Anticipatory anxiety is when a person experiences anxiety about something that is going or about to happen. It’s about something that we are making up in our heads. This is the definition as per Michelle, not per Webster or Merriam dictionary, it’s based on my understanding. I do it quite often, the whole anticipatory anxiety thing, so I feel I have a really good understanding of it.
I often think about what is going to happen and think about all of the things that could happen and I get myself all worked up. I have all these ideas about monkeys, car crashes and people making fun of me and what not, and well, it’s pretty insane.
In the same light that I future trip (spending time living in the future). But, I don’t discriminate and I also like to live in the past. I romanticize the past and can only think of all the grand things that used to happen before I had my break down in 2016. I gloss right over all the horror, the tears, the sleepless nights.
Today, I am in my own little episode of back to the future. Going between what’s going to happen, while missing and mourning what has happened in the past. The way things had been prior to having the hysterectomy in 2014 that ultimately led to the mental breakdown and the diagnosis of bipolar one and a number of other diagnoses. Before the months on medical leave and the destroyed relationships.
I keep mentally pulling myself back to the present and reminding myself that I AM in a good place. That I AM in a pretty stable place, although stressed and dealing with this crazy new to me kind of OCD ish anxiety. My mood IS stable, and I HAVE been stable for weeks and that is a hell of an accomplishment.
In reality, in the past, I was not stable, and I was bouncing around like a ball in a game of ping pong. I think of the times when I felt like I was the life of the party, but was it that or was I really just drunk and making a fool of myself?
The problem when I romanticize the past is that I gloss over what the truths are, and I beat myself up. And I do that really well, the beating myself up part. And then I stay in that place and I dig a deep hole and I before I know it, I can’t get out and I feel like total crap. Sitting at the bottom of this pit of self pity, sitting all alone, feeling sorry for myself.
To challenge this thinking, I am reminding myself that I have a family that loves me. And I work for a company that totally supports me for who I am, mental illness and all, and is accommodating to my needs. That I am working to care for myself and put my needs first, you know the whole putting on your air mask first in case of an in-air emergency before assisting someone else on an airplane sort of thing. I am listening to my doctors and I am taking all of my prescribed medication. AND I am finally getting an appropriate amount of sleep, the Goldilocks kind, not too much and not too little.
Am I living the life that I lived before? The life of a successful single professional? No, I am not. But, big surprise here, I am not a single professional anymore. I am a spouse, a mom and am a part time executive assistant. My life changed dramatically a few years ago and I am still mourning the changes that took place. I go back to the future at times, spend time dwelling in the past and sometimes, just sometimes, I hang out in the present, and when I do, what a present that is.