Saturday, March 19, 2011
Aruba.. Or not..
I was again unable to get on a plane and go to Aruba. This time, however, I had my anxiety attack, complete with uncontrollable sobbing in our apartment before we had even left. The only upside to having it earlier is that I convinced Pam to go without me. As bad as I felt anxiety-wise I felt even more guilty about the possibility of Pam missing out on a vacation. I think of all the times my mother had wanted to go (or has gone) away and the angst that my Dad went through and his attempts to get her to not go. I don't want to have Pam miss out because of my anxiety.
So with Pam in Aruba and me still off from work next week I"m planning to see my therapist multiple times and work on a plan to aggressively conquer this whole stupid anxiety thing, including, hopefully, figuring out a way to induce anxiety attacks in an otherwise controlled environmental so that I can learn how to work through them on my own but also so that they are no longer this big scarey unknown. The panic attacks are, I think, a lot like the anxiety I had about thunderstorms when I was younger -- I would stress about thunderstorms days in advance if I saw them in the forecast. However, I started to get better about thunderstorms when I learned more about weather patterns and even clouds so that, although I couldn't control them, I felt like they wouldn't "sneak up" on me and also if a storm was coming I had a better sense of what to expect. This is my goal with my anxiety -- to learn more about the panic attacks themselves and learn to know what to expect.
Additionally, I'm hoping to work with the therapist to determine the root cause of the anxiety. As she pointed out, the anxiety is most likely a metaphor for something else. I had hoped to make a break through to an "a ha!" moment while I was in therapy early on (2004 and beyond) but lacking that kind of break through I accepted that the medication was enabling me to do things without anxiety. However, since my anxiety has reoccurred - mostly in response to Dad's health issues -- I have been unable to ride subways alone and, of course, unable to face getting on a plane.
Although I'm disappointed in missing out on two vacations - California and Aruba - and frustrated with my subway issues that effect me daily, I feel good in that my new therapist seems very proactive as far as dealing with all this and I also realize I can't commit myself to doing things I'm not ready to do (like flying places).