constancy is not cool when talking about anxiety

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most of the time, “constancy” is seen as a good thing. a dependable anxiety disorder, however, is not really anyone’s dream.

having an anxiety disorder is fatiguing. it wears on you and drags you down, it sucks up a lot of your energy. that’s especially true when the symptoms are flaring, when the general and already difficult to deal with levels of anxiety climb up a notch. i’ve been amped up for a couple of months now and it’s getting old.

i’m tired and i don’t like it. i don’t like feeling spun up from the moment i wake up from a grossly fractured sleep ‘til the moment i crawl into bed and pretend i’ll be getting some rest. the dislike takes a while to penetrate sometimes, though, the feelings are so familiar, so it wasn’t until a few days ago that i realized i really ought to do something about the gradual escalation.

there are, of course, a million and one things i could be doing to mitigate the situation. i have my own toolbox to pull from and there are also any number of helpful articles on the internet on dealing with the symptoms of anxiety. i could start meditating consistently again. i could spend more time out of doors. i could drink more water; a dehydrated brain is not a happy place. for some reason, when i’m anxious my water intake drops off sharply. i’m trying to remember to keep a full glass on the counter at all times.

i could practice better sleep hygiene. i always think that’s such an odd term. regardless, i could try. turn off the screens an hour before bed. set up a proper bedtime routine and maybe for once, brush my hair. use that lavender moisturizer i bought for this exact reason. stop drinking diet cola in the afternoon. apparently too much caffeine does not do a body good.

it’s hard to get started again when you’ve been gradually abandoning the things that make you better, but the truth is that doing things that will help me to calm down is the easy part. the hard comes from trying to figure out what got me so spun up in the first place. what was the trigger that set me off? was it one little thing, more easily corrected, that pushed me up towards the edge, or is it a combination of various factors, a situation that’s harder to fix?

luckily there are checklists to help figure that one out too. it turns out, despite the work i’ve been doing these past few years, i’m still ticking too many of the trigger behaviour boxes. negative self-talk – still far too much of that going on. unrealistic expectations? my brain serves those up constantly. too many shoulds? more than likely though it’s far fewer than i’ve had historically. diet and exercise? i’m working on recovering from an eating disorder; i’m focusing on staying chill and sober around my eating and working out, not on optimizing it. perhaps i’m getting to the point were i can start changing that.

so, it’s the combination of things. i really wish it wasn’t. i wish the increased anxiety was caused by something external. i wish there was something “out there” to blame. the fact that i’m behind the negative change is frustrating in the extreme. true, i’m the one who let myself drift away from the things i need to do over the past few months. i stopped being as diligent with the behaviours that help. a relapse into such an unpleasant state, however, seems harsh. unfortunately, stopping taking care of myself is an historical problem. i often end up engaging in unconscious and persistent self-sabotage, and i’m not sure exactly what to do about it other than notice it as soon as i can and work on correcting my course.

realizations like these make me wish i could put someone else in charge of my life for a time. i’m tired of being the grown-up, tired of being the one who has to fix things. i’m tired of having anxiety at all, to be honest, but that’s not something i get to decide. i just think that maybe, if someone else would take over for a while, i could get some rest so i have sufficient strength for the changes and battles to come.

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(may 22, 2018)

 

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