Reflecting on the reasons for anxiety

I had my third head shrinkery appointment today and it was an interesting one. I was abit befuddled by a migraine so it wasn't until I got home that I really thought about some of the things we talked about. But one of the things we talked about is how that I like to think myself into anxiety. It is a common thing we do because when we think about the pain, past, present and future and we rely on our experiences of it it sort of creates this cascading effecting in the brain... we know what it has been like, we know what it will be like and it is overwhelming and Bam anxiety... which propels you from thinking into emotion. We talking about that being the fight or flight response and ways to get out of that physical response. Which actually made me think about FM... because unfortunately FM really means we are sort of stuck in the fight or flight response. That is one reason we have problems sleeping... because it is like we are always sort of alert. Anxiety or not physically the FM body is primed for that sort of overreaction response. It is like when something startles me I jump and scream like a little girl... and then all day I'll jump at every little noise because my body can't calm down. So when she was talking about that I was thinking "Awesome, how do I turn the off button on a system that doesn't have one?" But I've have my ways of stopping myself from thinking about things I shouldn't think about. Overthinking is a very bad past time I find. Distraction is a very good idea. She was most concerned with worrying while I try to sleep, but I don't tend to worry once I'm actually in bed because long, long ago as a wee child I learned if I did that (being as I was a worrier as a youth) I wouldn't sleep at all. I daydream when I try to sleep. The only time I don't is when I had a status migraine and the pain overrides my ability to think about anything other than the pain. I told her then I get up, repeatedly and often don't sleep at all. So the tricks she is teaching me are to bypass that.

What got me thinking was her asking me what made me anxious about the thought of returning to work. Other that the fear I could end up suicidal, which is obviously a logical fear for long term pain. And for a moment I was stumped because I am very anxious when I think about returning... because of the increase in pain, but I have tolerated that pain for decades so what exactly is bothering me about it now? I know partly it is the fear that I somehow don't have the strength to fight that battle anymore. That the emotional instability of tolerating that much pain worries me. But it is more than that really. Emotions fluctuate with coping. Work itself is a good thing. It makes you feel productive, self sufficient, intellectually stimulated, useful, out in the world... very good things. It is the pain consequences that are horrific.

So if you think of it like a hermit does such that you have literally gotten rid of everything non-essential in your life in order to maintain a job but there is value to that job in your mind so you hold onto that no matter how painful even if it means all other aspects of your life have to be sacrificed then the anxiety starts to make sense. When pain increases, not counting suffering, just physical pain... and counting FM and the associated memory issues, all your attention goes into that one thing and not very well to be honest. Not only do you not have a life outside of work, but you don't really remember much of anything either. It is all distorted by the pain. Hazy. Indistinct. Elusive. You lose large chunks of time. It is like being in a pitch black room holding a candle. The candle is burning hot and you are too close to it. The light and heat sears your eyes and you can't see anything else in the room, even if someone stood a foot away from you. But the light is all you have so you sit as close as you can even though it is very painful. If someone does come into your little sphere of light it is hard to see them because the heat warps them and your eyes burn, but you focus on them as best as you can... but as soon as they step away they are consumed by the darkness and not only can you not see them but you can't even remember them. It is just the burning light. My anxiety doesn't stem from work per sa, although a stressful work place doesn't help... it is that any work makes the pain all-consuming and it terrifies me when I lose all that time to the pain and when I can't remember things and when I can't function. It terrifies me that that would be my existence. And even if there was no emotional suffering I would just be adrift in this pain forever, this sort of non-life. A focused torture where I am holding on to that burning candle and staring into that bright light, and can't see anything thing else, and don't even know why I'm doing it anymore.

If I ever wanted to do anything... have any sort of functional life. Have the energy to have any functional life. Manage my pain. Do the things other people take for granted. Then I would not be able to work. And if I had a leave from work and managed to do those things and didn't get rid of my pain... but managed it better, and increased my wellbeing and so forth and quality of life. If I dared not only to want those things but actually reached for them... and then was sent back to work and then had to sacrifice them all again? That would be worse than cruel. It was hard enough cutting all that from my life the first time. People expect you to do thing to improve your quality of life but don't realize that those things are only possible in a certain environment. Exercise is only possible when I am not working. I like to do it and I find it useful but the amount of pain I'm in after work makes it literally impossible to even attempt. So I have anxiety about even that... wanting things I feel like I shouldn't want because I feel like if I am 'well' enough to have them then people will assume I'm well enough to work and then I will be back where I began. It is like the Neverending Story... where the Nothing consumes everything.

And unfortunately I figure I can control the physical feeling of anxiety with the methods she was talking about because anxiety is a new thing for me so if I get control of it now it might work... but I can't change reality. The reasons for the anxiety remain. And deep down it still terrifies me that I will be trapped in a situation where the pain will consume all of me, as it has in the past. And that is so... sad. I wonder how much time I will lose. How many faces I will forget. How many memories will never be remembered.

1 comment:

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