It is amazing how anxiety can infiltrate your day to day life. I did not used to be aware why I was feeling the way I was feeling. I just felt invaded by everything. I was not aware that certain things were triggering anxiety, OCD and post traumatic stress.
The bunny cage needs to be changed. I feel tremendous anxiety in the house now. All I have to do is change it but I don’t have the bunny litter. I am getting ready to go get that now.
But the feeling of anxiety and the path it follows is horrible. It is just a smell and it id very easily fixed. But that is not where the anxiety is coming from. It is not my sweet, cuddly bunny or the smell at all.
It is what that smell is triggering in my poor brain. Triggering is so severely that I find myself walking back and forth and back and forth. I am straightening things. Putting things from one place to another and then changing my mind and putting them back again. I am looking at the pile of clothes on the floor and wanting to cry rather than put them away.
I feel the house will get dirtier and messier against my will. There will be nothing I can do to stop it. It feels like the house and the mess are enemies and it will grow and get worse even as i am out of the house with no one here
The thoughts are irrational and I know that. I keep trying to figure out what is wrong so I can make it stop.
The problem is that this type of anxiety does not have so much to do with what is right here in front of me. I can straighten the mess and clean the bunny cage. But I will still feel this trauma when I am done.
I will feel that it will just keep being messy, dirty and smelly, no matter how many hours I spend cleaning, which is so hard because I have chronic pain from herniated discs, arthritis and scoliosis.
The process of cleaning is painful because of my spine injuries. I feel like the house knows this and it creating the mess so I will have to bend and reach and hurt. I feel like the house knows that I will give up and just leave it and then the mess will eat me alive or cause social services to put me in a mental ward.
But all of this is irrational and I am aware of the irrational thinking. I am a very educated , professional person. I am perfectly intelligent and I know the house won’t bury me in my sleep.
But the smell and the mess are triggering a severe buried memory of a horrible traumatic situation I lived in long ago. So traumatic that I can’t remember pieces of it. There are blacked out spaces of time in my brain. I do not have any desire to open them up either.
I think if your mind blacks things out, that is its way of protecting you. Your brain knows you would not survive remembering those things, considering how severe the anxiety is with the things that you do remember.
So recognizing the fact that my current anxiety is being caused by past abuse, is helpful. I am not crazy or too picky about how the house smells.
The fact that my tolerance for smells like that is more intolerable to me that to other people is just a symptom of post traumatic stress.
We have to be tolerant of ourselves. We have to be forgiving and kind to ourselves about these attacks. Especially because other people are less than patient with us about it. If we tell someone we have to clean up this thing right now, they don’t understand why it has to be right now.
They may want us to do something else now and clean the mess later. They think we are being uncooperative with them that we have to do things “our way.”
The truth is that we are NOT really demanding to do things our way. We are not trying to be difficult or ruin the other person’s schedule. Sometimes we HAVE to do something right now. If it does not get rectified right now then the anxiety will continue to increase to an unbearable level.
If we go with them to do what they want without taking care of reducing our anxiety first then we will not feel good at all while we are with them. We will get more and more traumatized by the things going though our mind.
Somehow it has to get to a point where people will be understanding of severe anxiety disorders and tolerate letting you perform your rituals that help reduce the levels. They should tolerate and understand if going out to a social activity is simply intolerable to us on a particular day.
We are expected to be tolerant of all kinds of differences in people. We are even ordered by law to not discriminate against people for color, sex, or disabilities. But mental illness like anxiety, depression, and OCD are not tolerated or sympathized with.
We have to make allowances for others that require unique understanding or adaptations. There are handicapped access ramps, translators an interpreters etc.
Where is our handicap ramp that will allow us to be 10 minutes late for work because we were having a severe panic attack? Where is our interpreter to translate what we are going through to someone who does not understand our language? An interpreter for what is going on in our brains and how it affect us in a physical way?
Who will advocate for us with our invisible disability?