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"Just because you left the house once doesn't mean you can do it again."

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I've got an appointment at the Apple Store this morning in about 2 hours to get my laptop repaired and I think it's time for another episode of Adventures in Leaving the House. These seem to be helping.

I've had panic attacks at the Apple Store before because of how crowded it is and how much waiting is involved, plus it's just far enough away from my house to be outside my comfort zone. The last two times I went (back in August), I stayed and successfully worked through my panic, so I'm sure today will be the same - plus, the Apple Store is in the mall and I never found a bag I liked for my Chromebook so I want to do some shopping while I'm there.

Last night, my anxiety level was pretty low and I was feeling good - I'm still riding high on my success at the ballet (a significantly bigger deal, in my mind, than the Apple Store) and wasn't expecting to have any problems. Then I woke up this morning and I'm feeling dizzy (I know full well this is an anxiety symptom) and I've got a headache (maybe a real headache, maybe a lack of caffeine, or maybe tension from anxiety - either way, it can't hurt me). So on top of the symptoms, I'm feeling frustrated with myself because of the irrational idea that I overcame my fear of the ballet, therefore I'm "cured" or somehow insulated from further panic for the time being.

I'd still say that my anxiety today is only about a 3 or 4, when in the recent past it's been more like a 7, but this will be an excellent opportunity to put what I've been learning into practice and work with my anxiety rather than trying to hide from it. I actually feel pretty good right now, which is a weird way to feel even as I am experiencing anxiety.

The game plan:

  • I already ate breakfast so I wouldn't feel sick from hunger.
  • I'm drinking a cup of coffee now to combat the headache.
  • I've been practicing breathing from my stomach to fix the dizziness and calm myself.
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I had that headache the entire time, but it didn't stop me from going to my appointment and then doing a little shopping afterward. It did not turn into the nightmarish, nauseating migraine that I was worried about and I had basically no anxiety. I'm happy about that, and at the same time a little confused about the Panic Attacks Workbook I've been reading. Carbonell says you need to experience panic in order to work through it, but I keep doing well with talking myself through things without ever getting to the panic attack. It's silly to think that avoiding a panic attack is bad, but he seems to say in the book that what I'm doing right now is just delaying the real recovery work. I might need to read it again to figure that out...

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