What happens when I lose it...

What to do when I lose it...

Today, my husband and I went to Costco. Let me set the scene: it was busy, it was hot, and I was already in a pretty bad mood. My husband is going through a period of extreme snoring (with a little whistle at that end) and so I haven't gotten a good night's sleep for many nights. Not to make excuses for my bad behavior, but let's just say when I wake up, I am pretty much a semi-Linda Blair from  The Exorcist.

So when he quietly uttered to me, "I'm going to Costco.." hoping I didn't hear him, and he could just sneak away in peace and get the heck away from me, I heard him loud and clear.  In response, I answered, "That sounds great. I'll be ready in thirty minutes." Poor guy. 

Once inside Costco, we had a good time. The shelves were well stocked, there was lots of toilet paper and paper towels and yes, hand sanitizer, which now despite the frenzy we witnessed not so long ago, no one really seemed to be interested in getting any. 

I was having fun when I suddenly noticed I had forgotten my water bottle...so half way, just as I was moving away from the cold areas (near the dairy and veggie area) I felt thirsty and very warm. Suddenly, my little world got even smaller, almost claustrophobic. Samples were no where in sight,  people who were also hot and who knows, had husbands who snore were whizzing by me wearing their masks, and I felt tired, cranky as I noticed that we had spent well past our 100$ shopping limit.

By the time, I was in the car, my husband drove what I deemed the wrong way. Instead of driving a longer way to the freeway, one that would avoid pedestrian traffic, he was driving directly into a crowded intersection.

My husband is like my mom. They don't mind crowds, they roll with punches. As we went towards the crowded parking area, I kept telling him to go around. He didn't listen and then placed his hand over me. "Are you ok?"

I wasn't. I hadn't had an anxiety attack for months, but suddenly, I found myself in the midst of one. I always felt that simple things can trigger what is already stirring within and there usually is much more underneath. My stuff underneath included: an argument with my teenage daughter a few days ago, I got word that my knee surgery would be put off for months due to backlog from Covid-19. This plus the lack of sleep, and I was that tea kettle which started to go off. First, a small whimper then a long drawn out cry. I literarily began crying. After sixteen years of marriage, my husband  knew me and knew that engaging with me or telling me "to calm down" would make matters worst. Instead, he just let me calm down.

When I got home, I apologized and drank some cold water. Within a half hour, I could feel my anxiety dissipate.  

I took in some deep breaths.

In the past, when I had these bouts of anxiety, I would just toss up my hands and say "Oh well. My day is ruined. I can't do this, I have too much going on." But I knew that days can easily turns to
weeks, then months, then years. Instead, my time is too precious to allow my thoughts and anxiety ruin my day.

After dealing with anxiety for years, I know a few things that help calm me down, and I have them on stand by, very much like that emergency kit that we keep in our cabinets or in our cars. I have to admit, today was tough, but I persisted and insisted that I need to get out of this funk quickly and not ruin the day for everyone around me.

Here are some things I did:

Your kit is to help you engage in activities that will have you feel better and calmer.  

1. Wrote in my gratitude journal. I wrote just a few lines, mainly venting with a few words about what I am grateful for. It is hard to write about gratitude when one is in the thick of things, so I wrote after I calmed down a bit. Doing so I felt better. 

2. Watched that my anxiety wouldn't trickle down and affect the whole household. 

3. Took a shower. This immediately helps to separate myself from the anxiety. 

4. Have a cup of decaf. Some people like tea. I had a really good cup of coffee.  

5. Talk to someone. Keep it short and sweet. Your loved ones are there to support you but don't take advantage of them. 

There are many ways, some basic some creative to help you feel settled. Just try to stay away from activities that will cost you a lot of money or involve self destructive bad habits. If you think that you need additional help, please go seek medical help or therapy. 

Update: Despite my resistance, I managed to dig myself out of my anxiety. Nothing is worse for me than having a day where I accomplished little or checked off nothing from a TO DO list. It is now almost 10 pm, and I have to report, that I am feeling much better and am excited about the new week.