I really have to work on dealing with those moments I get knifed in the stomach with random but intense anxiety. They usually come when I let my guard down. Or as I’ve been saying a lot lately, when I’m not “frantically trying to distract myself.” It’s weird. It’s terrible and scary, but the whole thing is weird. I pause for a brief second and I just feel like…panicked. I’ve felt that a few times today and I’ve forcefully shoved the scariness out. And maybe I should be proud of myself for feeling them but only letting the feeling stay momentarily because sometimes it escalates and ruins my day, but like. Why does the anxiety come like that? Like flashes of lightning, they rip through the background that is my mind with shocking electricity. Whyyyyyyy.
It seems I can’t let my mind rest. And I’m just wondering if it’s bad that I don’t let it.
So I write. Frantically. I read. Frantically. I fill the time, the spaces, the gaps. Frantically.
I wonder if there’s anything I can distract myself with that isn’t quite as brain-consuming as writing or reading. Maybe that’d be better.
I guess I do have things like that, though. Like coloring. God knows I have enough coloring books. My favorite is a unicorn one, it’s fun and cute and it makes me happy just looking at it. Or sudoku or math drills, which I like to do. Those require a good amount of thought while still letting my mind roam a little more freely, I think?
I guess those are like stepping stones in the right direction. Allowing my thoughts a little more freedom to wiggle around might ultimately help me be able to loosen the reigns even more.
Mindfulness and meditation are gonna be crucial at some point. I know the benefits of those are probably written everywhere that talks about mental health. But still, there’s definite merit to them. Not that I haven’t tried them. I have guided meditations in my iTunes library, even one specifically for bipolars. I have this app that gives guided meditations but there’s cursing…it’s hard to explain but it says stuff like “exhale the bullshit” and my fave, “you don’t have to pay attention to every ranch hand at the fuckup farm.” But my point is that it’s still hard. Dunno if it’s an attention-span thing or just the issue I’m actually talking about, not being able to sit with the thoughts.
There are other DBT skills that I know could be useful (dialectical behavioral therapy teaches that there are more gray areas in life than black or white and that integrating opposites is healthy, and as a general rule is awesome…it’s hard to explain why that thought-process is helpful, but I’ll probably make a separate DBT post later). Like distress tolerance. That’s a big one. It’s so connected to my anxiety because the first second I become uncomfortable is legit scary. Why can’t I just sit with the distress for half a second? And ways to tolerate distress, it says, can be like, self-soothing or just radically accepting that the current moment might suck and you can’t change it and that’s kinda okay.
Anyway. I saw a post going around on Instagram and Pinterest and wherever else that said “feeling the need to stay busy all the time is a trauma response and fear-based distraction from what you’d be forced to acknowledge and feel if you slowed down.”
I talked about this with my therapist a while back (naturally). She said even she prefers staying busy. And we often talk about how boredom is tremendously triggering for me. That might have to do with the ADHD, like, if I feel like I can’t sit down and focus on something I enjoy, it kills me.
It’s confusing, though, because if I had to choose, I think I’d rather be at home with the OPTION to “do nothing.” I’d obviously much prefer that than being at work. (Although, and I’m just gonna toot my own horn and say it, writing is my work…yay). So why is it such an issue for me? Does that make sense?
I’m gonna end this long and somewhat rant-like post here. I haven’t come to any actual conclusions (do I ever? lol), but at least the thoughts are out of my head, into the ether of the internet. Hopeeeefully that’ll let me process this shitshow better.