Saturday, December 12, 2015

Flashbacks

With the rise of anxiety you get a commensurate rise in flashbacks—reliving the horrifying moments that caused your anxiety. 

It's a self-feeding system; you're anxious and you start thinking about things that made you anxious and you get more anxious.

You have to actively defeat it by focusing, if you can, on activities that require concentration like reading—and you have to concentrate lest you drift back into the hellish past and just stare at the page. 

It's a challenge. As is coping with sudden noises or the normative part of being a parent—the latter grievously impacted. I don't know how I could cope as a single parent and deal with anxiety and depression. I guess you'd just deal with it, your life more nightmare than dream.

At least, though, I'm getting less of the 15–20 minute space outs. Where I'd be so lost in the past that I'd be sitting still, staring blankly forward, as my mind dwelt in recurring pain and anger. Those space outs not only increase anxiety they steal your life—each one a chunk time without value. And time is a zero-sum game. 

Anti-cig commercials used to use the concept that each cig you smoked was a quantified loss of time on earth—five minutes reduced from your expected lifespan when matched against a non-smoker. 

So anxiety space outs are three to four cigs worth of lifespan reduction.

If only there was a patch for space outs.

But I have help. I have people who love me, medical professionals who care for me, I have support to get well and I have medication to manage my condition. That didn't exist for the men in my family, many riven with depression, right up to my father's generation (1)—men steeped in British stoicism that said you just take it and don't tear up. That mental illness was a failure of will, not brain chemistry afflicted by genetics and circumstance.

Fuck that shit. It's my anxiety and I'll cry if I want to.

Besides, you would cry too if it happened to you.

UPDATE: I played Carcassonne but my anxiety was up and I was seated next to theboy. Asking him not to be excited playing a game is tough because even if he tries his hardest he's excited and then there's a sudden burst of noise. Near the end of the game I was ten seconds from having to pull up stumps and cower in the shed. That's psychological injury for you—it steals precious moments and makes them dark.

(1) He only got proper help after retirement, with his black dog made fiercer with a partner who was mobility impaired and who mentally decayed over a decade until it was time for her to go into care.

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