Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Slip Sliding Away

I was noticing the other day how easily I think my mind could slip into even worse anxiety based situations if I didn't pay attention and stop it.

Let me explain...

I know there are many forms and types of anxiety based illnesses, and I am incredibly grateful not only to be seeing improvement with mine, but also that I do not have some of the issues that others do. 

Like, I have a friend whose mother has struggled with agoraphobia all her life. (Often struggling with difficulty leaving the house, etc.)  (My friend was telling me how different her life has been since they found some medication that works and this is wonderful.)  I was at the gym the other day, mindlessly plodding away on the treadmill when I had the following train of thought...

A loud noise happened.  It shook the floor a little (probably someone dropping some big weight?)  I thought to myself "I wonder how this building would do in an earthquake?"  And then I watched as my brain started to try to barrel down that train of thought.... would it be ok to be caught in an earthquake here?  Probably because it's a community building?  But what if I was at the store when one happened?  Or walking home?  And if the earthquake happened here, I don't have my keys on me, so how would I eventually get back into my apartment and what if it was gone and I don't have a cell phone charger and -

And that's when *I* stopped myself.

Like.... no.  Not going to follow that train of thought.  Because I could.  And I know that the very anxious parts or aspects of me would very possibly start ramping up and as I thought about those thoughts and the process I realized how "easy" it would be to stop wanting to leave the house.

I could see how people get to that point, you know?  Just a thought followed by a thought followed by some brain chemistry followed by some physical symptoms likely set off by the chemistry and the thoughts and all of a sudden outside is not a safe place to be and then how do you get yourself out of that....

So, yeah.  I have been learning to watch my thoughts and stop them from running too far away and a lot of other things that I won't try to oversimplify.  But it was interesting, and somewhat humbling and frightening,  to feel some empathy for folks who have struggles I feel fortunate and grateful not to have.


Jason Langlois said...

I call that "tipping over the minecart" because I can see my brain descended into the depths and I need to derail it quick. I'm lucky, I think, that I have the ability to often catch and stop those thoughts now that I'm aware of them. But as you point out, not everyone is.

Victoria said...

Good image/metaphor :)

And it took me a long while of counselling to be able to even start to catch/stop those thoughts. I know not everyone's able/willing to try that though.