My waning anxiety

We all have anxiety. It harks back to caveman days when they needed to react quickly when confronted by danger. The need to decide whether fight or flight is the best option. Anxiety is a problem however, when it affects the quality of your life. When it is so debilitating it impacts what you can do, what it stops you from doing and how it affects your loved ones.

I write this because I suffered extreme anxiety. We had to drive certain routes. We had to be there an hour early because there would be no car parks left. Arriving an hour early no matter where. Needing to be in the lane you need 20km before you need to be and being unable to drive on motorways and highways. To some, this may seem irrational but it was my reality. If the above was not adhered to, I was a complete mess. I’d shout and swear and generally make life miserable for my husband and kids. I remember having a massive panic attack at a Rolling Stones concert and even my Mum was dubious until she grabbed my hand which was sweat drenched.

Happily, almost all this anxiety has disappeared. I know it’s from regular exercise and healthy eating. Just asked my husband and he says I am pretty laid back about most of this stuff. Im very grateful my family have been understanding and patient. I’m so glad I can now repay them with a relaxed happy me who likes to be goofy and if you ask my kids somewhat embarrassing.

There was one last thing to conquer: driving on motorways and highways. Now without intruding on my son’s privacy, he has a massive phobia to overcome. It is utterly debilitating and causes him much trauma and in fact upsets the whole family watching him go through it. I talked with him at the beginning of the school holidays about trying a different but very tough approach. Exposure therapy. He’s been so brave and in his words is nearly ready to level up.

So, my refusal to drive at speed feels somewhat hypocritical if I expect my son to face his fears when I won’t do the same. Well, yesterday I did. With my husband sitting beside me I drove on the motorway with the intention to take the first exit, turn around and come back on the motorway. I felt calm, I was not sweating, I took the second exit. I turned around and drove home on the motorway too. Woohoo. My husband is on holidays in two weeks and I’m going to definitely practice some more.

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