When I first got back to College City last Tuesday, I was a basket case. I've never stayed in my apartment alone before, and I was suddenly terrified of getting sick, hurt, locked out, robbed, murdered, fat, and on and on and on. I became convinced I'd leave the stove on and burn the place down. My anxiety was out of control and I absolutely could not imagine getting up each and every morning without some catastrophe occurring.
Now, things are a lot better. Well...let me amend that: things are better. Not a hundred percent better, but significantly better. Better in that I'm not having near-panic attacks multiple times a day. Better in that I feel okay, almost happy, most of the time (for the past two days, that is).
I've been busy, which helps with the anxiety tremendously. I started work at the end of last week, so that's taking up a good amount of time/brainpower. Then on Friday, my roommate got into town to stay for a couple of days before leaving for a trip. Having her around was good for a lot a reasons, but the main ones were 1) It kept me from getting stuck in my own head, worrying and worrying and worrying about everything, and 2) It shook up my private food routines. I don't eat in an explicitly disordered way when I'm alone, but I definitely eat differently than when I'm with other people. It's not that I restrict, but the balance/variety/general wholesomeness factor suffers a bit when there's no one around to watch me prepare my safe meals. For example, I might eat something breakfasty or snacky for dinner if I'm by myself, but with K here, I would take the time to get out my meat and vegetables and grain etc. and actually cook a real person dinner because that's what normal people do.
By the time K left yesterday, I was feeling calm and normal, and was remembering what it's like to not be a ball of nerves all the stinking time. I was actually able to function like a real human being again, so I spent yesterday and today running errands, finalizing school stuff, submitting internship applications, arguing with my insurance company over the phone, and catching up with one of my best friends. The anxiety is still there, but feels so much more manageable. I hesitate to write that because I do still sort of feel like it could burst out again at any moment and turn me back into a freaked-out worry monster, and I'm scared to set it off. For now, though, I'm okay.
In my appointment today, R could tell I was feeling better. He told me that after I left last week, he was "concerned." Why is it that this makes me feel guilty and stupid and ashamed? I should be relieved that he picks up on it when I'm struggling, not embarrassed. I should be grateful. And I am grateful, but mostly I just feel like an idiot for letting him see through me. What can I expect to get out of therapy if I'm more concerned with upholding some perfect image of invulnerability than with asking for help?
That being said, we had a good session today. I was still super uncomfortable (as always) but lately, I've found myself letting R in on a lot more of my private thoughts and fears than I would have in the past. For example, today I brought up body image. I've never been totally comfortable talking about this with him before, I guess because it seems like such a girly issue to me. (Of course, boys and men have body image concerns, too. This is just me being stereotypical and insecure and lame.) I told R about how my body image sucks (shocker!) and how long it takes me to get dressed in the morning. It's a small thing, but I felt really honest and brave admitting this to R. So I guess I'm finally warming up to him, and it only took me a measly four months!
Oh, I also got some blood drawn today, the third time in a month. My arm hurts. Why can't these doctors decide which tests they want to do all at once, instead of thinking up more and sending me back to the lab every two weeks? Just saying.