I wonder sometimes if anxiety is cyclical. I mentioned recently that it had been on the increase. That carried on until about a week ago and then suddenly seemed to subside. External factors haven’t changed particularly so I can’t attribute it to those. And I don’t think my mindset has changed either. So I don’t know. Perhaps I should keep a record, see if a pattern emerges.
I look back over the last few weeks and it seems kind of alien. As if that was another person. In fact, my wife had said at times it felt like there was a different person in the house.
I don’t like the impact this condition has on my family. It makes me sad. I wish it was something I could shuck off, like an unwanted skin. At the same time, anxiety feels so embedded, so much a part of my personality, I worry (there it is!) at what would be left. Would there be much of a person?
Enough rumination. Time for a run.
Since picking up the running again, I have managed to go once a week. So far, it’s actually been a run/walk. Starting small, not overreaching. According to Garmin, my training status is sitting firmly in the recovery zone, so I’m really not pushing myself much at the moment.
It’s more about building the habit at this stage.
I’m enjoying doing it. I look forward to going. Two important factors.
I’m not spending too much time researching the topic online. Honest, guv. This is where it can get tricky. Those tempting Rabbit Holes of the Interweb. It is fun learning and building knowledge but the capacity for that to get in the way of actually doing a thing is dangerous. Plus the all consuming nature of ‘research’ causing overexposure leading to mental fatigue and the inevitable giving up of a thing. That’s the bit I really want to avoid.
A good recall has been top of the list of skills we want to teach our young Spaniel. We’ve used Pippa Martinson’s Total Recall (nothing to do with Arnie) as a guide. While we haven’t quite managed the rigourous program that she suggests, we have stuck at it.
I was particularly pleased with our girl today, because while walking her she scooted off twice to try and play with other dogs, being a very sociable sort, and both times came back instantly on the whistle. I only wish I’d had an extra special treat with me to reward her with.
While the training for recall perhaps never quite comes to an end it gives me a lot of confidence in her to know she can come away from such an appealing distraction.
The great tits are nesting where the blue tits usually nest. The blue tits where the great tits usually do. Sparrows are nesting in one or possibly two of the swallows nests, so the swallows are confining themselves to the remaining nests. It’s like a bird version of musical chairs.
Its been a full on week. A combination of unexpected hiccups, a long day trip to visit ageing parents, demanding work, and so on. Not much space between.
In what little time there has been to stop and think, I’ve been pondering the relationship between stuff that happens, mental processing, journaling and blogging . Most days I have gone to write something in my journal(Obsidian), from which blog posts tend to originate, but have found I am too tired to write.
Usually there is a flow that goes something like: event>mental processing>journaling>blogging. Events can be either external things that occur or internal trains of thought, research and so on.
That flow happens along a spectrum where, at one end very little happens, either externally(which is rare) or internally(which never happens. Way too much going on in my head is the default), to the other end where too much is going on.
If not enough is going on then I’m unlikely to journal or blog. If too much is going on, like this week, I can’t process anything and so, again, I am unlikely to journal of blog.
So there has to be a sweet spot in the middle, where there is enough mental stimulation to promote creative thought, and enough space to balance the stimulation to allow that processing and creativity to occur. The Goldilocks zone.
This past week has definitely not been in that zone. That’s ok every now and then but I’ll be happy to get back into that sweet spot.
I can’t recall which day it was, but shortly after getting my prescription of beta-blockers, I tried one while relaxing one evening, as per my doctor’s instructions. No bad side effects, I might have felt slightly swimmy-headed for a short while, so I don’t think I need concern myself with whether or not to use them in future.
While talking with my wife about anxiety the other day, I was describing a particular scenario, quite a banal one, and how my thoughts were spinning off in all directions, running through all the possible negative outcomes that could occur. Her response was ‘Really?!? You actually think all this stuff?’ It’s this sort of conversation that reminds me that the way anxiety is so embedded into my thinking that it is kind of normal for me. Normal, it most definitely ain’t, but having lived with it for as far back as I can remember it’s easy to forget that for the majority, this is not the way they think.
When I originally went to the doctor in 2019 he screened me for Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and if I can put it this way, I passed with flying colours. Because I’d gone to see him originally about social anxiety and that was what my CBT was specifically for, I somehow didn’t quite take on board that my particular version of anxiety was broader than that. I think as well that I tend to think there must be so many people with it far worse than I have, that I’m not sure whether I have the genuine article. I mentioned this to my wife and her response was along the lines of ‘we all know you have it bad!’
Talking to my doctor the other day, I described a period about 18 months ago where I felt worse. He asked what did my family think of where I was at with it all at the time. I told him that they had really noticed my irritability had reared its head again. It’s not the first time I’ve heard of a doctor asking for the opinion of family members on the state of a loved one. I guess that medical professionals know that those close to someone with a mental health condition have a perspective that can sometimes see with a greater objectivity what is going on than that of the person with the condition. At the end of the day, as a result rather than a cause, a distorted perspective is arguably at the heart of most, if not all, mental health conditions.
Getting a puppy last summer inevitably meant that other things that regularly took up my time would be put aside, temporarily at least. Now she is nearly a year old looking after her is a bit less of a regime.
Recently, I’ve been aware that anxiety has been ramping up to a more intrusive level. My family have noticed as well, commenting on an increase in irritability. I haven’t been sleeping so well either, and this is probably caused by the anxiety and of course doesn’t help with the very same anxiety.
The two above factors have prompted me to start doing regular fitness activities again. Having the puppy really meant there was no time to fit any regular exercise in besides what I did with her. But, my habit had fallen off the radar long before that. I can’t even recall when that happened actually. Probably a gradual erosion or setting it aside because of competing pressures and, ironically, anxieties.
I’m starting small. Just a short run and a short bike ride per week. Nothing that will loom too large in my mind. I’m so prone to leaping in with both feet, excited by the novelty and buzz of learning something new, only to find my enthusiasm drained by anxiety and thwarted perfectionism.
Finished Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer. The most enjoyable of her crime novels that I’ve read so far. Particularly waspish and funny. And a genuine moment of shock, insofar as what is pretty cozy crime can shock, as the ‘how’ is revealed.
I had a discussion last week with my doctor to review my meds. I’m going to stick with the antidepressants for now and review again in a year. However, he recommended that I also have some beta-blockers to be used as required for particularly anxiety-inducing situations. He suggested that I try one during the evening when I’m relaxing just to see if there are any unpleasant side effects or not.
The thing is, I wonder why the doctor who first prescribed me the antidepressants, different to the one I spoke with last week, didn’t recommend the beta-blockers from the get go? They could have been very useful in the early stages of dealing with the anxiety and doing the CBT. Ho hum.
I’ve realised I’m falling into the same trap again with blogging, that of wanting to write longer posts but not doing so because I find the mental effort required incompatible with the time I have available at any given moment. So shorter posts is what tends to get done.
Meanwhile, my idea to write a short post about what is on my mind regarding a bigger topic, and then following it up with further short posts as my thoughts develop on said topic, isn’t really happening.
Thinking about this though, I realise with hyperlinks and comments a two-way thread can be created. That way, regardless of which post someone comes upon initially, the whole thread can be traced back to it’s beginning and through to the end.