Oh, wow, it's been awhile. One downside of doing shiftwork for a living is that time has a way of getting away from you. Feels like I was just messaging here the other day!
I had hit a point a little over a week ago where I was starting to feel bad enough to start taking my hydroxozine more. The good news is that it by and large worked to calm me down, albeit not immediately. The bad news is that since I wasn't nearly as high-strung as I was when I first started posting here, it worked by laying me out on my ***. I was basically losing entire days to the stuff, so they upped the dosage on my Zoloft. So now it's just a matter of actually pushing myself to exercise to offset the fact that being calmer has meant expending far fewer calories.
I have been keeping quite busy, at the very least. Spent a few days scraping up the linoleum in my kitchen followed by a few more days of feeling my age. I miss when I could abuse the hell out of my body without repercussions. Now a few days of manual labor make bones I didn't even know I had start to ache
What you say about putting nonessential projects on hold and taking time to just be when you know you need it is a big thing I have been trying to do with myself lately, ideally proactively rather than reactively. I also understand the idea of separating the physical sensations from the thoughts, which is something I often do try when I'm having a panic attack. And you're right - what makes it bad is the combination of that uncomfortable sensation and my mind telling me that it's something awful. If I split them apart, I focus just on the physical sensation and think, "wow, this is mildly annoying" rather than "oh, God, I'm dying". Kind of makes me think of the meme where every symptom you look up on WedMD tells you that you have cancer. I'm realizing as I'm typing this that this technique is something I really need to focus more on with CBT (which is still coming along very slowly with my therapist, unfortunately). I've said this a few times now, but I feel like I have just as much takeaway if not more from this forum than my actual therapist.
Of course, as you mentioned, there are actual real-life stressors at play right now, as well. I'm bleeding money thanks to 400-dollar a month electric bills because of all this heat, and then my truck got towed last week and I had to pay a 300-dollar ransom just to get it back. My girlfriend has seen me annoyed and even aggravated before, but going to get my truck out of impound was the first time she'd ever seen me visibly shaking with anger. The interesting takeaway for me is that anger and anxiety are mutually-exclusive emotions for me: I can't experience them both at once. That's especially interesting because, as we were talking about before, my mind interprets a lot of different emotions these days as anxiety.
Thankfully, I don't have much in the way of responsibility that I have to put up with when I'm going through these problems. I have a very laid back job, get every other week off from work, and paid a doctor years ago to make sure I would never have offspring. The only major responsibility would be a girlfriend with BPD and no means of transportation, which is kind of a big one. As you put it, I'm generally not susceptible to mind games, but the tradeoff there is that exchanges between us unavoidably come off as me talking down to her or treating her like a child. The fact that there's a significant age gap between us doesn't really help in that regard, either.
I have been having a lot of fun with my laptop because in a lot of ways it feels like a new toy. But it also shows off my tendency to obsess, as well. It started off with me installing foobar instead of Winamp because I didn't like how Winamp was working on my laptop (I suppose this also shows my age) along with moving all of my music over to it. It turned into a massive audit of my entire music collection and a weeks-long binge of acquiring more and more of it. I basically have two speeds with anything I do: not interested or all in. And while it was certainly enjoyable at first, I have a tendency to make anything I do feel like a chore after awhile. And so I finally took a break to play a game called Sea of Stars that just came out last week.
Your daughter sounds a lot like me in that regard. Being raised by my grandparents instilled a lot of old people sensibilities in me. Grandma would always tell me that I was "10 going on 50"
And yes, there is a definite comfort in sharing a struggle with another person. "Misery loves company" seems to be especially true in a case like anxiety because there are all of these irrational fears at play that can make you feel like a very broken person without the validation of seeing that it's a very real problem shared by other people. And that validation can be comforting in and of itself, just like having my anxiety medicine available in case I need it is inherently comforting. I feel for anyone going through the same thing I am because I know first hand how awful it is and how much somebody who hasn't experienced it just DOESN'T get it. It's actually kind of funny (not really) because my girlfriend feels that I am very uncomforting at helping her deal with her emotions because I tend to approach them logically or at least with the intention of helping her fix them when all she really wants is just to be comforted, accusing me of being just as tone-deaf with her problems as my mother famously is with failing to grasp mine. I suppose there's something here for me to learn from that.
In any case, I think you put it wonderfully in saying that you and I being able to share our feelings and experiences has been very much a blessing. I appreciate your support and being able to do so in kind for you in any way possible. I hope your week of going well and that you're still on the upswing.
And thankfully, no, I didn't lose any ice cream in the outage. It was a good chance for me to clean out my fridge, anyway