Some If, Then… of Trying to Manage Severe Anxiety

I’ve lately been thinking a hospital visit or heavy medication would be a good idea. As I go through constant rounds of severe anxiety, my energy is wearing down, and the last two nights of driving over an hour in heavy mist and fog have just about done me in. I’m super stressed about work, even though it’s something I can and normally would handle just fine, and the thought of going back to my grandma’s house tonight for four days to care for her is just about more than I can stand right now.

So I had this thought last week and it continues to this weekend that the hospital is kind of an appealing option, and feels close to necessary. Right down to the hospital gown, the bed, the bracelet, the people checking on me, the relative isolation…whatever.

Because if I am experiencing anxiety this bad, I might need a medical intervention. If I am experiencing anxiety this bad, and my family will not hear me, I might need something that they would view more credibly, like a doctor and a hospital. If I cannot manage to come off of this going-on-two-weeks spike in PTSD symptoms, I may need something to help me do that. What I am doing is not working, so I need something else. What I am doing is not helping, so I may need to try a different tactic. If I keep going with my current responsibilities, I might go into crisis that I cannot manage.

As I mentally sorted through my options after I got home last night (after driving through some of the thickest fog I have ever seen), as I said to myself, “Ok, if I do this, what am I trying to accomplish from that? And if I take that option, what will it solve?” I realized that it wasn’t really about going to the hospital, it’s that if I check myself in, my family will maybe have to acknowledge the severity of my condition in a way that they presently will not. Then I might not have to struggle under so many burdens. Then I might get a break. Then maybe I will be accommodated. Maybe.

Other option is to hang in there for two and a half more weeks, try to do my job the best I can, try to stay calm and sane at Grandma’s, do the things on my calendar, sleep more on the weekends, then go on strike when my mom’s job finishes and she is more available to help with Grandma. I’ve been at this for two months, I can make is another two weeks, right?

If I do, then…

If I don’t, then…

If this keeps up, then…

Anxiety is the worst, y’all.

What It’s Taking to Stay Calm

Grandma gets up between 1 and 2am to move from her bed to her recliner because she sleeps better in her recliner. Which means I get up to move her. She says her legs hurt when she lays in bed, but she won’t sleep all night in the recliner because she wants to not be sitting for a couple of hours.

She makes everything hard.

Despite demanding that the air conditioner be turned off at night because it wakes her up when it kicks on (she claims she doesn’t sleep anyway so hell if I understand why we need to be unnecessarily warm), she pulled her throw over her legs after I moved her, and tipped her recliner forward. You know, like you do as a kid on purpose.

But this wasn’t (was it?) On purpose, so there’s a thunk and a panicked help and me bolting off the couch to set her upright before she lands on the floor.

I have PTSD. Bolting out of any excuse for a bed in the middle of the night is not great for me, because the sudden rush of adrenaline can be a trigger. And usually is.

Since my family won’t support me and I’m left managing my condition by myself, I’m trying to stay calm, take on as few responsibilities as possible and keep my panic response in check until I can go home tomorrow afternoon. Which means I’m exhausted by 5, hungry all the time and still not really getting back the brain function that’s shut down by anxiety. I have very little energy, and will likely spend the weekend in bed.

“I Know, Honey, We’ll Talk About It Later.”

That was my mom’s response yesterday when I told her my anxiety had reached a point that I would either need to check in to a hospital or knock myself out on Xanax for a few days. Either way, I was losing decision making and problem solving function and about to be unavailable to anyone for anything.

That was her response.

Kind of like the upstairs neighbor, I wasn’t even mad, I just didn’t know what was going on. Huh?

So I calmed myself as best I could, went back to grandma’s, tried to stay calm, handled work the best I could, was very pleasant, and tried to make a plan to reduce my responsibilities as much as possible for a couple of days.

😝

Parking Lot Thoughts

I’m early to therapy, which is surprising given that this level of anxiety usually results in me being slightly late to everything. Grandma’s super-punctual care giver got me out ahead of schedule, so I have a few minutes to sit with my spinning thoughts.

The things that will make this better overall are the hardest to do. I have very little decision-making ability, little problem solving, little motivation – the things I normally rely on to get through life. And I really want them to be there, but they’re not… So now what? Or rather, what, for now?

Maybe just get through today…

Anxiety Days

A hail storm knocked our power out last night. I was knitting and watching tv when marble-sized hail started pounding the roof, and I was so glad my trees were still inside waiting for warmer nights to arrive. It wasn’t terribly hard to sleep since it was quiet and pitch black, and we got the lights back on this morning.

I’ve had severe anxiety all day.

I stopped taking Xanax, so I don’t really have the reset. This is anxiety that doesn’t respond to exercise. It has a lot to do with current work stress. Being mindful helps me take slow steps forward, but still doesn’t stop the spinning and the desire to freeze.

It’s beautiful out, if windy. It’s a great day to hike. I’m inside, still in pajamas, having worked slowly this morning into afternoon and napped late afternoon.

Maybe tomorrow. But not today. And really, that’s fine.