I was originally going to postpone this post due to COVID-19 and the triggers anxiety discussions cause. But we only end the stigma by talking about it. Openly. And we all need support during these twilight zone times
As an autistic ADHD adult-my life is filled with fighting the ever-present feeling of anxiety. Whether it be fear from being left alone (yeah COVID-19 did NOT help) to general fear of my child running towards things or jumping off furniture. I constantly worry about what people think and how to deal with their reactions. It can keep me non-verbal some days. Or other days I struggle through pushing back the anxiety of living life.
The reason I wanted to talk about this is because Society doesn’t want to. We tell people to “get over it” or push it down. To ignore it and it will eventually go away. But true anxiety (versus basic nervousness) can be debilitating, brain blocking and some times what pushes an Autistic or ADHD person into shutdown mode. Its not worth it to push it away. Even more so with a global pandemic, we need to see anxiety, acknowledge it and even learn to use it in a positive way (someone mentioned this ins. Group chat today-i thought it both confusing and significant at the same time—typical of a mused afterthought.)
So here are windows into what goes thru my mind and what having anxiety looks like. The first window is my thought process. When I get to this anxious circle, the first thing I know is that I need help. My negative thoughts (I’ll leave details out for protection) typically give off this feeling of circling and circling and I cannot get out of the spiral it is spinning in my head. Typically I will slightly cry, freeze for a moment. Definitely do not ask me a question or ask me to remember things. The image below is pretty accurate to what it feels
The second window is the actual panic attack. For a while-I thought I had never had panic attacks. (yes-you can have anxiety and not have panic attacks.) But two specific attacks stick in my mind and they are very different. The first: I had an attack when attempting to drive a go-kart. And not just a simple go kart but one of the K1 racing places. I was already nervous doing something I didn’t want to. Add on i was not given proper time to digest how everything works and functions. So my brain went into pure shutdown mode and my nerves went into hyperdrive. Result: true panic attack.
The second event was a dentist appointment. Again, it was something I didn’t want to do and no explanation or time was given for me to digest how everything was going to work. the result was that I had to reschedule the procedure. What made this matter worse is the dentist didn’t do anything to help with my anxiety, just worked thru my procedure and i woke up from the surgery in a panic attack. Again-this is why society needs to talk about it. I refuse to go back to that dentist but it has now put me in a very scared situations even to go to a dentist.
So please feel free to talk about anxiety and how it affects your life. Please be kind in the comments. Also-not a doctor here-if you need help, call someone. I see a therapist-a great tool. I also must self-stimulate or regulate my feelings—another tool. You definitely need tools to help thru something like this.