my hands. Bending and opening my fingers, clasping hands together… Also things I don’t do often… Things I got bullied for as a child… And in trouble for. Fidgeting and fiddling. I didn’t want to look stupid.
But you know what? My not-caring-what-others-think-anymore came into play here. I fidgeted and fiddled away. This kept me from feeling numb, stopped that anxiety from coming back, and opening to everything around me kept anxiety at bay as well…
My anxiety turned into an adrenaline rush as sharp contrasting shadows and bright vibrant things bombarded my eyes, smells bombarded my nose, and sounds hurt my ears. I welcomed it all…
I was peacefully and happily enjoying sensory overload.
And I will continue to do so from now on… Because getting overwhelmed and stimming in public is SO MUCH BETTER than the anxiety that has robbed me of my life… And thus robbing my daughter of a normal childhood as well.
Anxiety will always be close at hand. I don’t know if I can ever truly get rid of it… But I will never stop trying… And at least it’s no longer in control now.
To wrap this up… I did get my van. White as snow, parked out front. To add in… I also went to a very good friend’s house and she invited me for dinner… Being a nervous eater I normally bolt at dinner invites. This time I accepted and stayed. Again, I was able to let go of anxiety’s hand and walk on my own
It is not impossible to regain control of your life. Never ever give up! If there is hope for me, than there is hope for all! I promise you that!!! Tomorrow will be another busy day for me, but there’s something I have been wanting to write about for awhile… I’ll see if I can squeeze in the time tomorrow evening!
Side Note: The more I blog about my struggles the more I get called “strong”… To that I say –