Sometimes It's Hard For Me To Leave The House
Actually, it's hard for me to even write that because it sounds like something I'd say if I were depressed, which I'm not. I'm recently becoming aware of something that is frustrating and something that I'm not 100% sure how to fix. I'll explain.
I used to think that I wasn't "a morning person", until I realized that rushing to get out of the house every morning was actually the reason that the AM and I didn’t get along. Even when I was awake with enough time to do all the things that needed doing, I would feel rushed as soon as we started getting ready to head out and I’d get anxious, upset, and completely frustrated with myself and everyone around me.
I finally clued in to the fact that it’s NOT that I’m not a morning person.
It wasn't about the morning (or afternoon, or evening, or day of the week), it was about getting out of the house and the anxiety that came along with that process.
Little things feel completely insurmountable and I finally noticed that rushing + leaving the house = a big anxiety trigger for me.
Even when I'm not actually in a hurry, I feel immediately "rushed" to finish the transaction of getting ready and getting out the door. Which when I type it out, or when I explained it to Rich, sounds batshit cray cray.
But, it's something I’m grappling with a lot these days.
I'm starting to notice more and more when I'm feeling this way and the times when it feels debilitating. I’ve had full on panic attacks over leaving the house and it’s never about the place we’re going or the people, but there’s something in the midst of getting things ready, getting dressed, packing, and negotiating timing that starts to feel overwhelming.
Recently I’ve been working to pay attention to the little signs that come up and when the anxiety starts to hit me. Frustratingly, I often find myself in the middle of a panic, knowing in my mind that absolutely nothing is wrong and that I have no reason to be upset.
It’s annoying, to be honest.
On days when I’ve been feeling great, it’ll sneak up on me when we suddenly decide to head out to get groceries and the steps to get there seem way harder than they should be.
I’ve started a few little self care rituals to help me through these moments, but sometimes I neglect them, because I try to tell myself that I shouldn’t be frustrated or that I have nothing to be freaking out about, but I know that’s not good for me either.
Denying the truth is not going to help me conquer it in the future. It’s not going to make it any easier.
Here are a few of the things that help distract me or help me cope during those shitty, shitty moments:
- Sitting down and taking deep breaths (you know, those nice comforting breaths where you hold it on the inhale and slowly blow it out)
- Drinking something cold (usually some ice water, and again, just taking a moment to sit and focus)
- Sniffing an essential oil like eucalyptus or lemon (something refreshing and mind-clearing)
- Being alone (which often looks like asking Gretchen or Rich to leave the space I'm in so I can continue without feeling added -- yet artificial -- pressure)
I might actually jot these down on a post-it and stick them beside my bathroom mirror, since that tends to be my safe haven during these anxious moments. It’s where I go so that no one has to see me looking like a total mess. Gretchen is so patient when I’m feeling anxious and she tells me she hopes my day gets better, but I don’t want her to worry if I’m suddenly crying.
The more I think about it, it’s such a bizarre thing, because despite the fact that I know I’m an introvert and would usually rather be home, the anxiety over leaving my house is never about being gone -- it’s about the process of leaving. Which strikes me as even more strange, but surely I’m not the only one feeling like a total weirdo about this?
My goal for the next little while is to pay close attention to when and how and where these feelings come up, and to see if I can preempt it with self care measures. I have considered the idea of talking to a doc about it, but that opens a whole other bucket of anxiety in itself.
I'm hopeful that just by putting this into the world and by fully admitting it to myself, I might find what I'm looking for.
This has been something that’s been on my mind for a while and it honestly wasn’t what I meant to write about today, but it just came out. So I let it. If you happen to be someone who is experiencing something simliar, or has pushed through it in the past, I’d love to hear your advice.
Thanks so much for reading.
(Disclaimer: I've used the term "anxiety" throughout this post because it's the language that I have to describe what I'm feeling. I have never been diagnosed with anxiety. I realize this is a touchy point for some and I want to be clear about my use of the word.)