Today’s therapy appointment provided relief.
First, with a space where I could safely vent, express my fears, and let myself cry without worry.
Secondly, in the fact that my therapist does not think I need hospitalization. She’s worked in the programs that handle in hospital mental health stays, and did not believe one would be of benefit to me right now.
She said I’d done what I should do, that I was engaged in self-advocacy and self-care and that both of those were good signs. She told me she wants me to contact her if I have more episodes like Saturday’s, and while I know it’s part of her job, it did help tremendously to hear her say it. It’s hard for me to reach out, even to a professional, without permission to intrude that way.
She said the first thing to do when my anxiety spikes in the future is to focus on deep breathing. Breathe in and breathe out as slowly as I can manage for 3-4 minutes. It should slow my heart rate and begin reducing the presence of cortisol, which will improve the effectiveness of anything else I do to bring myself back.
She’s also going to write a letter for my PCP, recommending that I be given access to anxiety medication for temporary relief, just in case.
She was otherwise very affirming, that even if things were hard they weren’t hopeless, and wouldn’t be even if everything went south and I found myself unable to make it to Indiana or unable to make it through the promised year.
That she thought I had what it took to build a social life and make friends, that I wouldn’t be too much for people. She also advised that I change how I approach conversations via messenger – since contact is what’s important, ask people how they’re doing instead of dumping my frustrations with life. They’ll be more likely to remain in contact instead of pulling away, and I’ll still have the emotional benefits of conversation with people I care about.
I walked out feeling calm and hopeful again.
I then went to the dentist’s to get a couple of fillings. It’s funny what causes anxiety or scares people. Having my mouth forced open for an afternoon while people put a variety of tools inside didn’t phase me in the least, though it was a little boring.
It does feel pretty fucking weird to have half my mouth numb, though.