“Being alone with your feelings is the worst because you have nowhere to run. They’re here, dancing in your mind, and all you can do is handle.”
I’m an introvert. I don’t get a lot of pleasure out of big parties, lots of people, or a ton of things going on. I prefer to curl up in bed with a book or Netflix and stay there. I could do that every night and not feel like I needed to go out and party or anything similar.
I used to love being alone. I would thrive on it. I still do, to an extent. However, now I feel most comfortable when I get an hour or two to myself and then spend the rest of the time with someone I am close with and completely comfortable with, whether that be family or my boyfriend.
My anxiety thrives at night. When I’m alone at night, it makes it even worse. My boyfriend is out of town this weekend and my parents are almost 500 miles away. The reality of being alone, especially on a weekend like this, makes my anxiety rise even higher in fear that if something happens, such as a panic attack, I have no one.
Thinking about that makes my anxiety bubble and boil until it bothers me incessantly. Being alone during the day isn’t an issue. If I want, I can go out. Run errands, get some food, wander around. At night, I’m truly alone. Alone with my thoughts and my anxiety, two things that are inescapable.
After 20 years of struggling with anxiety, I’m still learning how to cope. It’s a difficult thing. When I’m not anxious, I can think of many different ways to cope and deal with the feelings. When the anxiety truly comes on, I can’t think of a damn thing. All I can think about is how fast my heart is beating and how hollow my bones feel. How shaky my hands are and how knotted my stomach feels. I can’t just pretend they don’t exist. When my anxiety decides it wants to be there, it’s there and it’s all I can think about.
When I’m with someone I trust and someone that understands, they’re able to talk me down and distract me. Distractions are key when it comes to my anxiety. Since anxiety takes over my thinking processes, which also makes it worse, a distraction pulls me out of that anxiety mindset and lets me focus on something else while the symptoms fade. When I’m alone, there is no one to distract me.
I usually rely on my laptop and my television to provide distractions from my anxiety in times like this. I watch television or scroll through social media sites while I hope and wish that sleep will take over and drown the anxiety until morning. Thankfully, it usually does.
Sometimes it won’t, and I’ll have a completely sleepless night. My anxiety is even worse when I don’t get a good night’s sleep, so those of you with anxiety can imagine what it’s like if I’m running on absolutely no sleep.
Each night I struggle, it feels like I’m never going to get through it. But night after night, I eventually fall asleep and things are okay in the morning. I have to remember that tonight.
Just as anxiety is a daily struggle, it’s a nightly struggle.
P.S. Thank you for all of your support on my last post. I was nervous to post it, but I’ve had such a positive response including multiple people coming up to me in person and telling me how much they loved it. Thank you.