I have several, we’ll call them ailments, one of which is an anxiety disorder. Of everything that is wrong with me this one is the worse. I cope so well with everything else. I keep a smile on my face and I mean it. But this is the one that just stops me dead in my tracks.
Anxiety is like a baby elephant sitting on your chest and stomach. The pressure is awful. Add to that a swimming head and negative “I can’t do it” or “I’m not worth it” or “no one cares” thoughts. Your heart races like you have actually been in a race, and you can’t catch your breath. And all of this for no logical reason.
My current trigger is the Zoom! meetings for my spiritual gatherings. I hear all those voices at once and my heart begins to race. Even if it is one voice at a time, the fact that I can tell it is many people just makes me sick.
There are things I can do to help this, but somehow I just don’t manage it. Mostly because you can’t think straight to manage it. I went through a wonderful course called WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) and it had you make a whole notebook of stuff for when things go wrong. The problem is it is too overwhelming for me to look at so I ended up stashing it and don’t use it. So maybe letting it out here will help me get my act together some. So here is what I have come up with:
- Don’t get on until the last minute.
- Turn the volume down as far as it will go.
- Take my medicine just before meetings, they’re actually due at night. But once a week in the morning won’t kill me.
- Pray BEFORE I get on.
- Set an alarm so I am not on early.
- Put these reminders on my bulletin board to keep them fresh in my head.
These seem reasonable. Maybe Thursday evening will be better. Today is shot. But I will do things to make me feel better. I wish we weren’t on lock-down, I would be at my best friends house trying to make the day better. But much better to be safe than sorry, so I will keep on trucking. Maybe I should pull that action plan out and see what my thoughts were on all of this a couple of years ago. Maybe it will help.
I want to add one last thing. If there is someone in your life who suffers from an anxiety disorder, be patient. I know it makes no sense to you, and it might never make sense to you. But it is real and sometimes horrifying to the person who has it. I am not overstating this, I promise. So be patient, listen, hold their hand, or if they need space, then give it to them, but not too much. We need to know someone cares and is there for us even when we are a flat mess.
Okay, one more last thing. For those suffering I want to give out the crisis line. A lot of people think of the crisis line as for suicides only, it is NOT! Anytime you feel out of control or even if you just need to talk out a problem they are there for you. It took me a while to realize that was really true, but I have found that it is. They are happy to help you get through whatever it is that is pulling you down.
Veterans Crisis Line: www.veteranscrisisline.net Phone number: 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
For those who are not veterans you use the same number, just don’t press the one. The website is www.suicidepreventionhotline.org
Please, don’t be afraid to use these, you DESERVE the help.