No, that’s not a joke.
About a month ago I wrote a blog post entitled True Story: Until Very Recently, I Was A Gigantic Ball Of Stress, and in it I said, “…my anxiety shows up as a serious phobia around the anticipation that someone (or myself) might vomit. I have long suspected that this fear is not literal, but rather that it’s the container in which I put generalized anxiety because if I didn’t have something in which to contain it, it would spill out or explode all over the rest of my life.”
It was just about two years ago (early December 2010) that I walked into a therapist’s office because this anxiety had reached a fevered pitch. And within weeks, at the very end of December, my mother and I had a falling out and I chose to stop communicating with her. A couple of days later my father died very unexpectedly.
Deedee, my therapist, had her work cut out for her. I wanted to cure my anxiety. I wanted it to be gone, completely. And I was impatient. But first, I had to deal with my grief, not to mention my anger, sadness, confusion, guilt, and myriad other emotions.
In addition to therapy, over the past two years I’ve tried to read books about how to get over anxiety (I never finished them), I’ve taken anti-anxiety medication (but only one half of the lowest dose, and only at night), I’ve tried to meditate (only did that a few times), I’ve tried resisting my anxiety, I’ve gotten anxious about being anxious, and I’ve tried just accepting that I will always be this way. And I’ve written about it here. A lot.
As this year’s spring turned into summer, I felt a bit of relief, but I was afraid, even back then, that as the daylight hours became shorter, the anxiety would take hold and intensify as it always seems to do come fall and winter.
But it hasn’t. In fact, even when I try and summon it, it’s just not there.
Three things have changed in the past couple of months.
1. I’ve stopped taking anti-anxiety medication.
2. I started getting acupuncture. I went to see if it would help my insomnia. It hasn’t.
3. I’ve taken steps to be more fully engaged in my life by enrolling in the Uplevel Your Business Gold Mastermind program and in Brooke Castillo’s Life Coach School, not to mention that just yesterday I decided to face one of my greatest fears and will be learning how to take full financial responsibility for my business. Talk about empowerment.
A couple of weeks ago, Deedee suggested that #1 and #2 could be playing a role in alleviating the anxiety. I agree.
And with #3, I am giving myself purpose, am taking more responsibility for my life and my role as Tim’s partner in our marriage (I will be writing a separate blog post about this, but suffice it to say that blogging and writing a book about this journey is not all I am meant to do…there’s so much more, but I’d been mentally twiddling my thumbs for the past year, not to mention being seriously afraid).
I went to my therapy session today, thinking that it might be the last one. It felt like it was time. Deedee sensed it too.
As she and I talked about it, we remembered who I was when I walked into her office two years ago.
She said, “So much as happened in the past two years!”
And I said, “Little did I know when I first came to see you that the shit was about to hit the fan.”
And she said, “Maybe you did. Maybe that’s why you were so anxious.”
It’s weird to think that I am THAT sensitive…that my body/mind/spirit was reacting to future events. But then again, perhaps that’s why I’ve tended to abuse food and why conflict is something I avoid, and why, even though I love people and events like Fitbloggin, I find that being alone is easier on me.
This isn’t about me conquering anxiety or having changed drastically, it’s about finally allowing myself to relax into my real self and to understand, on a cellular level, that it’s okay to be who I am.
Thank you Deedee for your insight and patience (especially when I was defensive and prickly, hahaha), and for helping me through one of the most difficult times of my life.