Exposure #6

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I didn’t leave the house at all yesterday. Tonight I went to the pharmacy, a 5 minute car ride away. I took a pic of the outside but since that’s not too interesting to look at, I’ll share this little Care Bear I got as a silly treat. I picked up my prescription and browsed for a bit, anxiety hovered around a 3 or 4. Rose a bit towards the end but I took some deep breaths and tried to pay attention to my surroundings. I’ve picked up two anti-anxiety prescriptions before at this pharmacy that I never got the courage to take. I’m constantly grappling with the idea of medications and how they could help me.
Sometimes it feels so nice to get out, even when it’s just to a pharmacy. I miss the world very much, and being more of an active participant in it.

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Thumb Panic

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Here’s part of my thumb and some sidewalk outside of the bookstore; where I paced around in the cold to try to escape a panic attack. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, like I was about to suffocate. Felt so dizzy and nauseated. I can’t tolerate being around many people when I feel this way, so I always have to hide. The cold kind of helps ease things, but it didn’t vanish completely. I went home shortly after pacing around.

Exposure #5

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I decided to push myself today to go a bit farther away from home than I normally do. We went to a used bookstore that’s 12 mins away (yes, I checked). I don’t do well with car rides because I have a history of panicking while in the car. I have an issue with stoplights, I can feel my anxiety rise whenever we have to stop for a moment. The roads we took were bumpier than normal, so I started feeling a little car sick. Once inside of the bookstore, we looked around for like a minute. The anxiety kept rising, and I went to find the restroom so I could hide inside of a stall for a moment. I couldn’t get myself to calm down, so I asked to go back home. It’s hard to stick it out once I get to the point of nausea. :/ I feel a bit defeated afterwards.

Exposure #4

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The library is one of my safe places, but lately I’ve been backsliding to the point where I hardly go. I went today to drop off some books and pick up stuff I had on the hold shelf. They are closed for renovations (for a year) and set up a small space here in a shopping center for people to pick up requests. I feel a bit bummed to lose one of the few regular places I go to (for now). There is another library 15 minutes away but for now that feels so far. I struggled walking in there today, but was able to complete the task.

I miss having fun!

 

Exposure #3

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Rode in the car to the nearby pharmacy tonight, as a passenger of course. I have a lot of fear when it comes to car rides, I think because of the trapped feeling. My panic rises the most when I’m in the car and I feel some relief once I step outside. I think I fear the car because my first huge panic attacks happened while in heavier traffic. I panicked so much that I felt close to passing out and got hit with a vertigo attack. I thought I was dying. Even going 5 minutes down the road makes me feel anxious.

I can’t stay inside stores very long lately; I usually end up leaving as soon as I feel like I’m not breathing normally. Since I don’t get out much, everything is always super exciting to me! Like seeing Valentine’s Day stuff out. Christmas stuff was on clearance so I grabbed a couple things. I have to say, I really miss being able to just leisurely browse shops without fear.

Exposure #2

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Despite my best efforts to bundle up and dress warm, winter has been making exposure a bit more difficult these days. Perhaps I’m using it as an excuse to slip into avoidance patterns.

11F here today; I went for a little walk down the sidewalk near where I live, after I took the trash out. I used to walk around the block when it was warmer. Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m making excuses or if it actually feels too cold to stay outside for very long.

I haven’t been anywhere else this week, which is worrying me. Constantly obsessing over my progress. I’m very scared of the physical sensations that come along with panic.

Exposure #1

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My first outing after being home for a week straight; went to a shopping center about 5 minutes away from home.

I’ve been experiencing some set backs lately after a public panicky moment; I think it was because of the stress that comes along with holidays. It seems to bring mental illness more to the forefront; lots of feelings of guilt and comparison. Wishing I felt good enough to enjoy the holidays, without anxiety overwhelming everything. I felt sad that I didn’t feel capable of traveling home to see my family for the holidays.

Before I took this pic, I walked around a department store for 15 mins before it was about to close. I made it through the whole store but felt quite uncomfortable the whole time. I felt a little light headed and had labored breathing. I was tempted to leave before we made it through the whole store, but I stayed! I didn’t buy anything because I wanted to avoid the dreaded check out line.

My boyfriend wanted to go to the car wash afterwards but I had him drop me off at home first before he went. Any situation that makes me feel “stuck” really triggers me. Even if for a moment. Check out lines. Waiting rooms. Even if I pause too long while walking. I feel like I have to always be in motion to feel calm. Stillness makes the panic feelings rise.