Apologies in advance. This one got very long…
That scenario about the power outage and manhunt would have knocked me off my game too. I'm sorry all that happened to you. Hope you hadn't just gone shopping and filled the refrigerator.
How are you feeling now? Has it steadily improved?
For me, just recognizing that something like that is probably going to throw me, is helpful - then I don't fight it and just let myself recover as it gets further away in the rearview. It's kind of like having the flu; you know you're going to feel like crap, but if you take care of yourself and let some time pass, you'll feel better.
My anxiety has eased up quite a bit in the past week. It's still there, and cropping up to a level 4 or so regularly, but that awful feeling of floating out of your body, or weight on your chest, is mostly gone. One of the first things I did when it started was to put away any projects that didn't need to get done immediately, or that didn't seem appealing. Releasing myself from obligations, and giving myself permission to 'just be', as much as possible, is helpful.
I made some mental notes through it, hoping some of it might be of use here. Something particularly noticeable was my ability to separate the physical sensations from the intrusive thoughts. Through the CBT, it seems I've learned to view thoughts as just thoughts, and then pay them limited attention. The physical sensations are uncomfortable, but now don't seem as directly associated with the thoughts as they once were. I can separate them fairly easily at this point. Does that make much sense? They're related, but can also be treated separately.
The intrusive thoughts fall into two categories- ones that you can do nothing about, like big world problems, or ruminating about things that are already said and done— things you just have to accept. Even DH and his problems fall largely into this category. I'm able to acknowledge them, but then set them aside. Then the second category of thoughts is about relevant problems, things that you can/should actually do something about. Those problems are generally better solved when your mind is clear and in a good place. So either way, during severe anxiety, it's become a matter of acknowledging the thoughts and then setting them aside- some without future intent, and some for a better, later time. After that, what's left is the physical discomfort that needs time and rest to pass.
Gosh, I hope that makes some sense as it seems that's how my CBT has developed to work through a bout of severe anxiety. It's like breaking it down into smaller components and dealing with them one at a time. First, feeling physically better by allowing the sensations to die down (which may take quite a bit of time), then assessing real problems, then acknowledging distressing thoughts that have no solution on my part.
Of course that's not to say that real problems in your life are easily dealt with or don't cause stress. I've got a few I can't seem to solve that feel like they're probably eating a hole in my gut most days. But for the most part, they're easier to accept, or deal with, once the physical anxiety symptoms settle down. They become sucky life stress at that point, rather than suffocating anxiety disorder. Again, this is just how it's evolved for me, and it apparently works well enough.
Waking up in the morning is often when it's the worst. It's like all the thoughts are there, and the physical sensations peek. Again, I set the thoughts aside as best I can, and start slowly moving through the day- get up, shower, eat breakfast, etc- and don't allow myself to get stuck on the thoughts during that time. Sometimes they have to be pushed away repeatedly, but that's part of CBT, the more you do it, the more your brain learns to do it, the easier it becomes.
The worst scenario is having the horrible physical sensations when there's a real world problem you absolutely have to deal with. In cases like that, the method is to move through it slowly, do my best, and be gentle with myself if mistakes are made. I'm only human, and a work in progress.
— so there's that….
Oh yeah, I'm also a big believer that your environment directly reflects what's going on in your head. Like you, when my environment is organized and streamlined, it feels like my head is too. Or maybe it's the other way around? Either way, there's definitely truth to that for some of us.
I do feel like I let a lot slide with my girlfriend. I give her a lot of slack because of her problems, but she has a hard time respecting boundaries and has crossed some pretty serious lines with me in the past without expressing much in the way of (apparent) understanding for the gravity of her actions. I come down on her pretty hard when this happens, but typically all she will do is deflect. I can definitely relate to the "stop walking on eggshells" because it often feels like everything I do annoys her. Even when I'm rightfully upset about something she's done, she manages to somehow make me feel like I'm in the wrong for being mad.
Well… you just described life with someone who's borderline very well. That whole blame-shifting, where it mysteriously gets turned around on you, is the worst IMO. My dh did it so seamlessly at times that I'd be left reeling, wondering what the heck just happened. Not realizing what's actually going on can destroy your sense of self esteem and make you doubt your own perceptions. Thank goodness it doesn't sound like you are susceptible to that level of 'mind F***'. Try to keep it that way.
Dh's moods shift on everything, whether real or just perceived. He's not generally proactive about asking questions or clearing up possible misunderstandings, won't ask directly for what he wants/needs, it's like he loves trauma, and drama at times, and thrives on whatever perception makes him the victim. He has trouble taking responsibility for his own feelings or situations. It can be tiring on this end for sure. Sometimes it feels like constant attempts towards getting baited into a game of emotional tug o'war, and even if you choose not to engage, you're still somehow on the hook for slighting them by not participating. It can be crazy making even with decent detachment and boundaries. Guess that's my vent on the subject for today. Yes, the things you say definitely resonate with me as well.
I'm sorry playing video games with her didn't work out. My dh is similar. Nobody will play with him because he can't keep his sh** together.
Hope you're having fun with your laptop anyway. It's always great to get something new like that. Maybe especially so for you?
Lol about the slang. Younger than you or not, relationships in general often seem harder than they should be, and even more so when there are health/behavioral problems. Dh is a few years older than I am, and at his age should be well matured, but he's become increasingly emotionally immature in middle age as his psychological problems have escalated. To a large extent, age truly is just a number….
DD doesn't seem to know much slang. She really is an old person trapped in a 17 year old's body! I think she's compensated for dh's immaturity with countering maturity. It's sad that she's in that position, and it makes me angry at times. He can be so emotionally reactive that she's learned to not show much emotion around him- it's things like that. She seems well adjusted, but I worry about her long term wellbeing.
But I'm old mom, so maybe that's a factor too. Hopefully I'm doing an okay job modeling adult behaviors for her, even in less than ideal circumstances. I'm about ten years older than you and some days feel 100, some days 18. I could add some bodaciously sweet 80s lingo to this thread, if it would help you feel a little younger.
Thank you for your kind and reassuring words. It feels like you get it. You know pretty much what it is I'm dealing with, and that's comforting. Somebody once told me that whatever you're going through, someone else has, or is going through it too. There's strange comfort in that. Actually finding somebody who's been there is a blessing of not being so alone in it
Hope you're having a good week and didn't lose any ice cream in the power failure (that would be terrible).