Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This is how it starts...

I recently read a book called Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith. My therapist gave it to me. You know, my anxiety therapist, who is supposed to help me learn to control my brain and slow it down from the hamster wheel that it is on. I'm a work in progress.  Anyway, MM inspired me to write about my own experiences with anxiety because as it turns out, I am not alone. My crazy thoughts are not even considered "crazy" and others share them. Wait. What? My abnormality is normal for an entire group of people?! You have got to be shitting me. I am not special, or rare in my insanity? Wait, you are telling me I am not even insane.  Unbelievable.

My name is Heather and I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, diagnosed in 2003. I'm greatful to have been suffering from something with an actual name for the past 13 years. It was sweet relief to give it a name all those years ago because that gave credibility to my sickness.  I was not making it up. I was really sick.  !!!!  It is real, and doctors now recognize it pretty frequently. In fact, as of the past few years I have actually gotten pissy because so many people claim to have anxiety. WTF?! THAT IS MY DISEASE. I REALLY HAVE IT. QUIT FAKING IT PEOPLE.  THEY ARE STEALING MY SICKNESS AND THEY DON'T REALLY HAVE IT NOW NOONE WILL BELIEVE I HAVE IT!  Another irrational thought brought on by emotional thinking.

See, that is what my therapist is teaching me, that people with anxiety are emotional thinkers. No one is 100% rational or emotional, but anxiety sufferers lie heavily on that emotional side. I mean, I feel like I am 95-99% emotional thinking perpetually. And it it's hard, you know. On the outside, I look normal. I look in the mirror and I see someone who looks like she has it all together, but on the inside, I am all disarray. And no one can see that, but I feel it, and then I start to think I am projecting it. Then everyone knows. They all know I am freaking out.  They KNOW.

So I am working on things. Learning to write things down. To try and drain my brain of all that it holds and make checklists and put things on paper or my iCalendar. Anything to take things out instead of holding them in. And a lot of times I have to take things out and analyze them.  Like my core beliefs about myself. They are all negative. So I have homework assignments like, answer these questions: where did this belief come from, what level of all or nothing thinking is it, and how is it conducive to anxiety's thought cycle and your own.

We- me and my therapist- talk about Anxiety like it is a person. A devil within my mind stirring up ugly and tumultuous thoughts and spinning them around in my brain like a category 5 tornado. An enemy that lives within your own mind that you have to learn to disarm. In essence: Brain v. Brain. It's tiring. It's exhausting. It's my life.

"This is how it starts…"
-Matty Healy, The 1975

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