I have intrusive thoughts. Aside from my insomnia, it’s probably the biggest symptom of my anxiety.
Last night, after going to therapy again, I had a panic attack in the parking lot. Then around 2 a.m. this morning, I awoke from a dream — a nightmare, essentially. I was on a walk around the neighborhood with my children. Michael was way ahead of us. He came across what looked like construction equipment, and climbed up on it. It looked like someone was cutting branches off trees.
Well, he climbed up on a platform full of bark and woods. I called to him to get down from there, and even as I was shouting, he got dumped into a nearby dumpster full of branches and leaves and bark. Fortunately, he was able to climb out. I woke from the dream with a start, and my VERY FIRST THOUGHT WAS: “What if that were a wood shredder instead of just a dumpster?”
THANKS, STUPID ANXIETY BRAIN. Next, it wanted me to catalog all the ways my children could die, with getting hit by a car at the top of the list. While I watch helplessly, naturally.
I don’t remember what I did to shut it down, but it worked. I think I just said, “No. No I am not doing this. Everyone is fine, and sleeping, and go away, anxiety brain.”
Dan has given me a couple of tricks to try, as has #LadyTwitter. One woman on Twitter had me focus on my immediate surroundings. “Are you standing or sitting down?” she tweeted at me. “What is the room temperature like? Have you eaten anything recently?”
One of Dan’s tactics is similar. “Tell me five things you can see, and what color they are. Now, tell me four things you can hear…”, three you can smell, two you can feel/touch, one you can taste. There’s an alphabet one, as well: one syllable word that starts with A, B, C, etc.; then two syllable words, three syllable words, etc.
Plus, the things I know to do myself, of course: deep breaths. Yoga, guided meditation. Progressive muscle relaxation.
Maybe I’m just a hormonal, cliche of a Gen X woman, and this is my mid-life crisis. While the possibility is a little depressing, it also doesn’t help me to know that I’m not alone.
Anyway, here I am, anxiety attacks after therapy, intrusive thoughts, and insomnia.
How YOU doing?