I had an epiphany while driving home today. It was storming.....bad. While most people freak out during this situation, I am always calm and welcome the challenge. I straightened up my seat to an almost 90 degree angle and gripped the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 so hard my knuckles were white. I have concentration so crisp it's like a brain surgeon making an incision. And this made me question myself. If everyday challenges can become such difficult tasks for me (because of my anxiety), then why do I enjoy the challenge of driving on the interstate in a terrible storm? Through my concentration, I was also thinking hard on this. I didn't feel an inkling of anxiety. Wouldn't a person with anxiety have it at a moment like this? I could crash at any moment, go fish tailing out of control. So why wasn't I freaking the f out?!
It's because I was actually in control of the car. I had something to place my concentration on. I was in control of an object. I wasn't considering the fact that someone else on the road could fuck up at any moment causing me to spin out of control. I had the control. It was mine. When I get anxiety, I usually don't have anything to attatch it to. I woke up with terrible anxiety the other day and I could tell my brain was just searching for something to explain it. So all of a sudden I was freaking out about a stupid list (shit that reminds me I have to email that to the assistant director) of direct ordered periodicals and their expiration and renewal dates. Really? Was that really something to freak out about? No, it wasn't. But I needed an object to grasp on to. I read a review a friend wrote about a book on fear and anxiety and in it he states that fear is different from anxiety because fear involves an object. You are afraid of a lion on the loose because it could maul you. You are afraid of a speeding car as you are crossing the street because it can hit you. There is no object with anxiety.
I used to be afraid of talking in the drive thru. I refused to do it. I got anxiety even approaching a fast food place when I was driving. I have conquered that. I am sometimes afraid to call people (strangers mind you) to make appointments or ask questions. Lately, I have found ease doing it. Slowly, but surely, I will come to grips with my anxiety without the help of anti depressants. I have been off of them for almost a year now and I am damn proud of myself for the progress I have made. I sometimes have bad days, but I try to not let it show and deal with it the best I can. I told our student worker at the library that I have anxiety and you know what she said to me, "Really? I seriously would've never guessed." I hide it well. haha!
I am constantly challenging myself to overcome the things that I know will give me anxiety. I have been forcing myself to do these things and get through it. Currently, I feel better than I have in quite some time. And I am damned determined to continue this trend.