***This is just a blog. If needed, seek actual treatment for anxiety. This is only a blog****
I am sitting here with my cup of coffee and I will admit. I am anxious today. The little kiddo is having her tonsils removed today. She is in high spirits though.
I have in the past struggled with anxiety. I don’t mean just a little nervous. I mean batten down the hatches, perfect storm anxiety.
Here are some ways that I am coping with anxiety today instead of losing my mind.
Acknowledge it. Don’t play it off like it doesn’t matter. It does matter. It’s a real feeling that you are experiencing. You can put a hat on a pig and call it a prince, but it’s still a pig.
Talk about it with someone that is not anxious. Just as you should not talk about your cravings to drink with someone who is drunk.
Take a moment to breathe. As I was hanging my butt, literally, off the side of a building getting ready to repeal, the wise sage leading me through it told me that there was one thing I had to do for him because I had stopped doing it. I didn’t see how I could refuse such a request at that time. I looked up as if to ask what Ii could do for him. He looked at me and said, “Breathe”. Don’t forget to breathe.
7% The last thing on this list my be completely wrong, but it has helped me for many, many years. I taught life and recovery skills and had a curriculum that I had to follow. There was a section that I would teach on stress management that broke down the things that we are anxious about. When all said and done, it said that 7% of what we are anxious about is worth being anxious about and within our sphere of influence to change. 7%!!! Again, this may be completely wrong, but if this helps decrease your anxiety, help you identify what you can control, then by all means use it. Of course my little kiddo having surgery today is something that I need to be concerned about, but thankfully I am not wrapped around the axel about other things that I can’t do a damn thing about.
Like I said previously, seek treatment if you need to do so for anxiety. This is just what I use that I find helpful.
I hope you have a good morning and find your reason to smile.
How things have changed for me in one week…
Last Monday, I was not solo for lunch. I went lunch with a good friend. She insisted on me downloading the Bumble app.
Reluctantly I did. I went through an swiped this way and that way for about a day. I had several matches and started a couple of conversations. Those conversations didn’t go anywhere. I matched with someone and we seemed to hit it off.
Our messages went from Bumble and moved on to texting directly. This was terrifying, but I decided to take that leap. Friday night he called. With my anxiety at DEFCON 1, I decided to take the call.
As an introvert, I am amazing at texting. I am funny, witty, and the words just seem to flow. I am same at letter writing. It’s just too bad that is now a lost art. When the phone of an introvert rings, panic strikes hard. For me, its the same type of panic felt when you see blue lights in the rearview mirror while driving down the road in a stolen car. I assume, I don’t know this from first hand knowledge. I’m just guessing.
I don’t know what came over me. I grabbed my phone and answered the call. We spoke about different stuff for 19 minutes. I checked the time on my phone. To my surprise, I was able to keep the conversation moving and … I enjoyed it. It felt easy. Conversations never feel this easy for me, but this one did. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the infatuation that was coursing through my body. Maybe it was the sound of his voice (he has an amazing voice).
Plans were made for next weekend. Great, a whole week to agonize over every single detail. Well, things happen the way they need to in life. Things shifted in my schedule and his schedule and we were able to meet up yesterday.
I went from a week to agonize to just 12 hours. I was now forced to do something that I have trouble doing. I would just have to do my best, and accept it.
Wow, a first date and self growth!!!
He and I met and had an amazing time. Please don’t take this to mean that I will always be able to accept myself and that I will be OK with myself, but this is a step in the right direction.
I eat alone a lot apparently. I’m dining at one of my favorite restaurant with one of my favorite bartenders. I haven’t sat down at a bar for dinner in a very long time, but I figured that I need to get out and see people.
I guess it’s a desperate attempt to find someone new. At least the potato soup is good.
I have gone almost two months without smoking. I am extremely proud of myself for going this long. That hasn’t happened in a long time. I used the patches to help me quit and I am almost finished with them. The first time I quit, about ten years ago, I had so much support from everyone. This time, I feel like everyone is trying to sabotage my efforts. I currently live with people that smokers whenever I come in the room. I will not be able to get the apartment I want until June, and I’m seriously considering finding another apartment.
I have been surrounded by cravings since I have quit smoking. Since coming back from Cambodia (more on that), I have been struggling all of the time. Here are the ways that I have been dealing with the cravings to smoke again.
Leave the room. When I am around someone that starts smoking. I simply leave the room. This might not be practical all of the time, but when you are able to, I suggest removing yourself from the situation.
When I want to have a cigarette, I think about wanting and I try to think about why I want to smoke. Most of the time, it’s compulsory. It’s because there is nothing in my hand and I’m bored. Don’t just try to ignore the craving. Think about the craving and find the remedy to your craving.
Find things to do with your hands and your time. If you’re bored, do something. If you’re stressed, find a stress reliever. Keep moving.
Start working out. Yes, I have gained weight since I quit smoking. I knew that would happen. Exercise will help with the weight gain and occupying my mind.
Clean. I went through everything and removed any to do with smoking. Soon after I quit, I found a lighter and a pack of cigarettes in my nightstand. That almost did me in. I threw everything away.
Go to a different gas station. I know, that one sounds odd, but just hear me out. When I smoked, I would walk into the gas station, and the cashier would have my cigarettes already on the counter. I know that I am not always strong and I would not be able to say no all of the time. I now go to another gas station where the cashiers don’t know me. No issues.
This is just a short list of how I’m trying to beat the cravings. I hope that this list helps someone going through the same things.
Today I got a phone call from a colleague with some questions. Totally normal. During the conversation we began talking about taking work phone calls on the weekends, after work hours, and on vacation days. Previous jobs had me on the phone, in the office, and in the field at all hours. This current job though is not one of those jobs. It is strictly 8-5. There is nothing life or death about this job. That is one of the things that initially drew me to it.
I quickly realized that she wasn’t looking for answers but wanting counseling. She wanted to process the stress and anxiety her job was causing her. I am no longer a counselor, but as a friend, I told her that the job had nothing to do with her stress. She was causing her anxiety. She took a breath and said, “I know but …” I then told her that she was still doing it.
Be careful of the stress that you create. Oh, and don’t call your counselor or ex-counselor friends looking for free counseling.