The troll under the bridge

Anxiety is part of everyone’s daily life. It’s the degree of the anxiety that can change from person to person. Driving to work, feeling as though you are late and the boss might be ready to jump down your throat will cause a feeling of anxiousness. Going out with a new person for the first time can also cause anxiety. It’s the amount of anxiety and the ability to copy with the effects it plays on your mind that make a huge difference.

My therapist has told me that anxiety is fear based … that in order to overcome any type of anxiety, one must face these fears repeatedly. That caused me to feel anxious. The idea of facing the things I am most frightened of is not a pleasurable thought. Sitting here, in my bed, writing, safe & sound – this feels good. It’s calming and safe. Oh, that word … safe. Seems to be the opposite of anxiety. But is it a coping technique?  No. It’s an avoidance technique. But some times denial is not just a river in Egypt.

What I find most disturbing is the anxiety attack which seems to hit for no apparent reason. I have awoke to an anxiety attack … full blown. I was breathing way too fast, sick to my stomach, full shakes everywhere, sweating, knowing this was it – the final curtain. I was having a heart attack & my husband & kids would find me on the floor of my bathroom. Focusing on the the anxiety made it even worse.

My husband woke up and determined because of my shortness of breath, it was my lung inflammation acting up. He decided we were going to the hospital. I have anxiety surrounding hospitals, which is a story for another day. This just increased my laboured breathing.

My daughter, who is finishing her first year in nursing came in to see what with all the commotion was about. Luckily my son sleeps like a rock. My daughter held my hand, put a bucket in front of me and said “throw up if you need to but it’s just your anxiety”. And I did. Throw up a few times, apologized of course,and she just sat there. In her pjs, holding my hand and started telling me a stories about some of the funny things that have been going on at school. I realized that her distraction was causing a chain reaction in my anxiety as I was listening to her instead of the pounding heart in my chest. I slowly came out of it, exhausted but grateful to have people close by who cared enough to help me get through it.

When you are alone & it happens, this can be extremely challenging. My shortness of breath plays tricks on me, believing my lungs are shutting down and I am going to smother . Again, my therapist said with an anxiety attack, you will breath much quicker in short breaths, which in turn actually increases your oxygen supply. Which is a good thing, but doesn’t help when you are certain you are going down for good.

He told me the worst ones last on average for 20 minutes and if I can get my mind to focus on something else it won’t last as long. If not, then an anxiety attack can’t kill you, so just let it do it’s best and know you are going to be alright soon. This isn’t particularily helpful when going through a full on anxiety attack. It’s overwhelming, terrifying and I feel like I am not going to pull through it. But since I always have, I guess he must be right. On days when one hits, it uses up every spoon* I have and then a few from the next day.

So what is the point of yet another article on anxiety ?  I write for therapeutic reasons for one, second is to let those of you who are crippled with some type of anxiety  know you are not alone, third to is to somehow change the stigma someone with anxiety is somehow “crazy| –  which of course if ridiculous, and fourth is to let you know takes a ton of courage to live with anxiety.

Anxiety, to me, is like that little troll under the bridge. You may cross the bridge 50 times and the troll stays where it is, but in the back of your mind it’s always there, waiting to creep up and attack you. Whether you stay in your comfy safe bed or go out into the world to maintain some kind of life. And I know I the troll won’t kill me, but he sure knows how to kick my ass. My goal for myself is to put that little shit under the bridge once and for all.
* THE SPOON THEORY by Christine Miserandino. She is the 1st

5 thoughts on “The troll under the bridge

  1. To whom it concerns!
    This is a beautiful explanation of what a panic attack is! How it’s caused! And how too overcome it! I will definitely remember these wise words of wisdom! Apply them! And overcome anxiety or any other plms in life we may have!
    Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the post. It is incredibly hard to reason with anxiety. Over the years I have tried just about everything, but I have found that mindful meditation works best for me. Helps to slow down the breathing and quiet the chaotic mind. A peaceful image of myself resting in a hammock, and my sweatheart in a canoe on Grand lake helps me. Glad you have a supportive family. You will get through this. If we all work together we can keep that troll under the bridge. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a perfect description of what it’s like to have an anxiety attack. What I hate the most is when I’m having anxiety/anxiety attack and I have absolutely no idea what exactly it is that I’m so anxious about. The heart is pounding, have that nervous feeling, feeling like I might cry, or maybe lash out, I’m shaking with that mild tremor, and I’m trying to understand why I’m feeling this way because I don’t have anything to be anxious about. There is always a reason, it’s just not always crystal clear as to what it is. Other times, I know exactly what the problem is and I feel much more safe when I know what is wrong because I have certain things I do when certain things are bothering me/making me feel anxious. Sometimes I meditate. Sometimes I phone a friend. Sometimes I go for a short walk. Sometimes I just need arms around me, assuring me everything will be alright. The one thing I always tell myself, is that this will pass. This will not kill me. I will be alright in a few minutes, maybe a few hours, maybe even a few days, but I’ve had anxiety pretty much my entire adult life, and I’m still alive to write about it.:)


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