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"This time it's real because ___ symptom."

I've been doing pretty well for my last couple of "adventures," didn't even need a blog entry about them. I finished the Panic Attacks Workbook and implemented an exposure therapy plan, although I have to admit that it's still pretty daunting and I keep thinking ahead - instead of, "I can handle a 5-minute car ride around the block," my mind is automatically jumping to, "A 30-minute car ride with no Dramamine would definitely cause me to vomit. I can't do that."

Earlier this week, I agreed to go to brunch about 30 minutes away (driving myself there) with my dad, aunt and cousin tomorrow - the fact that I agreed and didn't make up an excuse about why I can't go is a triumph in itself, but the closer the date comes, the more anxious I'm getting. That's pretty much par for the course.

The thing that's bothering me this time is that I've been having waves of nausea for the last couple of days. I can pretty much put it down to either too much screen time or PMS symptoms (I'm due for those soon and I always spend a day or two feeling nauseated each month, so it makes sense). I also know that when you get a stomach virus, it doesn't tease you for 3-4 days before it hits - you just get sick. But I keep having anxious thoughts - the most common in a situation like this is, "The symptoms start off mild and get worse, so the longer you're not full-blown sick makes it more and more likely that you'll become full-blown sick while driving or at the restaurant."

That's nonsensical "logic" and I know that, but I'm still sitting at about a 50% urge to cancel right now. Another stressing factor is the fact that my husband is off work tomorrow so he wants to come - I love my husband and I don't want him to feel like he's not welcome anywhere, but if I get sick in the middle of the meal and he's still eating, I'll feel trapped so anxiety tells me it's "better" to go alone.



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I've had a few more waves of nausea and at this point I'm at least 85% sure that it's just my least favorite PMS symptom so I guess I'm going to brunch.

I'm actually kind of excited about the fact that there are some adverse factors at play here because it will give me a good opportunity to really work through my fears and phobias - it should be a good learning experience, and I have no good reason to believe I am or will become sick.

And on a selfish level, I'm excited to go because I just started working on a new side hustle and I'm looking at my family as a captive audience to gush about it to.

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One more update - I have to leave in 15 minutes and I'm mild to moderately worked up because last night my husband said he didn't want to come to brunch, he'd rather sleep in, and I felt relieved that I'd have one less stressor to worry about. Then this morning he got up and said he changed his mind again, he'd like to come after all. I feel so bad for resenting that because I do want us to be able to do things together and I don't want him to feel left out, but the last-minute change sent me into a bit of a panic spiral.

I am okay.

I feel fine, and even if I don't, nothing catastrophic will happen.

If I panic, I'll work through it. Panic attacks don't last forever.

If I don't feel well, I can just drink tea and visit - I don't have to order a meal.

And I absolutely cannot go into this thinking about all the what-ifs or else the panic will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am okay. I am hungry and I am looking forward to chatting with my relatives.

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POST-GAME ANALYSIS:

I felt anxious in the car at about a 6 out of 10, and while we were waiting for our table around a 4 out of 10. While we waited for our food I was still a 3 or 4 out of 10, and by the time the food got there, I felt better. I only chewed a single piece of gum from leaving the driveway to the arrival of my food, which is a big improvement for me - I use gum as a crutch and have been known to go through 5 sticks during a 30-minute car ride, chewing another piece the moment the first loses its flavor.

I also used conversation to help me work through the anxiety because the more engaged I am with the people around me, the less I can focus on the potential for panic. I'm not sure if that's a good thing (avoiding the desire to withdraw) or a bad thing (distracting myself from panic) but it worked this time.

I was proud of myself for being able to enjoy a meal with my family, and I'm actually glad I experienced a manageable amount of anxiety because it was a good opportunity to work through it and prove to myself that it's not dangerous. Another successful outing in the books!

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Yeah Sav! congrats.  I do have to say your husband sure does seem to have  a habit of thinking and then rethinking his decisions. I can see how that could be frustrating-just as you've accepted his response, he turns around and decides the opposite.

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