Hello Again! Its ~Drew, back for part 2. Its been a week since I wrote Crazy-Brain. A lot has happened since then, mostly internally.
First, after a week of level 10 anxiety and panic attacks, I finally came down. It is a relief to be on the other side of my mental shenanigans! In the end, the measures I put in place (see part 1) helped guide me to the exit ramp.
Second, there is a Buddhist saying that is paraphrased as: you cannot practice patience unless it is tested. I thought about that phrase and changed it to be about my anxiety episode: I cannot study my anxiety unless I am triggered. Let me tell you, maintaining that perspective was excruciating while I was trying to hang onto my sanity. But I was able, in some way, to document my thought patterns. I made a list of my fears at that moment. This was me looking objectively at my anxiety and documenting what was driving it. I also wrote Crazy-Brain part one. I knew that I needed to put down exactly how I was suffering, when I was suffering, and offer it to a wider audience. I wanted people to know they are not alone in their anxiety.
The entire process sucked, and sucked the life out of me.
Third, I have since seen my counselor. She praised me for being strong, and drew attention to some lingering distortions I created throughout the episode. Mainly, these distortions were surrounding my “worst-case scenario” planning (if I get fired, I will do XYZ). “There is a place for that”, she said. “But wouldn’t you rather leave your job on your own terms?” A very valid question. It might be time to move on, but I should do a bit of planning. In the meantime, I will take the feedback I received and try to do what is asked of me. This is all I can do right now.
Last, through it all, my wife was there to support me. She listened to my my frothing insanity. She was there for me right when I needed her. She allowed me the space and time to work through my anxiety. I am eternally grateful to her.
I am fortunate to have resources available to me. I have insurance that pays for my counseling. I have a supportive wife that stays with me even though I have a crazy-brain. I know that not everyone has these two things in their lives. For you, I recommend that you seek out free or low cost resources. A search for “free guided mediation for anxiety” in your favorite web browser will offer a number of free resources. Begin interacting with the meditations when you are not triggered. This will help you when you get triggered because you will already know what to do with the meditations and you can get the maximum benefit when you need it the most.
You can also look for counselors that offer a sliding scale. Or seek out groups that have meetings on anxiety.
Most of all, know that you are not alone.
Peace and Love,