One of the new things that I wanted to add this week was more time outside of my safe place— my house. I decided that the right mix of days of when I leave the confines of my house would have to vary based on times. I needed to test different levels of anxiety at different times of the day.
On Tuesday I had a meeting with the local author that I am working with on a major freelance project. This meeting would serve several purposes for my social anxiety. The first was that it was morning and I wanted to test how much I could take when my anxiety isn‘t so high. This would be a good test. Also, I wanted to gauge my anxiety levels so that I compare then to how anxiety is at my worst (4pm – 7pm.)
The meeting lasted about two and half hours. For the most part, with a 2mg dose of Ativan, I was able to function normally. After the meeting, I ran a couple of errands before heading home. My focus was on what I was doing, and specifically if I experienced any increased anxiety in my car in the morning. I did experience some anxiety, but it didn’t lead to a panic attack in my car when I first got in.
What interests me here is that in the first five minutes of driving are very tough inside my car with my driving anxiety. It was that way Tuesday morning but it wasn’t so extreme like when my ”worst panic attack ever” happened. It was manageable. This was interesting, and I was out of my house Tuesday for a total of three hours. This was a good step in the right direction.
Right now it is all about working towards finding my triggers. My anxiety hits its peak around 4 pm like clockwork. Yesterday I wanted to test how I did in the car by taking a couple of short trips. The first was about a five-minute drive down the street to the gas station.
I knew it would be hard because my social anxiety had already peaked when I left my house at 4:30 pm. As I was driving I could feel myself on the edges of a panic attack. The first sign was a shortness of breath. Then a little numbness in the tips of my hands. I didn’t lose control. I did some mindfulness breathing while I was driving and it helped.
I have able to exit my car and take a breath. It felt as if the walls were closing in on me but I managed. In the back of my mind, I thought about my past experiences and worried that this trip could end in a panic attack. I put gas in my car a proceeded down the road to my second stop.
I had to pick up something on my local Best Buy and by the time I got there I could feel some control again. My trip was short in the store and if I started to work on my thoughts. I thought about how I am taking control in the moment. I thought, how if I could stay focused I could start to fix my panic attacks and social anxiety issues.
I made it home and my level of anxiety was okay. I wasn’t in a full-blown panic attack, maybe a mild one. It was a test and not an easy one. My next step is going to be going out for tea at my local coffee shop (non-caffeinated) and try to push myself to stay during my worst anxiety time of 4-7 pm. The length of time is important. I can do things like reading a book or listening to music while I am there.
What I am working on is exposure therapy. I have to get used to leaving my house when my anxiety hits it peaks. I need to learn to fight it and get to a point where I control my social anxiety. I have so many plans for the summer, and it’s now or never when it comes to working on my panic attacks and social anxiety.
The last thing is that I am looking at getting a camera so that I can go out and take pictures. On the days where I am home I can leave for a while since I live in the country and takes pictures around my house. I can get out without leaving too far from where I am safe. It serves as a hobby outside my writing, school work, blog, and freelance work.
I wanted to ask my fellow photographer bloggers what is a good camera and a good price range. I have some experience in photography so I was looking at Costco because they have great deals. I want a good camera in the range of $500.00 and no more than $800.00
Always Keep Fighting.
Please Help me Publish my Memoir
I have finished the first draft of my memoir “The Bipolar Writer” and I have decided to go down the self-publishing route. If you can donate anything towards my goal, it would mean the world to me. Those that donate will get a special mention in my memoir on a page dedicated to those that made my memoir possible. Thank you in advance!
Photo credit: unsplash-logoElijah Hiett