Saturday, August 17, 2013

Paper Tiger

Face. Accept. Float. Let time pass. 

If you do this, you will recover. 

 -from Hope and Help for your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes

I went to sleep later than usual last night, but with some help from my local pharmacist, I slept peacefully. I laid in bed for a long time this morning. I had nothing more to do, so I just laid in bed and read and thought and . . . brooded. I was actually reading a chapter that was telling me to NOT lay in bed in the morning. Emotionally/mentally, I had a rough start to the day. Again, I felt like I was on the verge of an all-out panic attack - like if I just let my mind wander to the wrong subject, it would be over.

Then I read an excerpt that said - yes, rest is important, but equally so is occupying yourself. NOT brooding. This is a hard thing to reconcile for me, being an introvert. I really like to be by myself and to be sitting still, but apparently it sometimes makes anxiety worse. So instead of wallowing in bed, I went with the family on a short bike ride and then to the bookstore. By the time we got back, I was feeling physically worn out, but mentally/emotionally stable.

Today I tried to follow the 4 instructions from the book. When I felt a weird physical symptom that sometimes accompanies a panic attack, instead of distracting myself or fleeing the situation and instead of worrying about what came next and next after that, I FACED it. I told myself, "Your left foot feels cold and prickly. This is because of the adrenalin in your system. Isn't that interesting? Nothing bad is going to happen because your foot is tingly. If you wait a little while longer it will go back to normal." And guess what? It did! None of the other symptoms that usually follow even got started. Those physical symptoms were just paper tigers.

Now, I must remind myself, if for some reason in the next day, week, month, or year, that symptom leads to another symptom - that it is okay. I will still face it. I will accept it. I will float through the process and let time pass, until it is over. Then my body will be less and less sensitive to those physical symptoms.

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