I’ve often blogged about my struggle with depression and anxiety, I was diagnosed a few years ago with GAD (general anxiety disorder) but I have struggled with anxiety in varying degrees my entire life. My parents can attest to the fact that even as a child, I was overly anxious and fearful and struggled with anxiety related issues like a spastic colon.
As an adult, I can’t honestly say that it’s gotten any better. I take a mild antidepressant/antianxiety combo which does, to a certain degree, help but the key for me has also been to learn to manage my anxiety. Understand what my triggers are and what works at helping to keep me calm and my anxiety in check.
Anxiety is an odd beat, even when I have no reason to be anxious, I will sometimes feel anxious, when this happens I go into an almost obsessive internal dialogue, over analysing what could potentially be causing the anxiety, running check lists in my head (no one is sick, no one is dying, no one is in trouble, nothing bad is going to happen, you haven’t done anything wrong etc) in an attempt to calm myself down. It doesn’t often work. That’s the nature of anxiety, sometimes I’m just anxious because I have nothing to be anxious about or because I don’t know what is causing the anxiety which leads to even more anxiety.
I have learned that routine is VERY important in controlling my anxiety. I like to know what to expect and when to expect it. I like to know that I get up at the same time each morning and repetitively complete the same tasks, get up, make the breakfast, pack lunches into bags, drink coffee, put on running kit, go running, get home, eat breakfast, shower, dress, take Hannah to school, go to work. You get the picture right? So ANYTHING that messes with that routine can send me into a downward spiral of anxiety. I don’t like changes to my routine.
So today my anxiety is totally out of control and I’ve been trying to figure out why that is and then it hit me…. On Thursday, I’m flying to Durban for the day on a business trip. At this point, I should also mention that I used to suffer with aerophobia, I’ve also blogged about that before too, that’s the thing with having anxiety, you know there is no rationale behind it, you simply are anxious. While I feel like I am recovered from aerophobia, I no longer battle for weeks on end before a flight, or sit white knuckling the entire flight with tears rolling down my cheeks and the words “Oh my God we’re all going to die!” on the tip of my tongue, I can’t deny that part of this week’s anxiety is to do with the flight.
I have to be at the airport at 05h15 on Thursday morning and my flight only arrives back on Thursday evening after 9pm. It’s going to be a long ass day, I won’t see my children, I won’t have my routine and all the familiar things that calm me and so as a result, I am already starting to freak out. My shoulders are tense, I have a hollow pit in my stomach, my hands feel shaky, I’m slightly nauseous and mostly I just want to get this week behind me so that I can return to the safety of my routine.
I know this sounds bizarre and only other anxiety sufferers will understand this, but, I even get anxious before I go on holiday, again because it messes with my routine, with all the things that calm me and with all the things that are familiar and make me feel safe.
So now that you all know I’m completely cooked…. Let’s get this week over with shall we?