Just like word association, as soon as I saw the daily prompt word was breakthrough, my next word was anxiety. That is a perfect example of the ever present state of anxiety in my life. Medications are prescribed to keep my anxiety/panic disorder at bay, with a litany of side effects of course, but everyday anxiety finds a way to push through the barrier created by the medications.
Today anxiety broke through while driving. Driving has been a major issue for me lately. I have been using CBT methods and exposure therapy to help ease driving anxiety. I have an interstate loop, which for the longest time was impossible for me to travel. It’s from my home down one interstate, connecting to another, finishing on a third that leads me home in a sort of circle. The whole loop without traffic takes about thirty minutes. The hardest area on the loop is an elevated portion of the highway.
It’s taken me months to be able complete this loop in its entirety. I started slowly, segments at a time, with the final segment being the elevated portion. That is still the portion that presents me with the most anxiety. I’ve completed it roughly 10 times now and each time meets with different levels of anxiety. One time was a mild panic attack. I keep practicing because that is how exposure therapy works, you keep exposing yourself to the anxious situation. (I have many such situations and practice exercises)
Today, just as I was up on the elevated portion of the highway the breakthrough anxiety hit. Those of you who also suffer know some of the physical symptoms; sweaty palms, beating heart, and dizziness to name today’s sample. Physical symptoms are of course accompanied by ANTS; anxious negative thoughts. I talked myself though and was just about to the end of the elevated highway, where it meets the next connection when..STOP! Traffic; an anxious drivers nightmare. The exit was backed up and even though I had made it this far and was so close I wasn’t quite there yet. I did some math in my head, sung along to a song and tried to calm my anxious mind until the traffic started moving and I reached the next segment.
The connection to the next interstate being made, my breakthrough anxiety eased and I continued on my way home. It wasn’t my best experience doing the loop but at least I can say I did it. Mission (complications and all) accomplished! Just another day living with anxiety.