Am I the only one who plays conversations through her head a million times? Am I the only one who plans how she will react to someone that she may need to confront? Am I the only one who frets about what might happen if…?
I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one, but sometimes these things that I do make me feel crazy. I remember when I first learned how to manage my anxiety and depression, I decided that I wanted to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. I was reading silently in my senior English class, and suddenly I started wondering if I was crazy, if I would some day wind up in a psych ward somewhere like McMurphy. I was honestly convinced at the time that my anxiety and depression were making me crazy.
Self talk is probably my greatest weapon against these crazy feelings, but sometimes self talk is dangerous. It’s dangerous when I’m stuck in a loop. When I can’t seem to let things go. When I’m afraid how I might react to that one student in my class who pushes me too close to the edge. When I’m terrified that I might have to deal with this cycle of depression and anxiety forever.
But self talk helps me out of the loop. I often have to tell myself that I’m not going to go off on some kid. That I’m not going to suddenly flip out and kill everyone that gets in my way. That I’m not going to run right into the car that’s heading toward me on the two-lane highway. I have to remind myself when I start having a panic attack that it will end. That I can control my breathing. That I can distract myself with something, anything.
Knowing that I’m not the only one who feels this way is a lifesaver. Thankfully I’ve had people around me who understand my anxiety. It’s amazing how many people feel the same fears that I do. And sometimes just telling someone that I’m having a panic attack helps the attack to pass pretty quickly.
Solutions for my thoughts are endless. Next time I’ll share more of my experience with the solutions that have given me more good days in the last year.