So this last week and a half or so was pretty rough emotionally. I won't get into it but I had another trust-related anxiety attack related to being gone, and not being able to spend time with my angel of a husband. It happens a lot when we're separated, unfortunately. I'm just consumed with this fear that if I'm gone he'll find someone else and abandon me.
But this time I had 3-4 months of therapy on my side. When I felt myself slipping into negative, all-consuming thoughts I printed off an Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) worksheet and filled out the whole thing. It allowed me to stop and examine each of my thoughts for rationality (surprise, they were all irrational), and replace them with rational ones. I was still feeling a little iffy and anxious, so I reread this post that I wrote in July (and your amazing comments) and felt a lot better. I was able to talk to Rob a lot more coherently and didn't feel nearly the same level of anxiety. My baseline is around a 3 or 4 so I was doing pretty well.
THEN the situation that was "activating" these anxious thoughts changed and I won't lie, I came completely undone. My anxiety level was at a 7 or 8, I was shaking and completely depersonalizing. But simultaneously my mind was questioning itself and asking why on earth I was feeling so awful at something so trivial--and trivial it was. I had this bizarre emotional dichotomy going on in my mind and I was quickly vacillating between emotions. I felt like I was going totally insane. I printed off the REBT worksheet and filled it out. Then I printed off another and filled it out again. I talked through all my feelings with Rob, and the next day with my therapist over instant message. I felt so much more grounded, and when something happened that normally would've sent me into an anxious frenzy I barely gave it another thought. And though this panic attack was worse than it had been before, it felt like growing pains rather than a step backward. Does that make sense?
So it was a bumpy little side road I took, but I made it to the other side instead of crashing into a ditch. Pardon the tortured metaphor. Personally I call this progress and, at the risk of sounding silly, I was pretty damn proud of myself for this small accomplishment. It also reminded me that these anxious thoughts and fear will likely never totally disappear and that it really takes work to get rid of them. It's a lot easier to disconnect, to disengage, and to feel sorry for myself. With all the support I have, I think that I am finally willing and able to do what it takes to get myself into a healthy emotional place.
Have you been stressing about anything lately? Have you ever tried Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy?
Also, my sister is here, and we're spending Saturday at the Grand Canyon. Again. Yep, that's right...I will have officially been to the Grand Canyon twice. You can contact me for autographs.