Why do you always anticipate? What are you worrying about? How do you know how you will feel?
Anxiety doesn’t always make sense. I don’t always know what causes prolonged periods of anxiety, but there are some times where I have “situational” anxiety because I am anticipating too much.
Every time I get an invitation for an event or learn this is an event or party I have to go to I start worrying and anticipating. Who will be there, what will I wear, what if I get a migraine, what if I can’t handle seeing people and of course, what if I’m anxious? What if, what if, what if????
I get anxious about the thought of being anxious. I experience anticipatory anxiety.
I know I can talk myself out of anxiety (though it takes a lot of effort), but I can just as easily talk myself into anxiety if I think about all the items on my never-ending to do list, about going to events and anything that involves change. It doesn’t take much these days.
So of course, being invited to 4 weddings that are taking place in the span of 8 weeks brought on panic attacks.
The first of these weddings was last weekend. My husband and I were part of the wedding party. I was feeling anxious leading up to it, because I had been feeling antisocial most of the summer and was not ready to interact with too many people and of course, the venue was a new environment. During the rehearsal a few days before, I was panicked because I thought the ceremony was going to be really long and I was worried about standing in front of so many people (since I hate when people “watch” me). You would think this would be easy for me, having already gone through my own wedding, but once a shy person, always a shy person. Of course, it was a nice wedding, everything was nice and I enjoyed it and of course so did the bride and groom.
We have other weddings and events to go to, and I know leading up to those events I will have a mini-war with my brain about how I am going to feel and I won’t feel okay until I get to the event, because that’s how it always is when I don’t know what to expect in unfamiliar environments, and that’s what anticipatory anxiety is.
I have to remind myself of how far I have come since my first panic attack over 13 years ago and all that I have been able to do. I have to. Going to an event for a few hours is only a temporary situation. If I try to enjoy myself and make the most of it, it will go by faster. I have to remember that I am stronger than I think I am!
About Melanie Luxenberg
My name is Melanie Luxenberg and I am finally ready to live openly with mental illness. I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2003, which I still experience. At the same time, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety (which I also still experience), and then briefly experienced Agoraphobia. I have had depression on and off since I was 13 years old. In July 2010 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. Shortly after it was realized that I experienced rapid cycling. I can experience multiple cycles in a week. Despite my diagnosis, I completed a university degree and then a college program. I have always held stable employment, regularly taken my medication and regularly attended my doctor’s appointments. There have been times of hopelessness, but I have always found support from my family, husband and 3 dogs. I am a law clerk, social media/content writer and of course, mental health advocate. My Twitter feed is full of mental health advocacy messages. I hope one day to see the end of stigma towards mental illness, because stigma has to stop!