This Time, Anxiety Won

by Bill Brenner on February 23, 2013

A confession: This past week, I’ve done a miserable job using my many coping tools to manage OCD and anxiety. What makes this particularly sinister is that I’ve just finished a week of vacation with the kids.

Mood music:

[spotify:track:5sSXTZeLV25Byz0ryxoc4O]

Everything I’ve told you in past posts about learning to enjoy the precious present and not let worry take over is true. Weeks like this simply drive home the reality that I can never be fully free of my demons. I can only manage them and keep them from overtaking me most of the time. I’m fine with that. We all have our special challenges that dog us for life. It produces a pain we gain wisdom from. And from that wisdom comes joy.

So what set me off this week? Travel plans.

Tonight I fly to San Francisco for a few days of covering RSA and Security B-Sides. I was supposed to leave tomorrow morning, but was forced to leave a day sooner because of another impending winter storm in the Northeast. That made me resentful right off the bat. I was expecting a nice day with my wife and kids before leaving, and this was a big monkey wrench in the plan.

It also stoked my anxiety. Not the fear part, but the part where I worry to the point where I can’t see two feet in front of me. I watched the weather like a hawk. I downloaded no fewer than three weather apps on my Android and followed them all throughout the days. I checked all the weather sites every time I opened the laptop or switched on the TV.

If the predicted snow count went up, I grew depressed. If the projected amounts went down, I became unreasonably euphoric.

That kind of mood swinging does terrible things to the human body. Hormones go nuts, muscles tense into headaches and you sleep terribly.

I have no one to blame. I did this to myself. I sometimes get so cocky about my ability to manage the demons that I’m thrown for a bigger loop than I otherwise would be when things don’t go as planned.

As for the anxiety, it didn’t have to be that way, because it really was a good vacation otherwise. I got in a lot of quality time with the kids. Erin had to work most of the time, unfortunately, but Wednesday we had a nice dinner out and Friday we had a family day with a visit to the¬†McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, N.H. After that, Erin and I did groceries together for what was probably the first time since the kids came along. That was pretty cool.

But I let my worry overshadow it all, and for that I’m a little pissed with myself.

It’s time for me to regain my control.

Def Leppard Hysteria album cover

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Charron February 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I’ve realized that over the years, February is one of my hardest months emotionally. I looked back to diaries, health records and blogs and realized its ridiculous that I hadn’t noticed the pattern before. A couple weeks ago I had a MAJOR panic attack and melted down at work. New meds, a trip to the sunshine and a change in diet have helped turn things around. Keep plugging away my friend. Spring is coming and hopefully this bad weather is behind us both.

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