I am remembering a thought is just a thought, and just because I think it and it’s accompanied by strong anxiety doesn’t mean it’s true or that I’m in danger.) I can calm down and discern thoughts from emotions from facts.
This is helping when I start to hyperventiliate. I picture a square and I imagine tracing each line of the square in my mind’s eye as I do the counts. I breathe in, hold for count of four, hold breath, hold for count of four, breath out for count of four, then exhale for a count of four. Then I hold for a count of four and start over.) This helps slow down severe anxiety symptoms by reassuring the nervous system.
Not denying suppressing or wishing away. I am well aware that I am dealing with some scary you know what. But #DBT distress tolerance teaches us that when you are in a crisis and are reacting strongly to something you cannot change in this moment (i.e. not knowing your dx, knowing you have to go back for more IV shots, etc.) Getting yourself worried sick does NOT help. There is a skill you can use called “putting it on the shelf.” Being fully conscious that the issue does exist, we choose to put it on an imaginary piece of paper, put it in a little imaginary locked box, and then we envision putting that box on the shelf until we’re feeling strong enough to deal with it and when we actually have more information to do so. This alone has helped me calm down quite a bit. Although it uses a lot of imagination, in the end, it makes a great deal of sense, because there is no sense in worrying about things you cannot control and over things that you don’t have all the facts in about yet.
I love turning on talk radio. Try to find a channel that is in alignment with your principles and values so you don’t get worked up over those sorts of things lol. I was listening to NPR (KQED Public radio) about the drought and heard that there is a segment on eagles (yes birds) who went to college. Maybe it’s the steroids talking, but that’s what I swear I heard LOL. Whenever I begin to feel anxious or my mind wanders, I turn my attention back to what they are talking about. AM radio has a lot of excellent stations, as does I Heart Radio. Another thing is that I have not finished watching Thursday night’s episode of American Idol and have some episodes of Big Bang Theory backlogged. It’s OKAY to distract ourselves in a skillful way.
Took anxiety medication. Here’s the ironic thing: (TW) I went to my psychiatrist on Wednesday to begin weaning off of the anti-anxiety medication Ativan. While there, I told her some symptoms I was having (unrelated to meds). She said that I needed to see someone in neurology promptly, so I immediately went over. It was a good thing. I had an MRI and have an infection and other issues, so I had to go to the ER to get an IV infusion of steroids. I must go back tomorrow and Monday, then I’ll be on a heavy does of them in pill form for a few weeks. Then I need to have a lumbar puncture/spinal tap. If I hadn’t gone to that appointment with my psychiatrist and had she not urged me to go to neurology, who knows? She giggled and said now might not be the time to get off of the Ativan but she’d leave it up to me. On Wednesday, I still wanted to, but now I am reluctant. The ER doctor actually recommended that I take MORE of it to manage the common side effect of the steroid of being amped up and nervous/anxious. Fine, I will radically accept this (another DBT skill).