Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Anxiety Monster

Panic and anxiety are the grown-up versions of the monsters that lived under your bed when you were a little kid. They are menacing and core-shaking just like those craaazy monsters your parents had to kick out of your room each night. And just like the aftermath of surviving a midnight monster attack – you often realize how silly your thought-process actually was during that so-called terrifying event.

Like my fear of monsters – my anxiety is fairly irrational and certainly not based on facts or historical evidence. Often my hysteria is based on spooky stories passed through generations of other people with diabetes, their families, the media and complete strangers who feel it necessary to scare the living bejesus out of me. As I’ve dealt with my anxiety and attempted to wrangle my panic attacks – I realize that this takes a heck of a lot of compromise mentally, physically, emotionally. Living with diabetes means envisioning the worst and always being prepared for what highs and lows are thrown your way. It is difficult to stray from focusing on the negative and to continue learning from the days when anxiety wins and I lose. When I look at the positive, it’s clear that what feels like giant failure is actually a testament to how strong I actually am and how much stronger I’ll become. It’s like waking up and realizing that your army of stuffed animals clearly scared the monsters away for good except in my case, it’s slaying the low-blood sugar dragon and then realizing it wasn’t the catastrophe you were sure would happen in your mental picture.

Focusing on learned lessons has become a coping mechanism for anxiety and panic, by keeping a mental list of times where you’ve survived some serious shiz and didn’t lose your marbles in the process. Even now, I find it difficult to wrap my sometimes silly, sometimes anxious head around how I even got to this point and all the things I’ve accomplished/survived/thrived through since I was diagnosed. The biggest step to regaining control is accepting that just like the monsters – anxiety is a big friggen’ deal but not such that a little perspective, some family, some friends and maybe a few stuffed animals can’t cure.

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