Monday, 25 January 2016

Sigh...

One of the (many?) big feeling things I'm working through right now is the (sometimes massive and sometimes overwhelming) worry/stress/anxiety I feel.  About... sometimes everything.  (Or at least it feels that way.)

I don't know that I differentiate in my mind between the levels of fear.  I don't like the term anxiety very much (it feels the opposite of empowering) and worry seems a little light and fluffy for some of the feelings that come with the fear but use whatever term works for you in my mind.  I don't know if it matters to me right now if I "have anxiety" or am an "over-thinker/worrier" or if I find doing things "stressful", it all feels the same in my body and tends to have the same result:  I feel horrible and will avoid or not do things.

And because it feels so horrible (like, actual, for real awful body sensations, the ones I dislike the most being stomach/digestive system based... you can fill in the blanks there) I want to not feel those physical sensations.  I don't want to feel any of it and then somehow those not good feelings seem to tell me that I'm going to feel like this forever.  Always. 

I imagine this is some sort of activation of the fight or flight response and my cave man body/brain is going "RUN FROM BAD THING OR DIE" so, you know, maybe in those moments it was really a matter of you might feel like this for the rest of your life because big teeth tiger kill you dead now bye.

So it's hard for me to think calmly when those feelings show up in my body because I find them quite overwhelming.  It's like my body is screaming at me to do something about this RIGHT NOW.  Fix the thing that is causing the bad.  And because most of the time (thankfully!) there is not an immediate threat to my being that I have to fight or flight (no spottings of sabre toothed tigers in the neighbourhood in a few million years, for example) it's because of thoughts... the "easiest" way to get away from that "bad thing" is to.... not do it, or just not engage in the thing.

Which then will often result in a sort of a low for me.  Maybe physiological again (post adrenaline fear crash or something a scientist would be able to talk about I'm sure) but also because I will often feel disappointed.  Let me come up with an example...

Let's say a friend asked if I'd like to meet them and some co-workers for a drink Friday night.  I'd feel afraid (the word I'm going with today.)  I'd worry about all sorts of details.  (Even just thinking about this imaginary scenario my body is starting to react in not nice feeling ways.) Would I drive or walk?  What would I wear, would it matter?  How would I feel around these people?  Can I really afford it?  What if I didn't want to stay?  Would it offend someone if I left early?  Would they even like me?  Would they all hate me?  And on and on and on and all of those little questions or thoughts or worries would make a reaction in my body that feels awful, and so knowing that if I say yes to this thing it would be a week's worth of feeling this way, I'd probably just say no.  (Or maybe I'd feel so awful and nervous about it Friday morning I'd cancel out)  And saying no would give me some relief.  Whew.... I don't have to worry about what to wear or say or how to get there or any of those things... whew.

But then later in the week I'd be disappointed.  Or, Friday after work, I'd go home and be comfy and cozy on my couch in my pjs and then think about how that's not really much of a life.  How that's not really living.  So then I'd have that low, which if I'm not careful and don't mind my thoughts can get very blue.

So not really a win.

There are, at times, middle grounds.  Like, telling my friend "yeah, maybe, I'll see how I feel Friday" and then maybe just last minute, hey I should go, and going.  Or like when my friend didn't tell me we were going on the gondolas to get wedding photos done at the top of the mountain until we were walking towards the gondolas because she knew I'd probably worry about it beforehand and work myself up.  I still got nervous (heights are not my thing) but it was only for a bit, not for days or weeks.

 So there's a lot of battling going on with myself right now.  Because I don't want to be held back by these feelings anymore.  But it's hard work.  And it's uncomfortable.  And I don't like it.  But I believe that there is an end to this.  That there is a point at which I'll come out of this tunnel.  That I'll deal with things differently.  Handle things with calm, confidence, pride; all the other words you can think of that are the opposite of fear/anxiety/worry, etc.

But it's like being on a really bad drug trip, while having to keep yourself together enough to defuse the bomb that's ticking away and about to blow you all up, when you're pretty sure it's real and not just your imagination while all this time really, you'd just like to lay down in a field of pretty flowers and butterflies and watch rainbows fill up the sky while maybe eating a chocolate bar and getting a shoulder rub in your pjs.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jason Langlois said...

Flowers, butterflies, rainbows, chocolate bars and shoulder rubs sound pretty awesome.

I've experienced (and experience) this, too. Less now than I used to, but it can still be a powerful hit occasionally. Mostly, I've found myself able to get past it with some overt rationalizations - that's been the tool/crutch that's worked for me.

Which makes me confident you'll find something that works for you.

Monday, January 25, 2016 8:12:00 am  
Anonymous Elliott said...

I struggle with similar feelings as well. I know I'm a hard core introvert and after dealing with people all day long in my job, I need to be left alone to recharge. I know that struggle of being asked to go for drinks with a group and grappling with what to do. It sucks.

I force myself to get and play hockey and do other activities. Most other things I do, I do in small groups...golf, no more than 4, cycling, cross country skiing...usually just 2 of us, and skiing is usually only the family. I can handle those things. In every dressing room I go into (hockey or gym or whatever) I always pick the seat that has a wall or something beside me so that only there is only one person to interact with. My own coping mechanism for participating, but limiting the number of contacts.

I hope you are able to figure something out that works for you.

Monday, January 25, 2016 1:42:00 pm  
Anonymous hogmu said...

Love what you're writing and encourage other for positive thinking about all.

Monday, January 25, 2016 7:01:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Good to hear Jason :)

I'm sure I will E. And I still like the shirt I saw once: "Introverts unite! Separately. At home. Alone." ;)

Thank you hogmu :)

Monday, January 25, 2016 9:00:00 pm  

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