Day 321, Overcoming Anxiety

Day 321, Overcoming Anxiety

 
Divine peace and harmony surround me and dwell in me. I feel tolerance, compassion, and love for all people, myself included.
 
~Louise Hay
 

Preparing For My Day

 
5-10 things i am grateful for:
  • Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular on TV
  • my loving husband who prays for me
  • my best girlfriend in Utah
  • the support people at Cronometer
 
morning comments, feelings, ideas, moods, and empowering questions:
I am happy with the way that I am!
 
mood and energy:
 
0-100
comments
mood:
80
dealing with the stresses of life due to cognitive behavioral therapy.
energy:
80
my husband says I have lots of energy.
 
accomplishments:
 
accomplishment
reason it is important
next action(s)
1
lined up a mover to move my things from Utah to Colorado.
Organization
Finish the move.
2
enlisted my mother and niece’s help to move my stuff.
Organization
 
3
finished studying Feeling Good by David D. Burns, M.D.
Feeling Good
Keep applying the principles.
4
had a wonderful 4th of July with my husband.
Relationships
Also visit with my step-son and family.
5
feeling good – have been rooting out cognitive distortions that contribute to depression and anxiety, especially the tyranny of should statements.
Feeling Good
 
 

Friday Morning

 
After rain, thunder, lightning, and hail on the Fourth of July, today is warmer and just a bit cloudy.  We may get some thunderstorms again later on.
 
I have still been reading Feeling Good by David D. Burns, M.D.  Right now I am near the beginning where he talks about self-worth.  I have based my self-worth on achievement, approval, good grades, and temple worthiness.  Now I may be basing my self-worth on my husband’s love.  He says I am “a dream.”  However, he could have a bad day and not think I am so great, so I cannot safely pin my self-worth on his good graces.
 
I have also pinned my self-worth on my relationship with God.  That may seem harmless.  However, it may not be.  I determined that the Voice within that I thought was God is not.  A safe sense of self-worth would not depend on any of these things.  I cannot even safely pin it on my abilities or good looks.
 
Compounding the problem of determining worth is that we as humans have so many needs that often our needs are greater in terms of monetary value than the monetary value of what we produce.  That seems to put our net worth in the negative range.  If we use monetary measures to gauge our self-worth, we may find ourselves in the hole.
 
My grandmother near the end of her life wanted to die.  The reason?  She could no longer do hardly any of the things she had always done in life.  She felt like she was a burden to her family and herself.   In a few years, she did pass away.  How could her end of life been happier?  Could she have retained her sense of self-worth and desire to live until the end?  How can I do that myself if I find myself in the same situation or worse?
 

Sunday Morning

 
How do we find our self-worth and desire to live at all times of our lives, not just when things are going well?
 
I have a very good reason to live and that is for my husband.  I want to continue my blog as well.
 
Last night, I called a friend whose son is recently out of prison.  In the recent past, I visited the son a number of times in prison.  He was always taking a computer class he was excited about or working a job, even one that paid less than two dollars an hour in prison.  Now his son is working a job and helping my friend get his house in order.  He sounded very up beat about life, motivated, and excited.  Even though this son is much younger than I, I can infuse myself with his enthusiasm for life and decide that I am ready to keep fighting my own battles.
 
Where can I start?  I have had some symptoms of mania, depression, and anxiety mixed together lately.  I understand this is one of the most deadly combinations.  However, rather than get alarmed, I can keep going.
 

Monday Morning

 
The stresses in my life are mounting.  With my visual difficulties and balance problems, not to mention my bipolar symptoms, I may have trouble convincing my psychiatrist to sign a form for my Utah drivers license.  I applied for a birth certificate, but now I have to get documents together for my birth certificate application.  The movers will pick up my things in Utah this week, and my husband is in the hospital.
 
However, I am remembering the lessons from Dr. Podvoll.  He taught me to not allow my Voices to take control of my actions.  If I had not read his book, Recovering Sanity, I would most likely have already succumbed to a psychotic episode this time.
 
Also, reviewing the cognitive distortions described by Dr. David D. Burns in his 1980 book, Feeling Good, is helping me cast doubt on questionable thoughts and thought processes.
 
My most serious physical problem right now is a sense of dizziness.  I have not been able to determine its cause.  I thought it was a hyperthyroid symptom, but I have gone back to my lower dose of thyroid hormones for over a week now, and the problem seems to be getting worse.  It could be that I just need more time.
 

Tuesday Morning

 
I have managed to keep going with my usual tasks and the extra things I have going on this week.  I got the application for my birth certificate completed and mailed last night.
 
It was tempting to go in for a medical evaluation, and ask for help, as I was advised.  However, I may have ended up in the hospital.  That would have prevented me from accomplishing the things I need to do this week.  My bipolar symptoms seem to be abating this morning, even though they are not completely gone.
 
I still have dizziness.  A few more possible reasons for the dizziness besides hyperthyroid are:
  1. hypothyroid
  2. vitamin B12 deficiency
  3. dehydration
  4. anxiety
  5. chiropractic treatment
  6. inner ear infection
  7. Risperdal
 
Any combination of these is possible.  I drink a lot of water.  I have a 1.5 gallon tank on my Berkey filter, and I fill it about twice a day.  My husband uses little or none of the water.  It is possible with the diabetes insipidus I have from taking lithium and Colorado’s high altitude and dry air that I am still not getting enough water.  However, how can I drink more when it already seems I am drinking constantly?  I have not figured that out, and dehydration may not be the problem.
 

Tuesday Afternoon

 
This afternoon I am seeing my psychiatrist.  My plan is to get him to sign for my drivers license.  I may discuss the dizziness problem with him as well.  Risperdal is a known cause of dizziness, but I have been taking it since 1999, and the dizziness has not always been this bad.  I suspect there is at least one other factor as well.  The hyperthyroid is probably the most likely because I only recently started taking too much thyroid hormone–not long before this crazy dizziness started.  The chiropractic treatment started soon after that.  My chiropractor admitted that my treatment could be a factor.  Anxiety cannot be ruled out because moving my things from Utah to Colorado recently triggered anxiety when I read the negative reviews for the mover–after already committing myself.  I still have not gotten through the move, so anxiety about that could be getting to me.
 

Wednesday Morning

 
My psychiatrist did not sign my drivers license form, so now I am in a rush to get my Colorado license before my Utah driving privilege is denied.  My psychiatrist suggested that I get my doctor from last year to sign it.
 

Moving

 
Today is move day.  The movers did not let me know what time they will be coming today.  I suppose it is possible they will even come tomorrow.
 
I am having some high anxiety this morning, so I need to calm down.
 
My mother and niece are getting things ready for the movers.  My niece called the movers to find out what time they are coming.  They were not very definite.   It will probably be the end of the day before things are out of my Utah apartment.
 
I am not mentioning the name of the movers because I do not think I will recommend them.
 

Documentation

 
This morning, I also resolved an error where I sent my documentation for my birth certificate.  All I had to do was photograph the documents with my cell phone and email them.  That is now done.
 

Mental Health

 
I am struggling again with my mental health, especially anxiety.  This morning, I reviewed the list of cognitive distortions and recorded where in my thinking I had each distortion.  Doing that seemed to help me.  
 

Deadlines

 
I am calculating exactly how many days I can squeeze out of my Utah license.  It looks like I have until September 15, 2019, before my driving privilege will be denied, if I use all my extensions.  If I can get a professional to sign for me, I can extend my driving privilege for another year, but the doctors so far in Colorado are unwilling to sign a Utah form.  I guess that makes sense.  A Utah doctor would want to see me.  I suppose it is not impossible to go to Utah for a doctors visit.  That would be a last resort.
 

Another Possibility

 
Another possibility is getting my chiropractor to sign for me.  My husband suggested that, and I shot down the idea.  However, it may not be such a bad idea.  My chiropractor may be willing.  He knows I have some dizziness, but he also knows I am working on it.  Most of the time, I get to his office by driving.  He may want me able to continue with that.  I am getting a package ready for him.  If I have anxiety about him knowing about my psychiatric history.  It is too late.  He already knows.
 

Cronometer

 
My intention to keep a complete Cronometer record every day are going well.  Since June 22, 2019 when I started tracking completed days with a fluoride trace, I have completed 88.9% of all days.  I plan to keep up this tracking for a year and beyond.  Even if I eat a lot more than planned, things still work out better when I track.
 

Meditation

 
I am still working at building consistency with my meditation.  I have done it four of the last seven days.  Meditation seems to cool my anxiety.  
 

Chiropractic Exercises

 
My chiropractor assigned me a list of exercises, which I plan to incorporate into my schedule.  So far, with the chaos of having my husband in the hospital, I have not yet done the complete list of exercises, even the first time.  However, this is no time to tell myself I should have done them already or build anxiety over not getting them done.  That would make me feel guilty.  Guilt will not likely motivate me to get going on them.
 

Cognitive Distortions

 
Dr. Burns says that if you feel bad, you must believe some distorted thought.  He believes that even grief does not feel bad if your thinking is not distorted.  Since I am feeling kind of bad at the present moment, what in my thinking could be distorted?
 
I could be fortune telling that I am going to lose my drivers license.  That has not happened yet, and I still have some time.  I could be predicting that my move is not going to work out well.  However, that is fortune telling too.  I could be predicting that my mother is going to be so put out from all the hard work that she is going to be resentful.  I plan to pay her some money, which may help that.  Besides she does not have to be resentful unless she chooses it.  She could be overly concerned about how much money I am spending on my move.  Then again, she knows I have some resources, so perhaps that worry is unwarranted too.  I could be thinking that perhaps I should have chosen a different mover–a should statement.  I chose this mover in a rush because my local mover was not working out.  Who is to say what I should have done?  If things do not work out the best, I can at least get some experience.
 
I could be telling myself I should not have stayed up so late talking to my mother last night.  My mother has been concerned about my mental health, so she talked with me late to be sure my mental health was okay, which ironically is bad for my mental health.  However, once my husband comes home, there will not be as much opportunity to talk to my mother, so perhaps taking advantage of my opportunity now is warranted.  I am rather tired though.  I would get some rest, but I want to be awake when the movers come.   They might be there about now.
 

Anxiety

 
I scored my T2 Mood Tracker today.  My anxiety score was the highest since I have been tracking it (with higher being more anxious,) far more than the second highest point.  Hopefully, that will remain my highest score.  What can I do to deal with this unprecedented anxiety?  For one thing, I am writing in my blog, even though the quality of writing may not be up to my usual standard.
 
I do not normally suffer as much anxiety as I do depression.  However, the two are essentially the same thing.  Depression is distorted thought about the past.  Anxiety is distorted thought about the future.  Dr. Burns’ cognitive distortion analysis can help squash both of them.
 
To have vibrant joy, address both depression and anxiety.
 

Found!

 
I searched again and found the birth certificate I was missing!  It is state issued, so it will work for my Colorado drivers license.  Wow!  Why did I not find it before?  I had looked there.
 
Now I can get that done before the deadline.   I will not have to implore my chiropractor for his help.
 
Let me take a moment and experience the joy of this find.  First, I have to overcome my anger at myself for not finding it before.  However, now that I have felt the agony of my anxiety over whether I would miss the deadline, I can feel awesome relief at being able to meet it.
 
 

Thursday Evening

 

Dispute

 
We had a dispute with the mover about the contract.  Mom re-negotiated the contract for me.  I went ahead with the move, somewhat reluctantly.  There may be more surprises.
 
In the meantime, I decided to stay home tonight rather than visit my husband.  I was dysfunctional most of the day today, mostly due to anxiety.
 

Minimalism

 
I am not sure I can get my mind off my worries, but let me try.  I watched part of a video on FMTV called Microtopia, which is about living in small spaces.  Moving so many things around can be a burden, and it is very expensive.  The movie said that we try to preserve memories with our stuff.  Now that we can do a lot of that digitally, we do not really need as much space.  After my stuff arrives in Colorado, I want to do some work at reducing it.  I worked at downsizing a few years ago and one year got rid of over 500 items.  However, stuff builds up.  My former mentor practices minimalism.  He moved to Hawaii with his car and six suitcases.  He encouraged me to practice the principles of minimalism myself.
 
Whittling down what you have to what is necessary is key.  I remember carefully thinking of what to bring to Colorado with me when I came to get married.  I did not bring my keepsakes.  However, in a year’s time the only thing I have really needed from Utah is my birth certificate, and since I had a hard time finding it, I ordered a new one.
 

Future

 
So what is the best way to step into the future?  My manic-depressive symptoms really nipped at me the past two days.  I have been working so hard to overcome them.  It almost seems they get worse the harder I try.  I called the crisis line again.  They tried to help me with some phone numbers.  I followed up but have not found any services so far.  [Later my counselor called me and offered an appointment to counsel me over the phone, which calmed my driving anxiety.]
 

Accessibility

 
I have just learned that Lyft has wheelchair options, but are there any cars so equipped?  I guess the only way to know is make a request and see if any one answers the call.  Uber drivers are supposed to handle fold-up wheelchairs.  Our wheelchair folds, so maybe that will work.  I have yet to request Uber, but if no Lyft driver shows up, I can try Uber.
 

Sunday Morning

 
My anxiety symptoms have gone down even though I still have a great deal to be anxious about.  The movers will come, but I do not know what day.  My husband is coming home from the hospital and will be doing an outpatient program.
 

Tuesday Evening

 

Movers

 
The movers came today on time.  Since I was unsure if they would arrive on time and did not know how long it would take them to unload everything at the storage unit, I arranged with neighbors to help my husband into our building when he arrived home.  However, the movers were finished by 2:00 PM, so I was able to help my husband myself.
 
Things are a little out-of-place from the move, but my husband is home safe.
 

Accomplishments

 
I also got my drivers license, so that is a relief!  I learned that there are wheelchair accessible Lyft cars in this area, so that worry is gone as well.  My mother gave me an office chair and sent it along with my stuff, so now I have a swivel chair rather than the antique wooden chair I was using before.  
 
Now I can relax and catch up with my blog.
 
Today I let go of my Cronometer log.  I will get back to it tomorrow.  My completion percentage is down to 80%.  That is still within my target of at least 50%.
 
I got so anxious about the move and drivers license that I kind of lost myself.  I practiced cognitive behavioral techniques and managed to stay functional.  Best of all I did not have a manic episode.
 

Wednesday Afternoon

 
I am doing some unpacking, finding some unwelcome surprises.  My husband went to therapy this morning via Lyft.  I am writing out sympathy cards for my family regarding my father and sister’s passing.  My weight is 54.4 kg, which is up a bit.  It is time to get that back under control.
 
My anxiety level is down.  However, there are still challenges regarding the move.  Let me think of empowering questions to start me out from this point.
 
 
Questions
1.
I have my Big Four:  meditation, Cronometer, JV Life Tracker, and blog.   Are these four activities necessary and sufficient to get me where I want to go?
2.
I am using a Mead Cambridge Limited physical notebook to keep my to do’s.  It appears to be working for me because I am getting many miscellaneous items done.  What can I do to make it even more effective?
3.
I have an hourly planning chart in The Journal, which I have used sporadically.  Will it give me advantages beyond what I am doing with my to-do notebook?
4.
What can I do with my morning routine, which is now in The Journal, to make it more effective?  It seems to be a bit bloated at present.  What activities would set me up most effectively each morning?
5.
I used a gratitude and accomplishments list template that also has a rating for my mood and energy?  Is this useful to include in my blog?
6.
I sometimes keep a mood and energy rating in T2 Mood Tracker with my Android.  Would it be advantageous to keep this more often or less often than I do now?  It alerted me to increased manic symptoms after being diagnosed hyperthyroid.  I found this article correlating a hyperthyroid diagnosis with a later bipolar diagnosis.
7.
I used to track of every minute of my time.  That had its advantages but appears to be too granular and therefore too time consuming to be practical.  It was also hard on my eyes and seemed to increase stress.   Would it be advantageous to forget about doing it?
8.
What book is next for me?  If it is one of my books in storage, how can I retrieve it?
9.
How much time each week would be advantageous to schedule for watching FMTV?
10.
What is the best strategy for my stuff in storage?  Catalog it?  Reduce it and put it in the smaller unit?  Sell some of it?  Ignore it and keep paying for it?  Cherry pick it and get out the stuff I really want?  Ask the storage manager to auction it off?  Any combination of the above?  It is time to balance my resources of time, money, and space.
11.
I am doing my best to log Cronometer completely every day.  Since June 22, 2019, I have completed my log 80% of the time.  Am I just being obsessive compulsive or will this pay the dividends I hope for?
12.
Tracking cognitive distortions seems to be working.  I have written analyses for 19 days since June 11, 2019.  I have also done analyses in my head as well.
 

Monday Morning

 
Over the weekend I went ahead and read another book, this time from the library: The Time Paradox by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd, two Ph.D.’s in psychology from Stanford.  They prescribed a way of looking at time that could be helpful to me.  Focusing on the negative past they said increases anxiety and depression and reduces self-confidence.  Focusing on the positive past can do the opposite.  Focusing on the future can make you successful, especially financially, but it can also make you anxious if you do not have a healthy present orientation.  A hedonistic present orientation can set you up for addictions.  However, being considerate of future consequences can be protective.  A moderate amount of hedonism can help you enjoy life, as long as the future consequences are considered.  Focusing on the transcendental future, which is about life after death, can have either positive or negative consequences.  The authors believe suicide bombers tend to be high in this area.  Fatalistic present thinking appears to be the most damaging.  That is when you do not believe anything you do will matter:  whatever will be will be.
 
The authors considered the holistic present orientation, which can be enhanced by meditation.  However, they had not integrated it into their surveys and statistics.  Perhaps they could do some more work on that.  They thought a holistic present orientation was healthy however.
 
My thinking is often past negative.  Could that be contributing to my depression and anxiety?  Very likely.  What can I do about that?  There are ways to transform negative situations into positive ones.  Also choosing to focus on the positive parts of one’s past rather than the negative can be very beneficial.  Living in a way that builds positive memories, especially with relationships and families, including extended families, enhances the positive past and can have many benefits.
 
Maybe all of my anxious thoughts about the movers and getting my drivers license can be transformed into a positive by the joy I felt in getting those things accomplished.
 
I will say more later about the time paradox as this paradigm begins to affect my thinking and life.
 

Prayer

 
 
 
Morning Prayer
 
Dear Lord,
 
This month so far has been challenging.  However, I now have a Colorado drivers license and virtually all of my things from Utah.  My niece offered to bring the few things the movers missed when she comes to Colorado to visit her sister.
 
Not only that, Lord, my husband is home again and sober.
 
In addition, in four days I have read another important book: The Time Paradox.  What steps can I take to apply what I have learned?  According to my scores on the authors’ survey, I am already more future-oriented than the ideal.  My excessive future orientation could be contributing to my anxiety.
 
I could be a bit more positive past, which may reduce depression and anxiety, and I could be a lot less negative past.  Reducing that can be a main focus.
 
Fortunately, I scored low on present fatalistic.  The authors recommend a low score on that.  Even though I scored low, I may have more fatalistic thinking than I admitted on the survey.  Fortunately though, when it occurs, it is temporary.
 
I could be somewhat more present hedonistic to enjoy life more.  That is ironic because I am keeping a blog called Joyful Vibrance.  For instance, the authors say energy is generated from a present orientation.
 
I need to think of more ways to enjoy life.  I can use my future orientation to arrange for pleasure.  Then I need to dwell on positive memories and wipe out my focus on the negative past.  Possibly I can transform some of my negative past into a positive past.  The authors say memory is faulty anyway and rarely conforms to what actually happened.
 
I believe my focus on the transcendental future is probably about ideal currently.  However, it has been overworked in the past, to the point of threatening my future.  I wanted to be with You so badly, I was ready to throw away my future to do it.  Now I have a healthy desire to live.  I am more future-oriented.
 
Lord, help me to have a balanced time perspective, which will promote my mental health and that of my readers.
 
Amen.
 
If you would like to join me in this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.
 
KaeLyn Morrill
 
 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.