For the past few months, my anxiety and depression have been under control. I could handle the irrational thoughts. I could tell when I needed a break. I could tell when I needed some help. I thought I was finally an expert at handling my anxiety. That it could no longer sneak one past me. As if my anxiety knew that I thought I could handle it, it threw me a curveball and hit me out of the blue.
Yesterday, was like any other day. I took my medication in the morning. I worked out. I ate healthily. I worked on a puzzle. I went to a winter camping class and grabbed coffee with a friend. I thought it was a good day. I was taking care of myself. I was doing the things I was supposed to be doing. There were no warning signs when my anxiety went out of control. It just went. One minute I was enjoying myself, the next moment my head was a mess.
I had an anxiety attack. It was the angry kind. The “I know this doesn’t make sense, but I can’t control it” kind. It was the nothing is okay kind. The I am a failure kind. I was angry at nothing and everything. I found silly things to direct my anger because I couldn’t my anger just being this dark black mass not having a face. So I picked at things that didn’t need picking. I felt as if I was surrounded by darkness. Nothing felt okay. I felt like a failure. I felt as if I lost control. I lashed out. I pushed people away. I cried. I hated myself. I wanted it to stop, but I couldn’t just decide it to stop. I had to take steps.
I knew the steps, but they weren’t easy to make. It took energy. It took control. Both of which I was lacking at the moment. I let myself cry. I let myself take it easy. Sometimes that’s all you can do. You can’t just turn your emotions off. Taking care of yourself when anxiety has control, isn’t easy. People will tell you to breathe. They will tell you to question your thoughts. They will tell you to remind yourself that this will pass. But I knew all of that when I was in the midst of my anxiety attack. I knew I made no sense. I knew I was being an asshole. I knew this wasn’t logical. I knew I wasn’t thinking clearly. But that didn’t just snap me out of it. I couldn’t just put on my cozy socks and dance away my anxiety.
So I decided to give myself space to just be. To provide me with space to be angry at myself. To question myself. To lie on my bed and feel awful. Finally, I had the energy to listen to Weightless by Marconi Union. I read online that listening to that song can help reduce your anxiety by 65% (Thank you Inc.). Then I was able to sit up on my bed. Put on some essential oils. Throw on my Himalayan salt lamp. Brush my teeth. Put my clothes away. Then finally go to bed.
That wasn’t the plan for the night, obviously. I wanted to talk to my boyfriend about winter camping. I wanted to tell him what I learned. I wanted to hear about his own ideas. I wanted to eat ice cream. I wanted to read. I was looking forward to having a good night. Instead, anxiety took over. I was frustrated with myself and the situation. I didn’t know what triggered my anxiety, but it happened nonetheless. So I let myself be.
Not sure if I can count that night as a win against anxiety. It beat me, even though I did everything. That happens sometimes. You can do all the things right, but anxiety won’t always care – because it’s not logical. You may not have a trigger you can assess afterward. Your feelings may just be a vast mass, with no focus. It sucks. It can feel like I’m failing. But instead, I’m counting it as a lost battle. I’m looking at it as another lesson on this journey.
I may be doing well, but I still have anxiety attacks.