Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Anticipatory Anxiety

photo by Meredith Farmer
You know you suffer from anxiety when you worry about worrying. At the end of June I have a bridal luncheon and a wedding reception dinner for two different people all on the same day. Then a month after that I have a baby shower. My friend just text'd me and invited Tyler and I over for dinner and a movie this weekend. I have a family dinner this Sunday at my Aunts house and another family BBQ in a couple weeks. All of these events give me butterflies anytime the thought of going to any one of them appears in my head. Just listing them all in one place is bothersome, too many of them! I am worrying about me worrying at these events. Not being able to control the worry or panic that I feel and having a panic attack in front of others which would be extremely embarrassing. I've been trying to not think about the dates, procrastinating buying the gifts and responding with RSVPs. I know I have nothing to fear and I just need to prepare for them- write out my negative thoughts and rationalize their validity but it seems so hard.

The following is summarized from the book The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook that I have listed on my home page. Anticipating anxiety, or apprehension between panic attacks focusing on fear of having another one, is one of the hallmarks of panic disorder. If not treated it can lead to agoraphobia (fear of open spaces or better defined as fear of being in a situation where escape from panic attacks are unavailable). The moment you start avoiding situations (for me would be eating in public around others in a formal setting) for fear of panicking, then you've started to develop agoraphobia. From there things only go more downhill. I don't want to take that road. It can lead to depression, fear of leaving the house, etc.

So I don't want to avoid these events even though my insides are screaming for a reason not to go. Instead I have to plan out what I will do in certain circumstances, what I might say if I start losing control. Best case scenario is that I can prepare for each event, go into it with some positive affirmations and confidence in myself, and be able to manage any anxiety that might arise.

In either case the next few weeks are going to be important. I will either grow a lot in experiences where I can manage my anxiety, or I could have some potential setbacks in which I will still learn alot. I am hoping for the former. I'm sure the following posts will include follow up and preparation for all these potential nightmares.

13 comments:

Brinn said...

When you're getting ready for these events, make sure you have lots of extra time to get ready. That way if you start to feel anxious you have enough time to sit down, relax, meditate, do whatever it is you need to do to calm down, before you even have to think about leaving. I see Krista mentioned you have dogs - animal snorgling is always good therapy. Just apply the animal directly to the affected area, in this case the head, or hold to your chest for shortness of breath, and hug. My dog and two cats are always a comfort to me, and you know their love is unconditional [as long as you remember to fill their bowl ;) ].

Aimée said...

Haha love your comment- its so true, no matter what you do your dogs will always love you. I have two dogs that are like children to me. I will try out your method next time, they always make me happy.

Molly said...

Thank you so much for your post on my blog.
I spent the last thirty plus minutes catching up on your blog - it is really interesting to see how much we have in common!
I really look forward to keeping in touch!
Take Care
Molly

T.J. and Krista said...

I think Brinn is absolutely right- This is something I do, and I see that it does help me a lot, even tho I didn't realize it. I always have this sort of thing planned out in advance, what I am going to wear, what I need to bring, etc. Then, the day of the event, I can go at a slow pace, and I don't have to rush. Something else I do that helps- When I have to meet with school people for Mallory's issues, I am always really freaked out. If at all possible, I plan nothing else for the entire day. That way I can focus on the meeting, and afterwards, I can go home and have a good cry if I need to. TJ has started coming home with me after these things and it helps us both to just be together, that way at least we are not alone as we work through the fears and worry. Hang in there Aimee, you are doing wonderfully. Love you, Krista

Anonymous said...

hi Aimee, i just came upon your blog and find it very interesting. off hand i will say you are a very beautiful young woman, inside and out, and seem to have so much going for yourself that i can't imagine why you would suffer from social anxiety. i guess it goes to show that it can impact anyone. i appreciate all of the insite you are providing and have added you to my google homepage. God Bless you and your family :)

Aimée said...

Wow thank you anonymous, you have made my day :) I appreciate your kindness. Those words of encouragement really do help me, so thank you, thank you, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Aimee, i just came across your blog while searching for some relief from my uni work. Anxiety has set me back so much and it was quiet relief to come across your blog when i was slowly digging my way down into the depths. It's great to finally feel that there IS a community that understands the complexity of these issues/pressures online. thanks so much for sharing your experiences and advice - it really helped me today :)

Jennis Mortal said...

That's typical of anxiety, and that's what anticipatory is, you automatically assume you'll be anxious, so you will be After the first attack, most patients develop the fear that another attack may occur. During the intervals between the attacks, therefore, the level of non-panic (diffuse) anxiety increases. Anticipatory anxiety has many of the characteristics of generalized anxiety: increase of attention, apprehension, and hyperactivity. This condition can be intrusive enough to cancel the difference between panic attacks and generalized anxiety. It is speculated that such a higher level of diffuse anxiety may lower the threshold for panic, thus increasing the risk of new attacks. The anticipatory anxiety leads to avoidance behavior, so that agoraphobia ensues.
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Anxiety therapytechnique without medications

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STRESS JUDO Rick Carter said...

When i was in high school, I literally could not stand in front of a class and read a report. Now, I make my living as a trial attorney - but I still dislike giving a speech! I have found that, if I am speaking FOR someone or a cause I believe in, my anxiety gets put to the background. For example, I speak for victims of violent crime, and the "me" part of the presentation just doesn't exist anymore. Also, having a plan to attack anxiety and stress is useful.

Mr PDG said...

I only started to get this feelings post 25. I'm working to resolve the issues through the use of self help books.

Anonymous said...

Hello to all, this posting was a real relief in that having a very stressful work, online scholarly, and family life style causes me to have repeated anxiety issues here at home. I would like to get more involved and share my stories and choose my battles more wisely. Great Posts!!Don

Anonymous said...

I think we all struggle with these kinds of fears for a variety of reasons but I was forced to learn at a very young age, to tell myself that I CAN DO IT!! This gives me a sort of adrenaline rush that actually does push me into doing whatever it is. My husband struggles with this terribly and it is destroying our marriage. Negative thoughts set us up for failure. I wish u all the best in life. Positive breeds positive.

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