Anxiety and Avoidance- Christmas Blues

It isn’t my desire tonight to have a self-deprecating blog post, but I feel alone and sad…much like a lot of people I’m sure, but I feel like I need to vent somewhere just for a moment – ultimately I’ll regret my post in the morning but hey ho.

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I can find this time of year pretty hard. I enjoy Christmas, admittedly I get a small break from work which is fantastic, but I love the feel of general happiness, being around those I care about and sitting back, relaxing and watching some crummy ol’ Christmas movies…I really do.

But for someone who struggles with general anxiety and occasional panic attacks, I also wish I could hibernate until it is all over. This September, essentially three months before Christmas I was already worrying and obsessing about the work Christmas party. Therefore I didn’t go…again, as usual. I avoided this like I avoid everything because I am too scared of risking “it”, of having a panic attack and ruining it for everyone and embarrassing myself again. Oh how I would love to have a good laugh, mix a little and enjoy myself. Hell, I’d even have a glass of wine or two..and I rarely drink but I want to be that person, not this shadow of a girl I have become.

So I decided long before to visit Sheffield instead and also my friend in Wakefield. Catching a train journey long distance seemed a less scary prospect than going to a work Christmas party, crazy isn’t it? I was all set to go, toothbrush, tickets, journey planner, then I wake up the morning before ill, ill enough to stop me from going. I know this wasn’t the anxiety stopping me as I booked the train tickets already and they were nonrefundable. Last time I forced myself into this situation I did it and had a great time…but this time I felt too rough and now also despise myself for that…letting people down yet again.

So here I am, deluding myself that one day I will be able to climb over this bridge I have chained myself beneath and live a little, not be afraid. To not let my unfathomable emotions think I’ll…

  • Be sick at the dinner table due to anxiety and hyperventilating.
  • Have a panic attack and end up being the unfortunate centre of attention.
  • Being out of place / being the burden / being pitied.
  • Be ashamed of my inability to do basic things…go out for a meal and have a good time.

My partner is currently at his works Christmas party, having a wonderful time no doubt and here I am alone and dwelling about my dissatisfaction over my life. I sound really pathetic I know. But I don’t want to be the one who sits home alone anymore. I hope someone out there understands me and I am not alone in this anxiety madness nightmare.

Anxious about having a panic attack = having a panic attack due to how anxious I feel.

I wrote the below this afternoon, it is a very short piece which describes some of my emotions when I have an upcoming event that I do not wish to attend due to my fears and predictions. I get myself into such a state when I am invited out to a meal or sometimes certain social gatherings, that I worry about the event on a daily basis, weeks before it is even due to occur! I have been working very hard with my CBT guide to overcome this and challenge my thoughts.

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 I find myself trembling ever so slightly and white fluffy clouds begin distorting my vision, I’m hot and struggle to catch my breath as my heart begins to run its daily marathon.

Perspiration starts to trickle down my brow as I look in angst around my room.

I worry about having a panic attack even more than the event I have been invited to, I obsess, create scenarios in my mind and for each day that passes on the calendar, I fear the worst.

I am exhausted.

I try to suppress the negative thoughts that burrow in the back of my mind, but they linger and scratch at my temples with eager persistence.

My feelings and paranoia are dismissed and belittled by those around me as I struggle to keep my cool. Their lack of understanding depresses me.

As the day gets closer my anxiety increases, my patient, usual friendly manner wears thin. I snap at those around me.

I have only been invited out for a meal, how foolish and self-centered am I, If I turn down the invitation once again?

But how can I attend, with all those spectators that will witness my cries. I will lose control and panic will take control and destroy the once pleasant atmosphere.

I look for problems where none exist; I try to hide away where I will not be missed. I avoid the people I know and love; I despise my emotions and the emotional wreck I become.