And I was.
What I realized later was that I was having a panic attack. Now, you're probably thinking this is the part where I wake up Mom and Dad and tell them there's something wrong. But I was only half awake and so groggy I had no idea what was going on. Eventually, I fell back to sleep (though to tell you the truth, I really don't remember much of that night).
The next morning I mentioned to my mom that I felt really weird the night before, and as I was relaying what I remembered, she told me that sounded exactly like a panic attack. And as we were trying to determine the cause of it, I conveniently remembered that I was having a dream/nightmare that my youngest sister was being kidnapped. Not fun.
So from then on, I began to realize how much anxiety I still have. You might recall that I had severe anxiety from riding in a car after the crash, which gradually reduced as the months passed, and I eventually forgot what it's like to feel that way.
However, there's good news. Because I'm now aware of this fact about myself, I can start to work on it--one little way at a time. I mentioned a while ago that I'm taking parts of my life that need improving and spending forty days focused on one at at time. Right now, I'm still working on my habit of picking at myself, which is an unhealthy way I calm down when I'm anxious. I'm not always successful (you'd know if I were in a stressful situation if I went in with long nails and come out with none), but I'm working on it.
|My traveling buddy|
I also realized I still feel a leftover anxiety in the car, though it's not nearly as bad as it was. So what do I do? I bring nail clippers every where I go. So when I feel the urge to pick at my nails, I clip and file them instead of damaging my fingers. It's surprisingly calming.
And speaking of fingers. When I don't have some quiet alone time during the day, my anxiety goes through the roof. A great way I found to help me is to play my piano--definitely my favorite way of coping ;)--and I also use pure lavender oil, which is supposed to help me relax.
It's not all easy, though. My mom realized a few weeks ago I was having trouble falling asleep and having nightmares. And unfortunately, we're pretty sure that it's from my beloved sci-fi/fantasy books I spend quality time with at night. So no reading stressful books at bedtime for me. That's hard. And I mean difficult. But it's actually helping me get restful sleep.
The reason I'm sharing this with you is that no matter what challenges we face, there are ways to overcome them. Sometimes those ways are intensely difficult, or seem to take forever to be effective, but there's always a solution--even if it takes lots of tries to find the right one.
I'm on that journey right now.
Let's support each other.