I've been sifting through some rather weighty issues in my life, and there just hasn't been a lot of oomph left over for blogging, as much as I miss it, and as much as I really do want and intend to get back to it.
The fact is, it's difficult to blog when you have generalized anxiety disorder.
After all, I can't be blogging if all of my animals are going to get inexplicably sick at the same time (despite the lack of proof that they're ailing,) that the house is going to fall apart and we won't have the money to fix it, that I'll lose my job and REALLY not have any money to fix it, that meteors are going to fall and destroy us all, etc. etc. etc. There really is no rhyme or reason to anxiety... it just happens. It flits from topic to topic to topic until I am completely exhausted and there just isn't enough of me left over to deal with things.
I do try to keep my blog solely about my pets, but in some ways, it is also about ME, one of the two caretakers of those pets. So, that is where I am right now.
I'm learning some good coping strategies... I KNOW some good coping strategies, it's just a matter of learning to "turn down the volume" of the worries enough to employ one of the coping strategies.
Coping Strategy Number 1: Live in the moment. And this is one that I've learned from my animals. When I start to have out of control anxiety, it is always thinking about the future. Because you know, the present isn't all that bad. I enjoy my life, when I am not worrying about things in the future that I have no business worrying about (I mean, c'mon. Meteors?)
|Argos, living in the moment.|
Coping Strategy Number 2: Surround yourself with supportive people. And this is where I've made some mistakes. My go-to reaction to the avalanche of worries that life and my brain dump on me is to hide, preferably in a deep, dark cave, where no one can find me. I find myself avoiding people: friends, acquaintances, even those in the blogosphere. Not because any of these people wouldn't want to be supportive of me, but because it's just me, shutting down. My tendency is to want to focus 100% on whatever I'm worrying about. People are a distraction from that tendency, so I avoid them.
And that is exactly why I am going to stop doing that right now. I need to be surrounded by supportive people. Not necessarily holding my hands and whispering "Poor Melanie" in my ear, but to keep me focused on the here and now. To force me to think about other things.
Coping Strategy Number Three: Avoid triggers. This is a tricky one, because it is possible to take it too far. I am not interested in burying my head in the sand and pretending that nothing is wrong or can go wrong. But there are certain things that I KNOW set off my worry avalanche completely unnecessarily, and I am slowly teaching myself to stay away from them. My two triggers, completely unrelated to one another are: negative, critical people, and sugar. Negative, critical people are easy to stay away from, once you know who they are. The sugar... well... that's another story, and probably for a different blog. Nevertheless, I am slowly learning that neither one of these triggers is worth it.
Coping Strategy Number Four: Have confidence. One of the "features" of my anxiety is the fear that something bad will happen AND IT WILL BE MY FAULT. Our house will burn down... not because of bad luck, faulty wiring, or a lightning strike, but that I left the iron plugged in. The cat can't just be sick, it has to be because I fed her the wrong food, that I left something out for her to get into. I won't just lose my job because the economy is rotten, it will be because I did something so huge and so horrible that I will never be able to work again. The list goes on and on. I haven't found a way to blame myself for the coming meteor strike yet, but I'm working on it.
|Charlotte does not have self-doubt. She is the queen.|
Coping Strategy Number Five: Get more rest. I fight with anxiety a lot, and probably will my entire life. But it REALLY rushes in when I am tired, and worn down and less able to think clearly. I don't get enough rest as a general rule; I don't think that many of us do. I am trying to take steps to slow down. To make sure that I get sleep at night, and that I spend some time relaxing instead of constantly finding chores to do.
|Annie is so relaxed that she oozes.|
This can backfire sometimes... when you take on too much, and are so busy taking care of everyone else that you fail to take care of yourself. But sometimes it does nudge me just enough to get me back on track.
|Clark and Amelia|
|Lewis and Nellie. (Lewis, front, Nellie, back.)|
But. Back to me. So now my readers know where I am. I don't necessarily care for being so honest in such a public forum, but I've finally decided that if I'm going to be able to learn to cope, then I need to learn to talk about this issue. I need to learn to be honest about it and how it affects me.