Registered: 1491830584 Posts: 43
Reply with quote #1
Hi guys, Jeff,
Hope everyone is keeping well. To avoid a long read, I will keep my post short and very to the point so apologies if it doesn't read too well! Long story short, since facing down panic I have been struggling with 'GAD' aka anxiety basically in the background all day - for about the past 2 months. I believe about the last month or so I've been practising acceptance (having known about it for probably over a year) and further to Jeff's advice in my last post about stop trying to 'control', my anxiety has reduced probably by about 40-50%. I could talk for a while about that journey (perhaps a post for another time) but ultimately it's really just been about not doing anything about how I felt, not adding any second fear to my anxiety and therefore no 'sustained fear' which means my body has probably had a bit of a break and enabled itself to de-sensitize. That's my opinion, those more knowledgeable than me are free to chime in. Anyhow, I am pleased with this but the only thing that worries me is travel - aka flying and being away from home in another country. I just landed a 100% remote working job which I've always dreamed of getting as it allows me to be location independent - a fantastic opportunity to work anywhere and see the world but being crippled by this fear/anxiety really upsets me as it makes me feel I can't enjoy this incredible thing. Ultimately I guess my questions is: Given the improvements I am experiencing as time passes, should I wait until I am more de-sensitized before attempting getting on the plane and taking a trip somewhere OR should I just take my anxiety with me on the plane? I know a huge part of recovery IS taking your anxiety with you, I get this and believe me I have been - since my last post I've put myself in some super tough spots, far from home (hours away on the train) and felt like running back many a time BUT I feel like with being on a plane it's a bit different and perhaps I should have a more calculated strategy as a result? Wait to de-sensitize some more OR bite off more than what I think I can handle with the view it will be good for growth? I think there needs to be a certain level of consideration here and would be keen to get thoughts. Thank you very much in advance as always. EDIT: In case any of that was poorly explained, basically I don't think I'm really that afraid of my anxiety anymore - I am getting pretty good at allowing and accepting to almost really not caring BUT despite that I still do feel sensitized and wonder if there's just some things that should be left out if difficult until one feels better first (although I do get the 'take the anxiety with you', 'don't avoid' argument - I'm not sure if that's 100% applicable here).
Registered: 1137133749 Posts: 3,313
Reply with quote #2
I wouldn't really define it as purely anxiety and fear. Yes you feel both but really what you are dealing with is apprehension. You are worried about what might happen in the future IF you were to react to a new unfamiliar situation with your old habits. But apprehension would be very common for anyone facing this decision. It's just that your past sensitization exaggerates this apprehension. The key is how you now have been losing your old habits through acceptance. Which has changed the game. You are now armed with a rational method to face your fears.
I would go forward. You have one life. Do you want spend most of it running away or hiding from it?
Registered: 1491830584 Posts: 43
Reply with quote #3
Edited my post a good few times because I've had a chance to think about your advice over the course of the day. I decided to delete what I had written, because I read your last sentence. I believe I've got this. Thank you for your support. I'll keep you posted. Best.
Registered: 1491830584 Posts: 43
Reply with quote #4
Sorry to follow up on this. I've been doing a bit of thinking and watching some Dr Weekes on YouTube and it made me realize the role of sensitization. Understanding it is kept alive by the constantly added second fear could I not just wait for sensitization to die down in environments I am more comfortable with to then make ensuing challenges easier? I have worked up to feeling much more comfortable going out, far from home, dealing with night times (which were always hardest for me lying in bed where I would focus on my anxiety) and as a result I am slowly feeling miles better. But, I just don't think I can face the plane journey yet, and being away from home in another country for a month... I don't want to use sensitization as an excuse, and I feel very upset with myself that this challenge just seems too much right now, is there any shame in that? I am beating myself up every day knowing I don't have the courage. As I said I work remotely now and can go and work from anywhere but I'm not as I just don't feel ready. So yes, my question is, could I not allow myself to desensitize more first before tackling big things like this that I am most fearful of? Or have I got it wrong in thinking I can wait for more densitization - that is to say, wait for the registering of my emotions to be less intense, before attempting the things I am most afraid of. Thank you.
Registered: 1496520040 Posts: 8
Reply with quote #5
You will never get rid of the anxiety you experience when flying/being far away from home until you face these situations. Accepting the anxiety and facing it down in one situation doesn't mean your brain will just wipe all anxiety in all situations you've run from before. It marks these situations as dangerous and only you can prove to your brain they aren't by facing every single one of them and not retreating.
It isn't possible to just wait for the sensitisation to diminish and then all these situations will become easy. You need to be willing to have any level of anxiety in any situation and not be manipulated by it. It is always a good idea to start with the less scary exposure exercises first, practise handling your anxiety effectively and then work your way up to the more challenging exposure exercises. If you're like me - a lifetime sufferer or anxiety, you'll most likely have a tonne of places/situations that give you anxiety that have previously caused you to run from anxiety however you have the choice to face these experiences and not let your brain manipulate your actions. You make the final choice, not your anxiety.
Registered: 1422151196 Posts: 72
Reply with quote #6
I think it's fine for you to wait awhile longer to desensitize more. As long as, when you are ready, you go ahead and take the flights, etc. at some point.
There is some wisdom in knowing your own body and knowing how sensitized you are right now. There is no shame in deciding to wait for a set amount of time and return to it then when you feel less sensitized. In fact, I think there is a lot of wisdom in that. I know some will say that is avoiding, but I think as long as you're making progress, you can temporarily put some things that are a bit more difficult on the back burner for awhile. I think we can get really wrapped up in doing this whole recovery "just right", but that way of looking at it can be stressful in and of itself. __________________ "Acceptance should be written on your heart." ~Dr. Claire Weekes