Thursday, September 23, 2004

Tough Day

The anxiety levels have been high today due to some issues at work but I'm pleased to say I've been able to stay focused and "with it" and not turn to jelly as has been the habit in the past.

It's not a nice feeling when the anxiety levels start to rise. The first thing that happens is that it feels like your heart sinks to the floor, your pulse immediately starts to race and you get cold sweats. Thats when the "ANT's" (automatic negative thoughts) start chipping away. These are self defeating but you have no control over them whatsoever. Your mind goes on autopilot and follows the path of each event to it's worst possible conclusion and this is what you end up focusing on.

I have to force myself to be logical. I can only tackle the problem by being logical and working through things that are here and now and have to really battle with myself to stop worrying about what might happen if.....

This is where deep breathing, drinking water, getting away from the problem for a moment all help. These all force you to concentrate on something else and distance yourself from the orginal problem. When you distance yourself from it you can then look at the problem from all angles and be realistic about the implications and work out the solutions.

The other thing that helps is sharing the problem. It's taken me a very long time to realise that I don't have to shoulder every single problem all by myself. Today, I worked through the problem with my team, got input from all of them and some very good ideas. Letting them have input into the problem also allows me some breathing room for the logical thinking so it helps on a few levels.

If I'm really honest I don't think I'll ever stop having anxiety attacks. It's in my nature to be a natural worrier. What I'm hoping is that I just learn to deal with them better. Everyone get's anxious. The difference is that someone like myself struggles with the levels of anxiety because we worry too much. I'm not ashamed of this. I'd rather I worried and cared too much than too little as this could also have disasterous effects.

I certainly think I'm dealing with them better now than I was a year ago. I'm still on anti-depressants but only 1 every 3 days and then only for another few weeks. There are still things I can do to help myself. A lot of my issues stem from me being the main financial provider for my family.

This responsbility is a huge burden and I'm conscious that I cannot afford to be out of work for any length of time. I can ease this slightly my making us a little more financially secure and making sure we save harder. If I had a buffer of say 6 months wages I'd be much more relaxed. Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) I've been bought up to enjoy the money while you have it. We don't need to be silly about it and we can still enjoy it but just have to go without some of the more impulsive purchases we've been prone to.

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