When my phone rings and I see an unknown number, I let it ring out and wait for the voicemail. I do this a 100% of the time.
Last week on a totally random day at a totally random time it happened and after I had listened to the voicemail I called back. THIS is not what I do a 100% of the time.
What I do is wait at least a week to call back. I dread making phone calls and talking on the phone. DREAD it. Once I do it I’m totally fine and I’m able to make full coherent sentences and not be traumatised at all, but the first act of dialing a number just paralyses me.
That’s how much sense anxiety makes.
This time, however, I called back straight away. As I hit the dial button I thought “Wait a second, this is unusual, I’m returning a call. Like RIGHT AWAY. Interesting. Amazing.”
Last week on a different day something tragic happened that resulted in me having to have some very serious talks with my children. After it was all done and discussed I realised that this incident could have / would have in the past sent me spiralling into anxiety big time, but this time it didn’t.
I acknowledged the tragedy, was able to talk to my kids about it, and never had a panic attack or even a higher level anxiety than is my current status quo.
Earlier that week my youngest son turned 9. Because his birth was terrible for me and gave me all the PND and PTSD and whatnot, I dread his birthday every year. It is always such a conflicting date for me. I want to be happy and celebrate his birthday but I get flashbacks to that date in 2008 and I’m sad and angry and disappointed about everything that happened.
This year I waited for the anxiety as the date approached. The day finally arrived, we celebrated with various different groups of friends for 3 days straight and by the end of the long and lovely weekend I realised that it had just been HIS BIRTHDAY. It had not felt like the day my mental health took a nosedive.
It was just a birthday. A very nice birthday.
These experiences have made me think that my therapy must be working. I don’t know how it works because I don’t actually DO anything there. There’s no hypnotising or psychoanalysing of dreams or going back to my childhood and reliving things. There’s just talking. Some about the past, mostly about the present.
I leave the therapists office every week feeling physically light as a little snowflake. Some anxiety creeps back during the week but some of it doesn’t.
It’s amazing what unfiltered talking does.
In real life the filters are constantly on and to a brain that chatters about everything on a loop all the time anyway, this filtering is just adding to the general brain exhaustion.
Think about it, for most people, every time we consider saying something we filter it – is what I’m about to say ‘nice’, is it ‘PC’, is it intelligent, could it be taken the wrong way, should I reword it, etc., etc. We cannot just say whatever wants to come out of our mouths.
I can do that with the therapist though. I talk without pre-analysing what I’m going to say and I have no fear of judgement.
So I don’t know how it all works. Just talking. But it does.
And even though anxiety is still a wavy ocean that sometimes is calm and sometimes comes crashing down big time, I’m excited about the future.