This has been an overall pretty good week so far. I haven't had any anxiety attacks, and any general anxiety that arose I was able to manage using deep breathing, positive self talk, and my good ol' Clonozapam. I am feeling better about my body image. I wake up with positive affirmations around me so any immediate anxiety I feel quickly subsides. I am still generally anxious around meals even by myself, but I have gotten much better at only eating what I want and not forcing myself to push past anything uncomfortable. So I am proud of myself for the progress I made this week. However, that said, I have been fortunate to not be put into any position that might cause a panic attack to occur such as a family party that I have on Sunday, or any surprise get togethers at restaurants this weekend that could happen. My biggest challenge is to be myself around these people and keep doing what I am doing, and not worry about what they think about it. I have realized that until I am happy with myself as I am now and with the way I live my life now, than there is no way I will be able to not worry around others. So self love before self improvement. You can't fix the outside if your broken on the inside. And for awhile I was trying to gain weight at the same time as working on my anxiety and I understand now why I could fall so hard. I was counterproductive. Telling myself that I shouldn't worry about others but at the same time, I have to gain weight because everyone thinks I should. How insane! How easy it is to get sucked into this vicious cycle.
There are other things that raise my anxiety besides eating around others and driving is the next biggest thing. I am okay if I am driving alone in a car, but I hate driving with passengers. Usually I will say "We can take my car if someone wants to drive it" before I will drive with people in the car with me. I also get nervous about driving somewhere that I have never been before as was proven when I first tried to get to my Therapists office in an earlier post.
I also have a hard time making friends. I can do small talk and socialize at work, but actually opening up to someone about how I feel and having a real connection with girls especially has been a real problem for me. I don't really have any friends outside of my family. I have coworkers that I chat with and people at church I say hi to, but no one I can call if I am having a bad day and need a friend to come cheer me up, or someone to go shopping with, or any of the things you do with friends.
All that said, today I drove with a new friend in the car all around town. She is the wife of my husband's coworker and we have been hanging out the last couple weekends. I was really nervous about it but I did it and I am proud of myself for driving with someone that I really want to become good friends with, being able to talk to her and have a really good time. Sure I almost killed us once, and my parking was horrible, but we survived! She seemed very nice and understanding, and she opened up to me as well so it was really good. Its been a long time since I have been able to make a new friend which unfortunately is hard for people with SAD. The last real friend (outside of the family) that I had was in High School 7 years ago, and that relationship ended badly. So I am excited about the prospects of having a relationship like that in my life again, but at the same time I am not expecting anything. I am taking risks around her which is good because it means I am comfortable around her to be myself, and thats all I want to be. I think we will continue to hang out, and if she can't accept me as myself and if we never hang out again, thats okay, it was a good experience and I learned a lot.
I think the weekends are the hardest for me right now. I have no important reason to get out of bed so I lay there feeling anxious for an hour or so just trying to talk myself out of it. I skipped breakfast both on Sat and Sun which makes me feel bad, but I am going to get over it and move on. Tonight I have a family BBQ at the park and I want to think it through before I go so I can avoid a panic attack and enjoy myself. The most important thing I want to remember is to eat only for myself, and not for anyone else. I have to remember to be unapologetic about my body, and if anyone makes any comments about it, to not let it get to me. Don't let others see how their comments might hurt me, instead laugh it off and make it not be a big deal, or be bold and stand up for myself. Let people know its not cool to talk to people that way. (I am so non- confrontational I doubt I will have the guts to do that but ya never know)
Thoughts I want to bring with me:
- I am ok the way I am
- Theres no need to push myself
- This may be hard, but I CAN DO IT
- My Healthy, My Happy
- It doesn't matter what anyone thinks of you, only what you think of you
- Its none of their business
- Don't let them take away your happiness
- Love yourself- you are beautiful
I think that during the week I have a set schedule that makes it easy for me- I know what to expect and feel safe in that setup. However when the weekend comes, anything could happen and that unknown factor is what conjours up so much more anxiety. That unknown factor is what caused me so much stress in Hawaii. I don't want to be so worried about that because it will effect all my vacations, camp outs, etc this summer. I need to get over it somehow, and not be so sensitive. Its the Worrier, the What ifs that race through my head.
I am glad I have this time to prepare for the party tonight, pump up my spirits and go in with some positive thinking ready. That always makes uncomfortable situations easier as opposed to getting thrown into something.
In summary, its nice to see the progress that I have made even though there is still so much more to work on. I have seen a lot of growth this week, finding some beauty in the storm, and thats exciting.
Here are some pictures that I took of some flowers after it rained. The slideshow cuts them off so you can click here to see them in full.
Close Up of Roses After Storm