In counseling this week, Liz talked about how people with anxiety tend to over think things. We’re so focused on what’s going inside our heads, that we end up ignoring what’s happening around us, and it’s hard to just enjoy things. That makes sense to me. For the periods of time when I’ve had especially bad anxiety and depression, I don’t remember much besides the nervousness. The last time I was in school, for example, is just a blur of fighting panic attacks, falling asleep in whatever class I actually managed to go to, and avoiding people at all costs. Large chunks of my childhood are also hazy and my perspective on how long certain experiences took is off (I was at one school for just a year, but it seems like it was much longer than that when I think back).
The weird thing is I’m pretty good at actually experiencing things as they come. My social anxiety isn’t especially noticeable to others because I’m able to engage and pretend that I’m an extrovert at a convincing level. It’s the anticipating of events that creates the worst anxiety. Am I supposed to “live in the moment” during those times, when all I can do is wait? Something that could help with that is to not give myself too much time to get agitated. Yes, I may think that I need an hour before a class to get ready, but realistically, do I, really? It might actually help to feel a little rushed, to focus on getting dressed and so forth, instead of getting ready with twenty minutes left to just sit and think up excuses for why I can’t leave the house. If I’ve got a social engagement that is making me uneasy, I sometimes just watch TV right up until the moment I absolutely have to find my shoes and get my purse and get out the door.
Anything that directs my attention outwards instead of inwards has got to be a good idea, when the inside is unstable and only serves to agitate.