Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 27 - Coming down to the wire

Hi everyone! First of all, let me tell you that we finally have working radiators and a brand new furnace, just in time for some east coast snow! There's nothing like coming in from some serious snow play, laying mittens and hats on the radiators, and finding them warm and dry in no time! Thanks for the messages and well wishes!

Day 27 - I'm in a place where, like most people, the emotional content of any given day is a mixed bag. I don't feel anxious all day, every day, but I'm experiencing more consistent anxiety than I was hoping for as I near the end of my 30 day challenge. Which, of course, sends my head into a tail spin of, "Will I feel this way forever? Am I missing something?"

I couldn't sleep last night and found myself feeling on the verge of panic. You know that free floating anxiety that sneaks up on you as the day comes to an end? To be fair, I did have a lot on my mind: my husband is winter camping with the boys, somewhere in the wilderness (talk about crazy); I'm getting ready to teach a new class; and I'm willingly taking on anxiety daily.

I find it fascinating, though, that a person who is conditioned to feel anxiety/panic can go from an automatic thought to physical panic symptoms before their brain even registers what happened. It's no wonder, then, that we find ourselves monitoring every little symptom, guarding against every thought.

I was reading an oldy but a goody Claire Weeks book the other day. She talks about the common mistake people make when they "accept 99% of symptoms and experiences but withdraw from the final 1 percent". (p.69) And, I was thinking, 'Claire, baby . . .I'm trying here! Can't 1% of me have the luxury of withdrawing now and again?' And, the answer, unfortunately, was a resounding no. She adds, "The next time you set off to practice acceptance. . . watch for the moment of recoil and go toward it in a loose, floating kind of way. That is the key." (p. 70)

So, in the midst of late night anxiety, as I was going down too many rabbit holes and trying to argue it away, I remembered to pull out my mental bag of tricks, "Oh, wait a minute, I'm not falling for this again. I want this anxiety, too." Loosening up as I talked myself into wanting this, I drifted off to sleep, waking up an hour later to more sensation. Again, I took a moment to relax into it, look out the window at the snow, and wait for the sensations to subside. After a few rounds, I eventually fell asleep.

As I write, I feel sleep calling to me, so I'll wrap it up here. I'd love to hear how your challenges are going and what you're trying to accept and go toward in your final 1 percent.


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Meredith said...

So glad your heat is fixed! I am in PA and we keep getting hit with snow too! Sounds like you are doing all the right things regarding your anxiety, and it is so frustrating when it still resurfaces now and then. I read the Claire Weekes book all the time and I find it very helpful! I haven't been having anxiety all day everyday either but it still comes and goes and I can't figure out how to get rid of that last little bit either! Let me know if you ever figure out the key! : )

Anxiety Girl said...

Wow - you're getting big snow, too! Isn't Claire Weeks wonderful? I wish she was still alive and I could go sit and talk with her. I know she worked through her own anxiety and I think that makes such a difference. We'll figure out the last 1 percent together, ok? :) Take care!

Anxiety Girl said...

Hi Victor,

Thanks for the link - I'll make a point of going over to your site and reading for a while. Thanks so much & it's always nice to see new people blogging about anxiety, their experiences and what's working!

Meredith said...

Hi there! I have been meaning to ask you if you take anything for anxiety? I read some of your old posts and see that you have taken lexapro but I think you went off it? I started zoloft about 3 months ago and it hasn't helped my anxiety at all. I am currently weaning of it and my dr. recommended Celexa. I really hate taking anything but I definitely feel like I need the extra help right now. Just trying to decide if I should try something else or hopefully keep making progress on my own!

Anxiety Girl said...

Hey Meredith,

I've tried a handful of the SSRI's and didn't feel like they did that much for me. To be fair, I tried some as samples, decided I didn't like them and quickly came back off. I was on Lexapro for about 9 months at two different times (if I'm remembering correctly) and it was probably the best. Still, I don't feel like it made a huge dent in my anxiety. I have friends who really love this Rx, though.

Now that I'm not pregnant or nursing, I just went to see my doctor about taking klonopin on an as needed basis, mostly for public speaking/teaching. We'll see what happens. I tried taking .25 mg yesterday and I felt a little dizzy. I'm going to try again and make sure I've eaten enough before I take it and see how it goes.

I don't love taking meds, either. But, I do think medicine can be a helpful tool if you're feeling stuck or need that extra boost to do the exposure work.

This is a great question - let me think about it some more & post on it soon. :)

Meredith said...

Thanks Kristen! I think having something to take on an as needed basis is a great idea. My doctor gave me ativan which I believe is not quite as strong as klonopin. I rarely ever take it but it is a good feeling to know I have something if it gets really bad. She only prescribed .5 mg tablets and I have only taken 1/2 a few times and it really does help. You don't feel drugged or loopy it just takes the edge off. I have only taken it about 3 times in the past 3 months because I feel like taking it means that I am giving in to the anxiety but my dr. says I shouldn't feel that way and that it is a short term thing.

The public speaking thing can be rough. I was a communications major in college and had to do the public speaking all the time! I remember feeling shakey the whole time. NOT fun! I had to do presentations in my job a lot as well but since becoming a stay at home Mom I don't have to do that anymore. It is great your in a job that challenges your anxiety. Just remember that tons of people who don't have anxiety normally get it when public speaking. I definitely think it is okay to take something for certain situations on a temporary basis. My husband and I were talking about having a 3rd child before my anxiety flared up again and it scares me that if we decide to go that route I won't be able to take anything at all for a bad attack. I just tell myself that I did it before with my other 2 pregnancies and I can do it again. I guess we will see! Looking forward to reading your post on the medication situation!

Sarah said...

Wow. This is life changing: "The next time you set off to practice acceptance. . . watch for the moment of recoil and go toward it in a loose, floating kind of way. That is the key." This really speaks to me about something specific I'm working on right now. Thanks!

Anxiety Girl said...

Hi Sarah! Thanks for your sweet comments. Let's grab coffee soon and catch up! I'd love to hear what you're working on, too. xoxo