I am still going down the road with my social anxiety. Some of my worst anxiety in my social anxiety life happens with late night catastrophic thinking.
Late at night, my thoughts are often racing a million miles a minute. I think about what I have accomplished that day, and what I failed to do. I worry about the past. I worry about the future and plans that I have made and if I will be able to reach my dreams. I think a lot about my life and where things are going at any given moment.
When I know I will be going outside my comfort zone the next day like to a doctors appointment, a session with my therapist, or to study/write at my favorite coffee shop, the night before is always hard on me. I start to have catastrophic thoughts about the worst case scenarios of the situation that I have upcoming.
Every possible outcome starts racing through my mind late at night. I think about what I will say and what will happen if I forget something important and what will be the consequences of such a thing. My thoughts go on and on to a point where my mind is consumed by the “what ifs” of life. This fear comes partly since my current psychiatrist revolving door never seems to finally get solved. So much of the what I worry about is not having a structure mental illness recovery.
Structure means everything in my life, and when it goes out of control my anxiety hits the high levels that make it hard to function. It gets really bad at night. When I should be relaxing and going through my sleep routine sometimes my anxiety leads to really bad panic attacks.
Like last night, I knew the time change always affects me. I knew I had an early day ahead of me the next two days which is a part of my routine for Sunday’s and Monday’s. I tried my best to meditate and do my mindfulness breathing exercises which I did in the first hour (it takes me on average 2-3 hours from the time I take my Seroquel to the time I actually sleep.) When my sleep routine doesn’t always work out when I have plans, it keeps me from relaxing enough to get to sleep.
So I slip into full panic mode. I can’t breathe properly. I get overly anxious and I can’t sit still. So, I pace my house in the dark while the rest of the house sleeps. Everything moves really fast in a panic attack. I feel like at any moment I will pass out. I do my best to get it back under control. Mindfulness breathing. Drinking water. Re-focusing my mind. Eventually, my Seroquel kicks in enough that I can sleep or I take an extra Ativan so that I get through the night.
Then the next day comes and I somehow find a way to get up and go about my day. I try to be a productive member of society. Today I did my best to stay within myself as I sat at my favorite coffee shop editing my screenplay for hours. I listened to music while I edited and sipped on a delicious gingerbread latte. Life was okay in this moment.
It brings me to why I decided to continue to write about my social anxiety in this blog post. One of the features social anxiety is the fear before anything happens. The “what if” thoughts that consume me some nights, I can write about it here. I am getting better at identifying the things that make life harder. I know I am worried about the night before that something bad could happen like a panic attack in the middle of my favorite coffee shop, where there are human beings (the baristas) are and could see that don’t always have control when I out in public. It is such a strange thing to think about now, but at that moment I feel in the future, it could happen.
It’s silly I know but that’s my social anxiety life. It is never rational and most of the time it doesn’t make sense. It is why this week my focus in my session with my therapist is to work on getting better at channeling my negative thoughts into positive ones at night.
I know I still have such a long road ahead of me with my social anxiety, but writing about my issues puts certain thoughts into perspective. I can go back now and see where my thoughts are always.
Photo Credit: Jake Blucker