Friday, September 21, 2012

When anxiety leads to negative obsession.

As if it's not already obvious by my other posts, I struggle with anxiety. Day to day basis, to be honest. There's not more than a few hours a day that go by without me anxiously worrying over something or another. I don't get the physical symptoms daily unless something comes up (such as needing to leave the house and interact with people), but I'm constantly worrying and obsessing.
But these aren't the "good" obsessions. They're not the fun obsessive interests that calm me down and let me feel like me, or that get things done. These are the ones that tear me apart inside. I will obsess over the tiniest of details leading up to an event until it actually happens, and only then will I either calm down or go into overdrive and near panic mode. Usually the latter, I've just gotten a bit better at masking it over time. If I don't obsess, then I am much much more likely to break down or meltdown into a full anxiety attack. Hyperventilating, sobbing, stimming and difficulty speaking included. Feels like I got run over by a truck.
Let's take last week as an example. I was referred to a therapist for my social anxiety, but we had to sit down and talk about what exactly my anxiety encompassed. I had no clue what to expect when I got there. I was referred to see someone named 'Travis', but I ended up getting 'Autumn'. I didn't know if the lady I briefly talked to on the phone was going to be my therapist. I assumed she was a secretary.

I knew I wanted to bring up the Aspergers thing with the therapist (which I had thought was an actual psychologist until I got there.) So I proceeded to obsess over what I needed to bring, knowing that I could go partially verbal at the appointment, or stim so much that I'd be barely understood. I ended up printing out over 20 pages of material (Basically the Autism Quotient test and the Aspie quiz from rdos, with my results included). I then sat there and commented on every single question, giving examples of situations where this or that happened. How I react to certain things. How this trait or that trait displayed in me. I then obsessed heavily over how it was going to happen. I talked to a few people, panicked on them, and went back to my hidey hole and continued to obsess. I didn't listen to their advice because I was scared and couldn't handle it. I created scripts in my head of what I was going to say and how I was going to say it. What their response would be, and then my response to their response. I fell asleep thinking these things, even. I obsessed over how the room would look like, if it'd smell okay or if I'd be gagging from a strong fake scent. If the person would have an accent or not, if I'd be able to open up to them, etc etc etc.
And by the time I got there, I was such an anxious ball of a mess that when she called me in I immediately tripped over the chair's footrest and then sat there shaking. I couldn't lean back and relax if I even wanted to. I bounced my leg nervously. I wrung my wrists, chewed on my fingers until they were raw. My fingernails barely exist at this point. and it felt like there was peanut butter stuck to the roof of my mouth when I tried to speak. She said I seemed very articulate, ironically enough. I guess all the years of practicing and hiding might've paid off, or hindered me. I hope not the latter.

I ended up not even using the papers at all. I will save them for a later date. I am not too good at answering questions on the spot, so some of the questions that were asked I feel that I didn't answer correctly because of the pressure. I have had physical symptoms related to my anxiety. I get upset stomachs frequently, bowl issues, and headaches almost weekly. I've had my own weird version of panic attacks ,where I either shut down and am unable to do much other than say a few things and pass out in bed for hours, or I break down into a meltdown and end up crying and stuttering so much I'm stuck just repeating the same phrases over and over. I don't have the typical panic attacks where I feel like I'm going to die or pass out or something. But I do end up having a reaction to a peak in anxiety that I can't control. It's difficult to explain in words.
I will be seeing the therapist again next wednesday...and I have things to bring up again that I forgot about last time. Maybe I'll just bring this post in.

Oh, and what happens if I don't mentally prepare for all these things? Then we get me sitting there in front of the person trying my best to not breakdown into an anxiety attack. Like what happened when I had to go get an ultrasound to check for cysts. *sigh* It's difficult..

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