Anxiety and Stress

There are changes happening for me, right now.

I started IOP on Friday. The regular therapist was out, and there was a substitute that day. So come Tuesday, I’m going to have to deal with “first-day jitters” again since I haven’t met the actual therapist of the group yet. Also, the sub therapist was concerned about my sleep issues and mentioned that I may need to step up to PHP for a bit. She said that they would see how the weekend went. Well, last night (Saturday night), I didn’t sleep at all. I had a four-hour nap this afternoon, and it’s now a little after 1 am and I am wide awake, sitting on the front porch, blogging. It doesn’t really look like I will be sleeping tonight either. However, I have time to nap tomorrow, if I need to.

I really hope they don’t want to put me in PHP. I don’t really have the time to devote to five days a week, from 10 am to 3 pm. Especially with my class starting on Tuesday… That is the other big change that is causing anxiety and stress for me at the moment. I haven’t been to school since 2017 when I graduated with my Associate’s Degree in Social Work from the local community college. I’m going back to the same school for another Associate’s Degree, this time in Video Game Design, with a focus on Game Art. The class starts at 3 pm, Tuesday and Thursday, and has a lab right after, that goes until 5:40 pm. The length of the class isn’t that bad, actually. Once I get there, I’ll be fine, and I’ll get used to it and fall into the hang of things pretty quickly. The main concern is if they put me in PHP, I will have to leave early just to get to class, and I will be going from early morning until the evening. Especially if I go to my morning AA meeting before the group like I prefer to do. The class is “2D Design for Video Games.” I think I’m really going to enjoy it.

I’m just worrying a lot, jumping to conclusions that are most likely not going to come true. There are a ton of “what if’s” going through my head lately. “What if they put me in PHP?” “What if I can’t make myself go to class?” “What if I’m not good at this?” “What if I fail the class?” “What if…?” I could go on ad infinitum. That’s my M.O. Worrying that the worst possible outcome is going to happen. All the time. Or going from making one little mistake to I’m dead in a ditch in the middle of nowhere, in 3 seconds flat. There’s also the “always” or “never” thoughts. “I’m never going to get this…” “I always fuck things up…” “I’m never going to be able to get a real job and move out of my mom’s house and get away from the abuse…” All of these are examples of thought distortions or thinking errors. They are one of the things that CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, teaches about. The first two are examples of catastrophizing and the last one is black and white thinking.

That is actually one of the things we went over in IOP on Friday. They had learned about it earlier in the week and she did a review of the stuff they had learned. We then looked at mindfulness for the weekend. The substitute therapist gave us a long list of mindfulness exercises, things to do, and asked that we pick one of the items on the list to do between Friday and Tuesday when we come back to the group. I chose to color mindfully. I have several adult coloring books. I picked one that has inspirational quotes on each page with the designs; the designs are pretty intricate, and I’m not going to be able to finish the page before Tuesday like I wanted, but I’m going to at least try to get more done on it. She said we were to report back to the regular therapist on Tuesday what we did over the weekend for the mindfulness assignment.

Tomorrow, all I have scheduled is an individual therapy appointment at 4 pm and a meeting with my sponsor, right after, at 5:15 pm. My mom is tutoring a couple boys in the house in the evening, so I need to either vacate the premises or hide in my room the entire time they are here. I always choose to leave; it’s just easier. So after I meet with my sponsor, I’m going to hang out up at the AA club until mom is done tutoring the boys, and then head home around 7 pm. I hate not being able to just come and go as I please, but I understand I would distract the boys if I were just walking in and out all the time. So I leave out of courtesy.

One good thing, lately, is I started playing a new video game; an MMORPG. Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve had it since Christmas, but never installed it on my computer for some reason. One of the girls I met in the hospital plays it and invited me to play with her and her friends. I’m really enjoying it. I’ve played World of Warcraft for a while now, but I’ve really gotten kind of tired of it lately. A little worn out with the same old storyline, over and over, with different characters. Having new content that I’ve never experienced, never played through, is amazing. I love it! It’s only been 4 days and my main character is level 18. I know that is slow for some people but for me, that’s really fast. I don’t normally play non-stop like I have been lately. With the not sleeping and having days off, with nothing to do really, I’ve been able to play pretty much all day for several days. Don’t get me wrong, I have taken breaks. Technically, I’m taking a break right now. The entire time I was at IOP on Friday, I was thinking about how I wanted to be playing instead of sitting in the group. It was pitiful, honestly…

Well, it is nearly 2 am now, so I am going to call this edition of my blog finished. Thanks for reading and I hope you come back again!

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