I thought my mental state was climbing upwards the past month.
Until last week.
Last week, anxiety revisited me and culminated in a full-blown panic attack that resulted in me pulling over on the side of a highway. Unable to continue driving, I got out and sat on the shoulder of the road, tears streaming down my face. It’s difficult to think of a time I’ve felt more weak, vulnerable, distressed and fragile all at once.
While the panic attack was aggravated by the words of a passenger in the car, the anxiety had started to simmer a day or two before. I’m not sure if it was primarily of situational origin, or caused by something that changed within me in a more organic fashion. Nonetheless, in the days since, I’ve found my mind to be in a wired state of disquietude.
I’m thankful that it’s not as bad as it has been in the past, but there’s still a sense of unpredictability to it that only adds fuel to the anxious fire. I can be fine one moment, then upsetting thoughts will abound the next. Small occurrences or comments, which wouldn’t normally faze me, can send me into a ball of distress where every thought thread ends in an imagined reality of catastrophe.
This is difficult to accept, especially when I’m used to being an analytical person who is generally able to keep irrational thoughts under wraps. While I had been familiar with depression in mild forms growing up, anxiety is a newer state I’ve contended with only since late 2016. It took me awhile to formally recognize it, and I’m still in the process of figuring out how best to cope when the waves of anxiety hit.
In the sensitized state that I’m in, it’s instinctual to want to avoid the triggers that could worsen my state. I feel bad about the lack of control I have over my thoughts, and in general I don’t want to really do anything, or talk to anyone besides my extremely understanding best friend. I definitely don’t want to have another panic attack. However, I also don’t want to develop a default strategy of avoidance.
What are some strategies you use for overcoming anxiety? I want to climb out of this pit of despair before it gets too deep again, and I’d appreciate any input. Or just feel free to say hi—it never hurts to hear a reminder that you’re not alone.