I want to be sick. Right now, I want to throw up and it's all because of anxiety.
I spoke in my last post about what counselling had dug up - a heart, not even of glass, but of nothing. Now the counsellor said that the amount of skill and energy I devote to my anxiety shows that, in fact, I am at least a capable person. Building that core is going take time and I've only just started.
So, at the moment, I am trapped in anxiety hell.
First of all, I should make clear, some of this anxiety is rational, the consequences I create are not. It has a very specific focus at that moment but I've always been anxious around other people and feared them to a degree that is out of all proportion to any real threat.
This fear, of course, is much worse in cities simply because there are more people.
At the moment my focus is entirely on a group of kids who gather and play in our street; I would guess they range in age from six to 11. The rational part of my fear is that they are bad, nasty, naughty kids (or so I have convinced myself, maybe I am wrong and they're just mischievous and noisy). However, I know that they roam the streets till around 10pm or 11pm each night. I know their language is appalling, that they bully each other and fight terribly, that they throw rubbish wherever they feel like throwing it, including our garden and that a couple of them I've seen getting up to other stuff like throwing stones at people's doors. They run in and out of people's gardens, ride their bikes like lunatics up and down the pavements and basically show no consideration for anyone. Their only means of communication is screaming; which like everything else they get from their parents.
You'll see already what anxiety is doing to me. How much time I've wasted on these kids and what they do. And that's what it's doing to me - it's eating my life.
It's the consequences I create that are the reason that I am so upset by this. If they shout at me (as they have not, as they show no signs of doing) I believe I will be destroyed. It's hard to describe what I mean by destroyed beyond what it says on the tin - I will in some important way cease to exist. My mind races on to this conclusion without regard to logic or evidence, something like this: they will shout at me, I will shout back, they will follow me shouting this abuse, they will follow me home, I will be forced to confront them and say 'shut up' they will wait outside the house shouting this abuse and throwing stones at the door and window and what? And, blackness. I can't imagine anything or describe it as anything other than destruction, inside I know I mean running home to my parents, losing my relationship and any good I had done in my life, and a suicide attempt is likely.
I'm paranoid. I won't go in the front room without the blinds down. Whenever I go out - and it takes a while to get up the courage to do this - I scan for them everywhere. This is bringing me to their attention because I'm always looking at them and in my mind I believe they can sense my fear and will therefore see their prey. I go through an elaborate mental dance each time I have to walk past them - should I cross the road early, possibly showing fear, should I carry on and possibly invite words, should I try and say 'all right' to them in the vain hope they will like me (this pathetic craven belief has been with me for a long time; as a child I sought the approval of bullies in a desperate attempt to escape being their victim - the upshot, I made lots of crap friends.)
So, this is killing my life and endangering my recovery. I have no appetite and I often feel sick. I'm putting a lot of things off limits and I'm exhausted all the time for this expending constant nervous energy. It is upsetting Mrs CD and spoiling our relationship. I'm getting headaches. It takes me ages of psyching to get out of the house and when I do I stay out all day stopping me getting on with my volunteering on the computer, I shelter naturally in the pub and that's not a good thing.
But, I am fighting it. First of all, I have started repeating mantra-like to myself that I am strong and using the visualisation techniques I've been taught. I am forcing myself to do what I have to do. I am turning up radios and television in the house so I simply don't have to hear their noise. Today, I've gone cold turkey on caffeine, which is why I currently have a splitting headache.
It's hard and it's dangerous and it will take a long time. This helps. I have historically used alcohol to self-medicate for anxiety, but I've never really had it this badly - when I was drunk and living here I didn't notice them so much. It has got worse lately as two little groups have made friends and they gather round our neighbours' house.
I want a drink so badly and were I not on antabuse I would have had one by now. (I typed one, that's ridiculous, I would have drunk myself insensible).
The struggle continues. I have good times too, but they are getting increasingly fleeting.
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