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The Weekend. Managing Anxiety.

8 June 2015

This weekend was lovely. A little hot but little precipitation. My older sister visited me from Seattle and we wandered around ECC and saw museums and did some cooking and generally just chatted about things. It was a nice visit. It was especially nice that my two sisters have now both met BB, and both seem to like her a lot. I went on a long run that didn’t go very well (I had to do walk/run intervals after about mile 7), but it still counts as miles. It’s getting hot and I’m simply going to have to start running slowly and miserably for the summer. That’s the deal. Maybe I’ll bike a little more.

Friday afternoon I had what felt like a good interview with a fancy institution. I am not likely to move or change jobs. But as I wrote before, an offer would be a real feather in my cap, and it felt good to have a professor on a hiring committee in the medical school of one of the world’s most renowned institutions tell me, “Your CV is very impressive.” I don’t feel like my CV is very impressive. I usually feel like I’m making it up as I go along, and barely skating by. But those who evaluate me objectively seem to think I’m doing well, which is a relief for a short while until my anxiety ramps back up.

A friend of mine in the program talks about “chemical suppression of feelings”. That’s what alcohol was for. I used it to treat my anxiety. Well, I used it to ignore my anxiety. Managing my anxiety has been one of the more difficult tasks of my sobriety. I’ve had to find a way to operate without alcohol, and without the traditional medicines that are used to treat anxiety. All of those are deeply addictive, and dangerous for me. I can’t take them. So I need alternatives.

My alternatives are simple ones. Exercise really helps. When I am working out hard, my anxiety is generally manageable. It doesn’t fix it. But it does ease it considerably. My program helps. Being consciously mindful that my anxiety is just a feeling. It is rooted in real things, and it is a tool my brain uses to get me to work on the things I need to work on. But it goes overboard. It slips out of my control and takes on a life of its own. Simply recognizing that is the first step, and often the only step I need, to bringing it back into the corral.

I’m looking forward to the July 4th holiday. BB and I are going to do something fun, not entirely sure what yet. But a little trip or time off just for us. It should be lovely. And now I have a lot of work to do before then.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob permalink
    8 June 2015 08:21

    Do you use caffeine ? I too suffer from anxiety and recently conducted a trial period without it to see what effect it would have. Once through an unpleasant withdrawal period (itself I guess an indicator of what it’s doing to me) I was amazed by the difference in my thought patterns and anxiety levels.

    I wasn’t a particularly heavy user either – 2-3 “normal” size black coffees a day. Your experience may differ, but it’s maybe something to think about.

  2. aimee permalink
    8 June 2015 10:16

    Small quibble which you already know- there are non-addictive options for anxiety. Citalopram comes to mind. Not saying anything about its’ Appropriateness for you- exercise seems to be working well!

  3. 14 June 2015 08:21

    There was a huge change in my life when a psychiatrist recently suggested treating me for anxiety rather than depression. You don’t have to take benzos, SSRIs, etc. to treat anxiety.

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