mind

Anxiety rears it’s head again…

I don’t know what’s going on but I’m not responding well to the structure of this anxiety desensitization. It seems the only reward for driving is having to drive farther in the future. That’s not working well. I went from having minimal anxiety about driving to the store to now being worried for the entire day before having to drive tomorrow. I know that driving a mile is not a big deal and I can cognitive restructure all I want but I’m not having thoughts that aren’t true. I need a different reward structure like if I drive all week I can have my weekend free to relax. I swear my therapist must get so frustrated, I’m always changing the homework. I think the problem is that the caveman part of my brain already knows I’ve reached the lowest possible state of anxiety and doesn’t want to do anything to increase it at all. Rationally I know it’s not sustainable but that caveman part just isn’t rational. So I’m gonna have a lot to talk about with T next time.

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mind

The chocolate haul

Day 2 of driving desensitization, went to the store again. I forgot to buy any chocolate yesterday so somehow my brain went into overdrive buying chocolate today. I was just going to buy the chocolate chunks to have a snack around but apparently that was not enough. So today I just got up got dressed and drove. Very little anxiety because I could just go out immediately and didn’t have to wait for a good traffic window. I live on a major road in a near burb to Chicago so traffic is a legitimate concern. So far so good with the driving but I’ll need to do it until it feels effortless before moving on to the next step.

flowers, mind, photo

The big reward…

This beautiful African violet is actually the little reward. The big reward is the accomplishment itself. Today I said no to anxiety, I didn’t let it stop me from doing something I needed to do. I didn’t make an excuse and bow out. Today was the first day of my driving practice. All I did was drive to the grocery store, which I’ve done a million times but I’ve also made a million excuses not to go, too rainy, to tired, too snowy. This time because it was part of my desensitization I started feeling anxiety from the moment I awoke, I had to do this it wasn’t optional. So for two hours I felt the initial pangs of anxiety but without letting it escalate to something where the tiny inner voice takes over. There’s little to be done about the initial pangs of anxiety they are an instinct from the past , but they tend to go away when the problem does. As soon as I walked out to the car my anxiety lifted. Let’s do this I thought. I made it to the store and back with no issues and one African violet richer. More than that though I felt elated. It’s been many years since I did something that was causing anxiety anyway. Usually they are the optional but fun things in life, maybe an orchid show some place I’ve never been before would come up but I couldn’t even ride there as a passenger much less drive. You see my fear is what could happen not what’s likely to happen and it can be debilitating. Just not today, we’re starting with a clean slate, anxiety 0, me 1.