A Third Party

Ugh. Sometimes my mind really drives me up the freaking wall. Today on: “Is something really, really, actually wrong – or it is just my anxiety getting the best of me?”,
We’ll be discussing therapy.

I haven’t been to therapy since the end of August.

I was feeling really great. I didn’t feel the need to speak with my therapist. I felt comfortable enough to tell my deepest and darkest secrets to the people I love the most – something that has always proved to be a hurdle for me to get over.

But now, it’s November. A lot has happened, and I’ve fallen back into my pit of struggling to tell my closest friends and family what bothers me, so it’s back to a third party I go. A counselor. I wish my break from therapy could have lasted longer, or could have been permanent. But I have to go back. I have so much bottled up, and I need to get it out of my system.

But since the end of August, I’ve moved. I’ve moved and I can’t go back to my old therapist because she’s too far away, and I don’t want to speak over the phone. So now, the adventure of finding a new therapist is underway, and the nervous thoughts of divulging all of my deep, dark secrets to someone else all over again is fiercely pushing at the front of my mind.

I’ve been seeing my old therapist, with the exception of a few years in college when I took a break and saw counselors at school, since I was sixteen. Almost ten years. She knows my quirks, my entire story, everything about me, and now I have to sit on a couch and face someone who doesn’t even know my name yet. I have to look her in the eyes and trust her as I learned to trust my first therapist, and tell her everything I have been struggling with. I have to tell her everything, or I’m afraid I’m going to explode…kind of like how I’m doing with this blog post. The words are just pouring out of me as I type them.

There are a few things that happen to me when I am in the thick of a panic attack. My hands become very cold. I begin to hyperventilate and I begin to cry. My head begins to hurt. Sometimes, if the panic attack is very bad and lasting longer than it normally does, I will become angry and distant. I can deal with all of those things. But the worst, worst, worst feeling during a panic attack? The uncontrollable pounding of my heart, the butterflies in my stomach, not being able to shake the feeling that something is wrong…I just don’t know what.

I’ve been really, really, really beating myself up lately. Every little mistake I make causes me to break down. The other day, I spilled fried rice all over my counter. Not something one needs to cry over, right? Right. Yet there I was, standing in my kitchen, staring down at the small pile of food that could easily be cleaned up in two minutes, crying. Breathing heavily. Feeling like it was the end of the world because of one little mistake. I’m just sort of feeling like everything is my fault, and I’m not looking for pity or sympathy. I just want others who struggle with the ups and downs of anxiety to know that someone else feels the same way they do.

It’s a never ending cycle. That’s how I’ve been trying to explain it to people around me who don’t understand. When an anxious thought enters my mind, and I become very upset, I work to try and distract myself…I use my tools I’ve learned and constructed over the years I’ve been dealing with this, and work to rid my mind of those anxious thoughts. When I can’t, I begin to panic. I shake, and hyperventilate, and cry. And then, I shake and hyperventilate and cry more because I’m angry at myself for not being strong enough to control my anxiety in that moment. I continue to beat myself up and cry until my eyes are bloodshot and the neck of my shirt is soaked with tears.

I came across an article the other day, just in my newsfeed, about the different types of anxiety disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
“Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive worry about everyday things, which normally are not a source of constant dread for most other people.”

Yep. Check that one off the list. I’ve got it.

Panic Disorder
“Panic Disorder is characterized by panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden waves of terror in which your body may convulse, you may experience difficulty breathing. Panic attacks usually subside after about half an hour, but they can leave you feeling fatigued and unable to continue with your day.”

Check number two.

Social Anxiety Disorder
“Social Anxiety Disorder, or social phobia, can leave you unable to leave your house for fear of being judged by others. If you have Social Anxiety Disorder, you are constantly worried about what others think of you to the point where you may avoid social interactions all together.”

I don’t think some people realize how many get togethers I have skipped out on due to this. It may not be as severe as not being able to leave my house everyday, but I certainly have social anxiety disorder. I care way, way, WAY too much about what others think of me.

So it was a pretty sucky feeling to read this article and think to myself, “Why the HELL do I have ALL of these?”

It’s just another one of those days, I guess.

And I’m feeling really alone. But I remind myself every single day that I’m not, and you need to do the same thing too, friend. You need to remind yourself that you’re far from alone.

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