In 2009, my 'regularly scheduled life' started to get pummeled by breast cancer, my sister's suicide, a auto-immune disease, and my other sister running amuck with (what turned out to be schizo- affective bipolar mental health issues). There were more things..like a neighbor that turned out to have a sexual addiction and was watching me all the time. We live in a cul- de-sac so I had to go by their house in the corner every single time I went in and out.
I started to get panic attacks in the grocery store, and eventually I was
panicky all day long. Too afraid to answer the phone, too panicky to call people to chat. Fast forward to 2017 and after having a major panic attack before a family trip with my husband and one of our sons - I was SO close to not going- and, of course I had fun. Once again, I could understand that I always had fun IF I went where I wanted to go.
I guess the long hours of driving gave me time to think. I realized that even though I now understand about panic disorder and agoraphobic better than I did before it all happened (I have a therapist)...I think I have to do what I did when it all started and I would panic the whole way to just get gas and get home- all of 10 minutes. I just started counting how many times I went to get gas and gave the experience a number between 1 and 10.
Oh! And it turns out that I'm a high functioning Aspergers woman- who knew? (It does explain why Life feels so confusing. I didn't know other people picked up on stuff more easily.)
So , anyway, I like numbers and ...I don't know...I actually enjoyed anticipating what number I was going to give each Gas Getting Event. Would it go lower eventually? It did...and I quit keeping track after 20 times because it got down to a 2 or 3. So, for me , on a scale that was supposed to be 1-10 but I had to make it 1-20 because my feeling of panic was THAT BIG- all consuming....feeling a 2 or 3 felt so much easier.
So, I'm going to actually plan and go on some short and long trips that I have been wanting to do for all these years. I'm going to get my husband to help with flights (when it's not just a local or day trip) and I'm going to figure out what other parts I feel like I need help with. Right now, my goal is to 'be curious' about what parts of all these different types of trips are going to start to trigger that anxiety. (Getting somewhat nervous just thinking about actually doing this..but, it helps me to give it a number and act like I'm just analyzing- not feeling. So, I feel like it's a 1 when I write this. Ok, moving on. <somewhat brave grin>
I know I'll just feel like skipping whatever trip it is at the point where I'm supposed to get in the car. (Aack! Going up to a 3! Uh...ok....um...I'll just drive to the place and tell myself that if I don't want to get out- I don't have to. The goal is just to kind of zip through that d&$n anxiety - horrible -panic and see if I can shorten it. Ok, going back to a 0 ! YES! You know why? Because I will get a kick out of seeing if the minutes of panic get less and les. Will I be able to go from my bedroom and sitting and staring to starting the car up in less time each time? I hope so.
I feel so sick and tired of giving into the panic that I (mostly) feel like I don't care if I arrive at my destination and all my worries materialize...it now feels like at least I will have achieved something instead of spending the whole day at home feeling like a sloth.
This is the single most important thing in my life that is holding me back from all the things I loved to do. I'm fifty-six and I only started to be like this eight years ago. I don't want another eight years and another eight to go by.
That's my story and this is how I'm going to break those invisible chains.
P.S. I can't get the word 'just' in the title edited, lol