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"You've already been outside too many times today - it's not safe."

For the last couple of years, I've been screaming my anxiety fears into the Tumblr void and it's not helping anyone - talking to myself just makes me feel more alone and broadcasting my darkest fears only makes them seem bigger. So I thought I'd try writing here instead, and making sure to frame my thoughts in a positive, recovery-centered way.

I just started working through the Panic Attack Workbook by David Carbonell because I found his website and was blown away by how much I felt like he was writing about me specifically. I thought, "This is a man who can help me with my exact problems," and I'm optimistic that will be the case. But I'm only up to chapter five so that means I'm in the knows just enough to be dangerous phase of working through recovery.

My problem at this exact moment in time is that there's a Chromebook waiting for me to pick it up at Best Buy 15 minutes away, but:

  1. It's Black Friday and I know the trip will take at least twice as long as usual because of the lines.
  2. I can't stop thinking about an event I'm going to on Sunday that's causing anxiety, and I think if I don't "stay home and rest" now, I'll be too sick and anxious to go.
  3. There's a strange aching behind my right ear, my throat's a little scratchy, I'm mildly dizzy, I've got a mild headache behind my eyes, and my stomach is rumbling - clearly a sign that I'm about to be imminently and catastrophically sick and not a result of having skipped lunch and dinner.

I've already been to this Best Buy once today in search of the same Chromebook. I left because the lines were long, but that was a function of impatience, not anxiety. I have very good reasons for going and picking it up today and not tomorrow, but the fact that I've already been there once today is making me think irrationally that it's risky to go again because I'm "pushing my luck".

Here's what I know when I strip away the anxiety response:

  1. I've already 'scouted' the location so I know exactly how it will go - only it'll be better this time because I've pre-paid and it's later in the day.
  2. I'm going to have a lot of fun setting up my new Chromebook tonight once I get it home.
  3. How I feel today has absolutely no bearing on how I will feel on Sunday, and I have anxiety, not a physical condition, so I am not a "spoonie" as I sometimes think.
  4. All of the physical symptoms I have can be easily explained away by a lack of food, a day spent looking at my computer screen, and the anxiety itself.
  5. Even if I were to be sick in some manner during my trip, I could be home and "safe" in no more than two hours round trip - and that's being generous.

So I'm going to fill my water bottle to stave off the hunger symptoms a little longer, listen to some calming music on the way to the store, and pick up my new toy.

Not today, anxiety!



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POST-GAME ANALYSIS:

The outing took less than an hour round-trip, went completely without incident, and included a short line that I needed to wait in. Waiting is a big trigger for me so I took the opportunity while I was feeling well in a line to practice being present rather than distracting myself with my phone. After I picked up the Chromebook, I made one extra stop to get dinner and resolve my lingering, hunger-related symptoms. Baby steps in the right direction.

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