58) Anxiety Cafe

Quick back story to this post:

For those of you who are new here, hi! I had an accident 7 months ago and I’m still in recovery from a concussion. So much has changed since the head injury and unfortunately I have developed anxiety as a result. I have been writing a book about the experience as a form of therapy for myself, the following is a small excerpt from one chapter about my anxiety:

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I sat in the car outside the cafe. I was 12 minutes early. My mouth felt dry and I knew it wasn’t from dehydration. I was nervous, I’ve gone from almost daily cafe visits to needing a nervous pee at the thought of grabbing a quick coffee.

I could feel my heart beating way too fast and that now all too familiar feeling of anxiety was attempting to claw it’s way up from my belly into my throat. I swallowed hard but it hung on tight. My fingers ache and I flex them, not realising until now how hard I had been gripping the steering wheel.

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I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. My mom used to tell me to breathe like this when I felt car sick on the way to the beach as a child. It’s usually comforting but not now. I put my hand on my tummy and try to do my belly breathing. 7 minutes until I have to go in.

I try a different tactic, I hold my breath. My psychologist explained that panic attacks are brought on by the lungs not getting enough carbon dioxide, we breathe too fast for the process to work and that makes us panic more.

So I sit in my car outside a cafe holding my breath and wonder how is this my life now.

5 minutes to go. I’m not going to be alone I tell myself. I’m meeting my speech and language therapist, she won’t let anything bad happen. What am I even worried about though! I literally have no idea!

4 minutes. I’m worried about everything and nothing. There is nothing wrong I repeatedly tell myself. My anxiety repeatedly ignores this statement.

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2 minutes. I’ve forgotten my sunglasses. How could I forget sunglasses, it’s so bright out, I’m going to be squinting I think. Then a quieter voice adds “I have nothing to hide behind.”

It’s time to go. You would be forgiven for thinking I was walking towards an execution. Why am I so terrified?

As soon as I see my therapist I feel a bit better, strength in numbers I think. THERE IS NOTHING TO BE SCARED OF I remind myself, THERES ALWAYS SOMETHING SCARY LURKING AROUND answers my anxiety.

We go in, I have a tea. It’s hot and I almost spill it. However I don’t die and nothing bad happens. See, I say smugly to my anxiety, everything is fine.

The days not over yet, it replies.

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