Anxiety and Getting Out of the House

**This post does not contain tips because I don’t have any, but I need some.**

I have anxiety. Generalized and social. And probably every other sort of anxiety there is. It’s a part of me and has been since I can remember (kindergarten, ugh). I finally started getting help for it three years ago, and haven’t found that anything really helps. Not meds, not therapy, not meditation.

Tonight, there is a local photography club meeting. I signed up (and paid) back in August at the fair, but I have yet to attend a meeting because ANXIETY. I’m anxious about being around strangers. I’m anxious that my photography sucks compared to everyone else. I’m anxious that I have to bring my oldest child and that I will be judged for that. I’m anxious something will happen to the car on the way to or from the meeting (I’m anxious about the car in general).

I’ve been more anxious than usual this week. I don’t know what it is. Maybe the ridiculous summer temps? Threats of storms that never happen? School and homework getting overwhelming already? I don’t know.

I haven’t been to see my therapist in a long time because something always comes up. After next week, though, I am scheduled weekly until the end of October. I am also not on meds at the moment because I haven’t found something that works yet.

**UPDATE** I went to the meeting and I was fine. I knew I would be, but anxiety tells me something different. The next meeting is October 1, so I am planning on going to that. I probably should have posted this on my photography blog but I kind of want to leave that for pretty pictures.

Mental Health Care

I’m sitting at my psychiatrist’s office right now, waiting for her to come in and give me a little bit of hope. I’ve been having a lot of anxiety and restlessness the past few weeks. Since I can’t get into my therapist until early June, I’m hoping that the things she prescribes will help at least a little. 

I have a 5-point plan for the next month. I will switch Abilify to bedtime, increase the Celexa to 40mg, take Gabapentin three times a day (for the anxiety), increase Vyvanse to 30mg and come back in a month. 

I like that my doctor writes my plan down so I can take it with me. It’s sometimes a lot to remember, and when I have my 5-year-old along, things don’t always register. 

I feel like I have a good team this time. My psychiatrist and therapist are both in the same practice, and genuinely seem to care about my mental health and about me getting better. Which makes me feel better. 

We’ll see how this helps, along with the @Headspace app for a few minutes a day, and a 30 minute walk. 

Mental Health Month

Last May, I had a post about Mental Health Month on my old blog. I was in a different place, mentally and emotionally. I had jumped dumped a guy for cheating on me, I quit therapy and medication wasn’t really helping.

Now I am in a great relationship (though it’s still early), I’m making plans for our future, Spring Semester is winding down (finally) and I gained a few new diagnoses. I do feel like a quote from last year’s post is still true, “It’s not depression so much anymore, just anxiety.” I’m anxious and restless and just overall all feel weird. I think this is due in part to a combination of the meds I am on and the new diagnosis.

I’m back in therapy for the third time. I really like this one, so I hope I can make some progress. She gave me an assignment, since I wasn’t able to make another appointment for a month. I am supposed to “feel my feelings” when I get anxious or restless. I’ll be honest – I am not doing this every single time. I would be doing nothing else than feeling my feelings. But I am trying to catch myself in the big moments and figure out why I’m feeling that way and to calm myself down. It’s a process.

I am also enrolled in Diabetes Education classes. Due to a combo of genetics, bad diet, anxiety and Binge Eating Disorder, I am “borderline pre-diabetic”. Obviously, I don’t want to become diabetic, so I will work hard in those 16 weeks of classes to learn and change and grow.

This month, I turn 33. I’m not nervous or scared or anything. Honestly, it’s just another day. It will be a little different this year, as I have a Significant Other who actually cares about me and my kids, so maybe it will even be fun.

The plan is to drive up to my parents’ house in the morning, have a BBQ bonfire with s’mores, take some photos, maybe do some sparklers, and head home to a clean, quiet house to relax after being with people all day. I’m an introverted introvert – people exhaust me – even if they’re family.

I’m hoping to blog more about mental health and our life here in Northern Minnesota. Stay Tuned!

Therapy Session 1

I went back to therapy recently, and in the first session, I told her that I want to stop using my phone as a coping mechanism for anxiety. We didn’t work out what I would do instead – that will come later – but I’ve been doing some research on my own since then.

I reach for my phone often. Like, all the time. I carry it with me in my pocket or in my bra (yes, I know that’s bad) when I don’t have pockets. A few weeks ago, I left my phone in the car while Hannah and I went into Walmart before school. It was an accident but I felt panicky and sweaty and nervous. I didn’t like not having my phone. I told Hannah my excuse – I needed to know what time it was so I could get her to school on time – but really, it felt like I was losing my mind.

I feel like maybe I am getting a little better sometimes, like when I’m at the park with the kids (it’s too sunny out to see the screen anyway) or watching a movie with my Significant Other (aka B). But I find that I am thinking about my phone during those times. It’s not like I’m getting a ton of messages or there’s so much to do on there. I don’t even have the Facebook app or Instagram app anymore. It’s just such a habit now that I need to have my phone, even if there’s nothing to do. It’s the first thing I reach for when I open my eyes at night, no matter what time. And I get annoyed with myself when my eyes are too blurry to see the screen.

There are some positives. It’s the only camera I have right now to take photos of my kids. I read a lot on my phone – I have hundreds of free and purchased Kindle books. I also keep track of my assignments on my phone.

My homework from that first session was to write down the times of day when I’m feeling anxious and restless, and try to figure out why – to just stop and feel the feelings. She said it won’t feel good, and it will be hard, but it’s a good first step.