When anxiety breaks

by Joanna on March 23, 2012

Before I went on vacation, I wrote about the separation anxiety I experience before leaving Mike. My anxiety “broke” the night before I left for St. Lucia: I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and spent so much energy doing so that I went to bed at 9:30. I spent the morning after reflecting on and journaling about my experience. I want to share a little bit about my anxiety with the hope that someone else experiencing what I do may feel that they’re not alone or so that someone that hasn’t ever experienced anxiety can understand a little better what it feels like.  The following is an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote before I left.

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I’ve exhausted myself. My anxiety over leaving Mike came to a head on our date last night. I made it through the meal OK but any time Mike brought up the trip, I tensed up and would give one word answers. I didn’t want to talk about it. Because it reminds me of the anxiety. Everything came to a head in the car. And once the anxiety broke and the waves of tears came crashing through, I felt worlds better.  The tension that had been in my chest for at least 48 hours was released. Physically and mentally I felt completely different. But so did Mike.

In releasing my stress, I snapped at Mike a bit, saying things that got him angry and caused him to be defensive. As the tension in me subsided, the tension in him started to build. And he got frustrated and quiet. But when he took my hand walking up the driveway, I felt relieved, comforted. How I’d wanted to feel all night. 

I hate that I do this, that I have such severe anxiety that causes me to act this way.  I wish I could articulate to Mike how severe, how strong, and how deep the anxiety is. While I’m conscious of the anxiety, the feelings, the fear, the pain, the tension is completely subconscious.  No matter how much rational self-talk I give to myself, it doesn’t help. Because this isn’t something that I can choose.  These feelings run deep and they are strong and choosing to try and ignore them, to push them down doesn’t help. In fact, it only makes the outburst that much worse.

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As Mike gets excited for his trip to Disney this weekend and my anxiety starts to settle in this morning, I hope that we don’t have a repeat of last week.  To prevent that, I’m being honest with myself about my feelings and communicating them to Mike.  I’m also trying to focus on how great it will be when he gets home. How excited we’ll be to see each other.

Oh, and we’re not going to spend $100 on a dinner date this time.

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