I had a different post planned for this week that I hope I can post soon, but some things happened over the weekend that inspired a different type of post from me today. As I’ve written before, sometimes anxiety beats me, and on Saturday I had one of the worst anxiety attacks I’ve had in a long time. Before I continue I should say that I am doing better now, and that the situation itself is resolved. But one of the reasons I view this as one of the most difficult anxiety attacks I’ve had in a long time was because of how hard it was to not view it as an enormous setback, which is what I’d like to write about today.
I don’t always find it necessary to share specific details of situations like this, but I think a few things are important to point out for context to understand why I reacted the way I did. I’ve improved at recognizing what triggers my anxiety, and one of those triggers can be loud noises. Unfortunately, another trigger can be panic when I don’t have answers to problems. Neither of these is particularly unique, and I’m able to manage each quite well on its own, but over the weekend they teamed up when my car alarm started going off again and again and I couldn’t figure out why.
The end result was a relatively simple fix, but that didn’t matter in the moment. When the alarm went off, it was like a lid popped off a shaken soda, and I had trouble communicating with others and getting help with my problem (the car, not me!). And of course, as these things happen, it wasn’t a one-time instance. Just when I thought I’d fixed my issue, the alarm would go off again, and I’d go through the same cycle of fear, panic and I’d have to fight to communicate with others.
Instead of a relaxing afternoon that turned into an evening, I spent the entire afternoon and night focused on decompressing and trying to recover, which spilled into the next day. I’m proud of myself for asking for help much quicker than I would have in the past – something many people with anxiety have to overcome – but I was still so embarrassed at how weakened I felt by the entire event. I went from having a nondescript weekend to spending almost two days focus heavily on my mental wellness and trying to decompress, and even though I knew I did what I needed to do, I didn’t like how much time and effort it took to stifle the anxiety.
I know I’ll always have struggles like this, but part of my mentality is that I will improve how I handle these moments. I’m sure in a few weeks I’ll be able to look back with more clarity. I’ll be able to point out the good things I did to find help from others and use the coping techniques I’ve learned to calm my nerves. But right now, I feel like I’m back at square one – the same way I feel after every anxiety attack. It’s not that anxiety ruined my plans – I’m more comfortable with that feeling. It’s more that anxiety got in the way of me being a person. Of just feeling like a normal human who does everyday things. And while I’m working to manage, that’s a hard feeling to sit with.