Thursday, July 25, 2013


Dealing with the Unexpected

In one of my last posts I wrote about how I have learned many strategies to cope with anxiety. I have learned a muscle relaxation technique to use if I feel either the slightest bit mentally or physically anxious. I also practice cognitive behavior therapy to correct any negative thoughts I have. I used to regularly think I didn't have enough time and I had to teach myself to think, I can handle what I need to in the time that I have. I learned to let go of what I cannot have control over. This was certainly one of the most difficult parts. Nonetheless, these techniques have kept me panic attack free for a couple of months.

Unfortunately, these techniques are harder to apply if I have unexpected anxiety. I don't have the time to mentally or physically prepare myself. Typically if I know I will have a stressful week or day ahead of me, I think about what I can do for myself. Because I cannot use those techniques, I am trying the last one I know: writing about it. If I get the thoughts out of my head and am forced to reason with the words written in front of me, I will hopefully start to deal with this better.

Yesterday, I was burdened with some very unexpected stress. I won't discuss details because it is not my situation; however I am very worried for a family member of mine. They are in no danger; it's nothing health or safety related. However, I felt as if I was taking on a lot of the burden, not that I mind since I care for my family, but it was the first night in months that my anxiety kept me awake. I've had many different moments trying to deal with this since we found out the problem. I've felt anger, sadness, guilt and helplessness. I've tried to tell myself that I am doing all I can to help, but I can't let myself feel this kind of pressure over a situation out of my control. This is very difficult when the anxiety is already deeply rooted, because I didn't have the chance to prevent it. This has all been a helpful reminder that coming to peace with my anxiety is a marathon and a journey and will never be over. While I have been doing great, I have to learn to expect the unexpected. I cannot always be prepared, but I can learn when I no longer have control. Rather than feeling helpless, I can be empowered by knowing I have ways to cope.