Well, there isn’t anything funny about anxiety, unless you can reflect, and find some kind of humor in the situation. Actually the the acronym GAD, is kind of funny–it sounds like an infection, or something you say after eating something awful.
Personally, humor is hard to find while dealing with anxiety. However, I have been learning to recognize most of my triggers. I still have episodes that come out of the blue, and I question what the heck was causing me to be anxious. I have learned through my therapist to observe what I was doing, thinking…..and ask myself a series of questions. The main one that I always hear her voice asking—what’s the worst that can happen? Works for most things except flying–it’s a long way to the ground if there is some sort of mishap with the plane.
Going through this process, doesn’t stop my anxiety, it just makes me more aware, so that I can prepare for the next time I’m in a situation which may cause anxiety. It also helps me survive a situation before it becomes panic.
Yesterday, I discovered I have to drive into the city of Atlanta.
The 18-wheelers do not follow the posted speed limit, and there are a ton of them. There seem to be more aggressive drivers than there were in Seattle, which the dents in many cars prove. Most drive at least 10 miles over the posted limit, and that makes me nervous. So, I will be in the slow lane with both hands gripping the wheel, driving at old fart speeds.
Another thing to fear, a part of the freeway is nicknamed Spaghetti Junction. Yes, look on a map, and it’s obvious why it’s so named. Most likely all large cities have a system like this–they just don’t call them Spaghetti Junction.
Anxiety has been a companion of mine for most of my life. Most of my sheltered life. Living in the same area for so long, obviously, there was more of a sense of security.
What I learned from my experience, if anxiety is left untreated, it will eventually become crippling.
When we moved here, I found the schools, the orthodontist, doctor, and the grocery store. That was the zone of my comfort. Eventually, that became a source of anxiety.
Eventually, I didn’t want to leave my house, and everything caused anxiety. But, I had kids dependent upon my chauffeuring skills—I had to buck up.
Have I mentioned how many times my kids have saved me?
You see, if a brain is predisposed to anxiety, one trigger will create another, and another. This is probably not the professional thought in the world of psychology, but that’s what happened to me. I had created a ginormous snowball of anxiety. Events which never created anxiety, are now issues.
So, I’m sitting here, asking myself what’s the worst thing that can happen if I drive into the city. I have a GPS. I have gas in my car. My husband works near the city, so if I have a problem, he can come to save me. 🙂
Most likely, I will spend two hours in the car today. Driving in about a quarter of an area I’m unfamiliar with. Yesterday, I had myself turned into a huge pile of anxiety.
I remembered one of the speeches I always give to my kids.
The anticipation of something stressful, unfamiliar, or scary, is much worse than the actual event.
I’m a wise one, aren’t I? 😀
While I wish I could have my therapist in the car, holding my hand, walking me through my anxiety driving to Atlanta–she is in my head. Her words of reality. Some fear is normal, we can’t be void of all fear, that’s not natural. It’s what keeps us safe from true harm.
If I get stuck in traffic? Well, then everybody will be traveling at my speed. If I don’t listen to my GPS and take the wrong exit, there are on-ramps back onto the freeway.
Yes, I will make it from point A to point B and back–with a normal sense of anxiety.
I can do it!