Ch.49 Slow Motion Panic Attack
You already know, if you’ve been reading this journal, that I (Ron) am a worrier. I tend to think much more about what might go wrong in any given situation than about what could go right. But lately my worries have carried over into bodily breakdown symptoms. Specifically, I’ve just been given a prescription for medicine designed to head off a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. This is astonishing to me because I have always considered my digestive system to be one of my best friends, but now sometimes it feels more like a competitor wrestling with me for control over my body. But things like this happen, I guess, when you feel anxious all day long.
Maybe my rebellious digestive system is my friend, after all, as it tries to tell me something I haven’t wanted to hear, namely that my worry has reached an untenable level. I now sense that each of my individual fears has gradually mingled with all its companions to create a slow-motion panic attack.
My physical problems aren’t the only consequence of excessive anxiety. I’ve noticed that my worry credibility ranking has gone way down with Pat. She is more likely than before to dismiss my concerns as the somewhat hysterical mutterings of a constantly alarmed person. Call this the “Sky is Falling” syndrome. If I could quit telling her to be careful ten times a day maybe she would agree to be more careful in a few relatively serious situations.
I don’t know when or why I began worrying excessively but it’s been ongoing for at least two months. However, my anxiety did seem to peak a few days ago just before I discussed the matter with Pat and my brother Don. Since then I feel more normal; I no longer wake up scared in the middle of the night. In addition to talking with my family I have been practicing relaxation through breathing exercises and, from a cognitive perspective, I have concentrated on focusing upon what is going well this minute as against what might go badly in the future. My hope is that I will be able to discontinue my digestive medicines soon. More than that, I hope to restore my worry creds with Pat and, even more than that, to feel safe in the world again.
Pat’s comments on Slow Moving Panic Attack.
I think Ron has to draw a clear line on his level of anxiety and panic and when he begins to feel more and more worried, he needs to ask himself what to do to feel less worried. I have to do that myself because I can get worried and when I become too worried life is no fun. I want to encourage Ron more and more if he has to take time for himself to do that but not to forget the rest of us around here who love him and want him to feel good, including the dog and the cat.