Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Not So Sweet Dreams

Waking up can be a huge relief!
There are dreams and there are nightmares... and then there's that in-between anxiety dream

It's not exactly a nightmare in the traditional sense.   You aren't afraid for your life and nobody else is in danger... you're just put into some sort of every-day scenario that makes you extremely nervous and anxious.

For me, the two reoccurring themes for these dreams are school and stage.

I haven't taken a math class in almost ten years, and I still sometimes dream that I'm about to take some sort of math test and I don't know any of the answers.  Similarly, I have dreamed that I have a huge project due soon that I haven't even started.  School may be over, but the fear of failure that goes along with it remains.

I also used to act in high school, and sometimes I still have anxiety drama dreams. I'll envision that I have a huge role... I'm about to get onstage, and I haven't memorized any of my lines.

Recently I was blessed with both of these dreams in one night!  I was actually laying there in a half-awake state afterward trying to figure out how to get the project done before I came to enough to realize that it didn't actually exist.

Having these anxieties still haunt me is a tragedy, but waking up to realize that none of it is real?  That's always a great triumph in my book.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The NBA Finals and Sports Anxiety

That game!

Anyone who saw Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Sunday understands the term "Sports Anxiety."  

It was Cleveland's Cavaliers vs. Oakland's Warriors, a close back-and-forth game that came down to the final minute.  Then it happened... the Cavs who were down 3-1 made history, and Cleveland won its first major sports championship in over 50 years.

Now watching that game was torture.  It was up in the air until the end.  With the conditions of these playoffs, I've heard a lot of people talking about sports anxiety recently.  One of the players after the game even talked about how it almost gave him an "anxiety attack."  Fans feel it too.  Some people hate it so much they don't even like to watch the game.

But as someone with an anxiety disorder, I feel the opposite.  I love sports anxiety.  Here's why:

1.  Sports anxiety invests me in the game.  By the end of Game 7, I was literally shaking. When you don't care, sports are really boring.  Caring and freaking out with the ups and downs, on the other hand, really makes you feel alive! 

2.  Unlike with a lot of general anxiety, sports anxiety has an obvious end point.  You either win or lose, and it's over. Clear-cut.  Beautiful.

3.  There's always another chance.  "There's always next year" was the Cleveland motto for my entire life.  If we lost, as we did every single time up until this point, it was okay because there would be opportunities in the future.

Honestly, it's hard for me to remember a single moment in the past twenty-some years of my life where I wasn't feeling some sort of anxiety.  Anxiety sucks and I wish it would go away 99% of the time.  But, feeling it because of love for a sports team?  Because of love for the place I was born and raised?   That anxiety can feel pretty damn good. 

And this time, we triumphed.  Cleveland - We are the champions.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I think my therapist may be trying to break up with me...

Hold on a second.  I realize this sounds like a paranoid delusion but hear me out.  

Everyone knows that insurance is obnoxious.  Especially when it comes to mental health, it's hard to catch a break.  When my therapist, an OCD specialist, decided to switch practices, my insurance decided not to cover her anymore.  Nothing about her changed except her location, and they cover other people at her new practice, but they are still giving her trouble.

So, my therapist tells me about this and we try to go about fixing the problem and appealing the decision.  We encounter conflicting answers and no results.  

I was ready to try new avenues, but my therapist comes back at me with something along the lines of, "Well, we will meet one more time for closure and if things don't work out I can always recommend other therapists to you."

Closure?!  What is this, a breakup?

Something about the way she approached it came across as eager to pass me along to someone else.  I'm friendly and self-reflective... I imagine I'm a pretty easy patient.  So why is she so quick to give up the fight?  

Plus, we've been working together for about a year.  Now, I get that OCD must be an obnoxious disorder to treat because it can be the same thing over and over, but this is her specialty.  I feel like it's helping and the last thing I want is to start over and explain all my meshugas to someone else.

If anything this is a tragedy, but really it's just ridiculous.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Up in the Air

Sky-High Anxiety.
When you have anxiety, not knowing what is going to happen can feel the same as knowing something bad is going to happen.

I'm the best at assuming the worst.

Right now, I'm dealing with a lot of uncertainty.  I was waiting on job news that I originally hoped to learn by the end of May... then the end of June... and now have discovered I may not learn until August.

I want to be able to feel secure and plan, but I can't.  At this point, things are out of my hands.  Everything is out of my control... let the chips fall as they may.

I have to learn how to live with the unknown.  The truth is that nothing is certain in this life.  Even when you feel certain, you don't really know.  Certainty is a beautiful illusion.

Yesterday, the anxiety of not knowing really got to me.  I had a total freakout... crying, sobbing, wanting to give up.  My triumph for today was getting up and going to work.  Bad days happen during high stress times, but life keeps moving and you have to keep moving too.