Welcome to the Anxiety Forum - A Home for Those with Anxiety, Fear, or Panic Attacks.
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  1. #51
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Haddenham (Cambridgeshire)
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    1,154
    Day 111 - this is in 2 parts as I hit the world limit for a single post

    No weed or alcohol. I've yet to try quitting porn again after relapsing on day 38. I have used porn a lot less and I do find it a lot less appealing being sober. Cravings for substance are sparse and when they do appear they last a few seconds before I focus on something else and move on.

    The expecation that sobriety would help anxiety and depression lessen might have been naive in terms of how I expected it to manifest. There wasn't some miraculous moment where things clicked. Without any substances to soften emotional extremes I felt that living with a clear head was causing new problems. What I've started to realise is that whilst I have no way of filtering the intensity of my emotions - it does feel easier to restore a sense of balance when I am in the midst of an emotional extreme.

    I'm still living with daily aches and pains and for a long time I was extremely bitter about the duration and timing of these symptoms. In my mid 20's my 2nd panic attack led me into many years of health anxiety and constant aches, pains and symptoms. Now I'm approaching 34 I feel that I'm less fatigued, both mentally and physically with these daily pains. Understanding a stressed mind leads to a stressed body isn't as simple as reading a statement and assimilating it into your life. It took a lot of practice and determination, and still I find pains and symptoms will peak during times of higher stress.

    You could say now is the perfect time to be having all sorts of anxiety related pains - and yet, compared to a lot of people around me; my stress levels are fairly minimal. I stopped reading the news 4 years ago, and with current events are a perfect example of what happens to people and their moods when they're oversaturated with negative news. The only stressful part to this situation is hearing the constant news talk at work - I don't want to hear it. Unfortunately I'm not allowed headphones at work and we're in an open plan office. There's a few doom-mongerers at work who always read news stories aloud and never have anything positive to say on a daily basis, even before this occurred.

    Thankfully we're now working from home 2 days a week, so the distraction from co-workers isn't so much of a problem. Unfortunately my partner works in a food shop, so she's stressed by customer's and their rudeness. She doesn't read the news either - and that's what's ironic, we're not scared of a virus; we're just getting stressed out by people. This situation is proving that common sense isn't so common. In recent weeks I've actually felt happier than I have done in a long time and this is a stark contrast to a lot of people at work. Some have asked me how I can be so calm and I tell them - I don't read the news. A world full of other people's problems isn't mine. If something affects me directly - I will be contacted directly.

    So, what has my coronavirus experience been? I heard of it, so I checked the CDC - read the info and saw the statistics for someone in my age range. Nothing scary there. Next thing I hear is last week - a text from my local doctor's saying that if I have symptoms, to cancel my appointment at the end of the month. Sensible - not scary. Then 2 work emails, one saying no handshakes and the other saying to wash your hands when you enter the building. Again - nothing melodramatic there. Finally, we get told they're doing a half n half work from home and in the office with a skeleton staff.

    So how am I not freaking out about it? Because I don't read the news. The news focuses on the bad stuff - new cases, new deaths, stores running out of things, looting, chaotic political decision making etc etc. Once again - it boils down to a world full of other people's problems. There's no sense in me carrying that sort of burden around with me: I can't fix the world. Now, I'm not prepping or going into fight or flight mode and buying out lots from shops so I can bunker down at my house.

    Life continues as normal, and in fact - in recent weeks I've been happier than I have been for quite some time. The benefits of sobriety, whilst subtle, feel like they're affecting my life more. Also, it shows how far I've come in 5 years from my health anxiety. Had I been living through this situation with my health anxiety I'd be having a daily meltdown. I would be self-isolating and stocked up on every thing imaginable. I'd be chastising my partner for continuing to go out and socialise and probably be having multiple panic attacks a day.

    Thankfully, I've moved on. I'm reminding myself of what's within my circle of concern. It boils down to what I can affect and change in my life. So the next few months I'll be working on my savings. It's my safety net for any "what if's." Next is to realise that the people who are scared right now are the one's doing what I spent years doing - they're fixating on and terrified that they're unable to answer all these "what if's" whilst reading daily updates on the news which are reinforcing their fears and making them worse.

    I'm pampering my partner more. Taking time to help her reduce her stress, as I know she had been enjoying this new job because it was less stressful than her previous job - but now, thanks to the rudeness of certain people, she's finding it harder. I try to remind her these rude people are just scared, and vocal about it. Yes, in an ideal world people wouldn't be selfish in these situations - but a lot of people are being triggered by our mammalian brain's survival mode. Hoarde food, seek shelter and stay safe.

    My parents are both at high risk should they get CV - again this would've been a source of constant worries and "what if's" a few years ago. Now? Nothing to be honest. I think I was more emotive when I was abusing weed and alcohol. With sobriety there has been less empathy in many ways. My emotional and logical thoughts feel even more separated than they used to when I wasn't sober.

    Taking time out - I'm finally doing that more at work. I'm realising when I'm feeling triggered, which is by noises right now. When it feels uncomfortable I take 5 to make a coffee or just get away and sit in a bathroom stall for 10 minutes. My therapist and the reading I've been doing about the spectrum suggest that sensitivity to sound could be exacerbated or caused by wherever I might be on the spectrum. I'm still not convinced I want to go down the road of a formal diagnosis.
    How strong, how costly, the urge to fight our fate and turn back time. But life is meant to be consumed, not preserved to ward off doom. One can surely die from fear, before the end is ever near.

  2. #52
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Haddenham (Cambridgeshire)
    Posts
    1,154
    The temp has left our team - that in itself has reduced stress hugely. However, when she left, I found my mind was still honing in on voices and noises I disliked. No matter how loud or chaotic the noise in the office could get - I can filter out and focus on a particular noise which I can amplify and provoke my anxiety with. We discussed this and other triggers in recent therapy sessions and how I've been practicing mindfulness more in recent years. She's helping me realise that I've been untertaking a lot of self-help and methods that have their roots in mindfulness to challenge and tackle my triggers, stressors and anxiety.

    Grounding - for me this is the time outs from the office, but whilst making a coffee and Anne Franking it in a bathroom stall for 10 minutes helps me de-stress a little - there is one thing that relaxes me every time. Behind work is some woods and lakes and next to one of the lakes are some benches. A few months ago I had my lunch sat at one of the benches. Normally I eat quickly and then move onto something else, but after I finished my lunch I sat and stared at the lake. Taking in the sights and sounds of the water, the different water birds swimming and flying around the lake and things like the wind in the trees and the cars driving in the distance. Taking time out felt so restful and engrosssing.

    In recent months I'd go on a walk every lunch break to get away from the office, and especially the temp. My favourite part of the walk was always the 10 minutes or so through the woods, compared to the 30-50 minutes walking down streets and hearing traffic and seeing houses and clutter everywhere. More recently I've been going on walks in the morning after I was told I wasn't allowed to do any more over time at work. I still get in an hour or so early to beat the traffic, but now I go for a walk to spend less time stuck indoors.

    On Wednesday I walked through the woods and sat down by the lake. For 30 minutes I stared at the lake, seemingly blankly. Towards the end of these 30 minutes I realised something - I was feeling a deep sense of calm. When I walked back I took my time and felt real relief. When I was in work I heard the usual CV talk and panic and it washed over me. I focused my attention on my work when I heard conversations starting up that I didn't want to hear. With intense focus on my work I found that the background noise became fragmented. Rather than sitting in silence and trying to block out aggrevating noises, I found myself feeling calm and enjoying my work.

    So I went back on my lunch break and spent another half hour staring at the lake. My chest felt tight - so I didn't feel as at ease. But towards the end, again I felt calmer. Yes, I had aches - but my mind felt calmer. Again, I went back to work and got on with my day with a lot less stress and anxiety. Then we got told we'd be working half the week at home, people started packing things to take home as some are "at risk" and wouldn't be coming back to the office. Towards the end of the day people were getting sentimental, saying their good byes and things like "good luck". I got a few comments on how I looked - recently I've been wearing a smile on my face throughout the day. My resting face for most of my adult life has been one that when people meet my gaze they look unsettled.

    I suppose this journey with anxiety and depression has had me experiencing and practicing things I'd never thought possible or necessary. Walking around with a smile on my face seems trivial - and yet it has an impact. If I meet someone's gaze I often see their face light up. I walk down the street and no longer stare at the floor with a scowl on my face. I take in the world around me and meet people's gaze and enjoy the sites around me. I'm trying hard to limit the time and energy spent with negative thoughts and feelings.

    Perhaps things are starting to click. Yes, I can still get overwhelmed at times, sometimes very easily. But I'm able to turn things back onto a positive track a lot quicker. It's a strange time to feel like I'm making real progress with my mental health, when the world around me seems to be collectively sinking into a state of anxiety and I'm finally feeling a lot less restricted and disempowered by mine.
    How strong, how costly, the urge to fight our fate and turn back time. But life is meant to be consumed, not preserved to ward off doom. One can surely die from fear, before the end is ever near.

  3. #53
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Out & About :)
    Posts
    5,957
    Forgive the intrusion if you will. Just saying I feel very similar regarding your last couple of sentences. (in fact - quite a lot of what your have said) Glad your sensing some form of stability amidst the chaos from both within and out.

    Hats Off to all your efforts in fostering and maintaining a resemblance of stability regardless of current events and most of all, pre-existing conditions.

    I like to think I understand your struggle, although of course from another angle.

    Again ... srry if my saying so, is considered on intrusion.

    All the best.

 

 

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