My relationship with Mr. Lock hits the nine month mark on October 3rd. It's going extremely well, I can't believe how fast time has flown. One of the best things about the relationship has to be the strong friendship base it grew out of. Knowing him for about six years, especially as closely as we knew each other -- having been each others confidants through a bunch of lifes ups and downs -- has definitely made for smooth sailing in this transition to Romantic Relationship.
I've been so very proud of how little my anxiety disorder has been effecting me over the past nine months -- even moving in to my own place, living on my own, I've really been great at either stopping negative thought processes before they send me into a panic attack, along with simply having less general feelings of anxiety lately than I used to have.
However, my anxiety disorder is always there under the surface. Sometimes, when something happens or I watch a news story that just happens to relate to some of my biggest (irrational) fears, the anxiety bubbles right back up and I am once again reminded that it truly is a part of who I am. I am just a fortunate person in that I know how to cope, how to ride the waves of anxiety and come out the other side with a positive outlook knowing it's just an episode.
This week, my anxiety has been bubbling up pretty badly. There's a combination of reasons -- stemming from horomone cycles, having watched a news story that I found upsetting, and my cousin currently being in the hospital after having a grand mal seizure on Sunday following hitting his head on pavement during some sort of "scuffle" Saturday night when out partying. My cousin is doing okay, though he's been in the hospital since Sunday and has to have an MRI. Last week my father was also packaged out from the company he's worked for for thirteen years, so he's 'technically' unemployed. Fortunately, that's actually a blessing (the package is great, and he was so stressed that this is what he's been waiting for -- he's going to take the rest of this year off, and he's in great spirits right now). However, it was still a big change and a bit of a shock to me when I was told last week, so it made me a bit emotional as I deal with the changes facing my family (though, again, it's a good thing, I just take a bit longer to get used to changes than some people might).
So, a combination of factors have left me emotionally dysregulated and in just the right state for a full-blown panic attack. I was hoping the anxiety symptoms I've been feeling, tensing up in my chest and making my arms tingle, wouldn't really become anything else, but last night it all hit me pretty hard.
And Mr. Lock, who was staying at my condo with me, experienced me having a panic attack in person with him for the first time. It was full-blown... began as tingling through my extremeties, and tightness in my chest, and a heavy/cloudy head, and then tears -- tears, and incoherent cries over my biggest of (irrational) fears -- my fear of dying young in a tragic/unexpected way (or, well, any way at all). I just couldn't cope without having an outburst, I suppose, the anxiety reached a boiling point.
Mr. Lock, to his credit, was amazing. He was calm and quiet and told me not to apologize, and he seemed to understand. He's known me, for over six years. He used to read my old blog, he has read about and heard about my anxiety attacks before. I don't typically deal with panic attacks with anyone around, usually they hit me when I'm alone, so I feel fear, have a cry, blog or vent to a friend on MSN, and then my rational side wins out again and I use a coping mechanism to calm back down. It was a different, and slightly more embarrassing thing, to have that happen in front of someone. But, at least it was someone I trust completely and know loves me.
Today I've been dealing with the aftermath of a full-blown panic attack -- every now and then I feel incredibly tense and anxious still -- I'm having quite a bit of chest tightness and tingles through my arms and hands even as I write this, and I'm tired from the crying and from not being able to fall asleep until much too late last night. However, I'm also glad I got out what was bothering me, so that I could begin to help myself through this little set-back and back into the happy, less anxious person I've been over the past nine months.
Thanks, Mr. Lock, for being so supportive all the time. For understanding me, and for accepting me, with all my faults and anxiety issues. I am so lucky to have you.