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Anticipatory Anxiety

Posted Oct 02 2008 6:17pm

photo by Meredith Farmer
You know you suffer from anxiety when you worry about worrying. At the end of June I have a bridal luncheon and a wedding reception dinner for two different people all on the same day. Then a month after that I have a baby shower. My friend just text'd me and invited Tyler and I over for dinner and a movie this weekend. I have a family dinner this Sunday at my Aunts house and another family BBQ in a couple weeks. All of these events give me butterflies anytime the thought of going to any one of them appears in my head. Just listing them all in one place is bothersome, too many of them! I am worrying about me worrying at these events. Not being able to control the worry or panic that I feel and having a panic attack in front of others which would be extremely embarrassing. I've been trying to not think about the dates, procrastinating buying the gifts and responding with RSVPs. I know I have nothing to fear and I just need to prepare for them- write out my negative thoughts and rationalize their validity but it seems so hard.

The following is summarized from the book The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook that I have listed on my home page. Anticipating anxiety, or apprehension between panic attacks focusing on fear of having another one, is one of the hallmarks of panic disorder. If not treated it can lead to agoraphobia (fear of open spaces or better defined as fear of being in a situation where escape from panic attacks are unavailable). The moment you start avoiding situations (for me would be eating in public around others in a formal setting) for fear of panicking, then you've started to develop agoraphobia. From there things only go more downhill. I don't want to take that road. It can lead to depression, fear of leaving the house, etc.

So I don't want to avoid these events even though my insides are screaming for a reason not to go. Instead I have to plan out what I will do in certain circumstances, what I might say if I start losing control. Best case scenario is that I can prepare for each event, go into it with some positive affirmations and confidence in myself, and be able to manage any anxiety that might arise.

In either case the next few weeks are going to be important. I will either grow a lot in experiences where I can manage my anxiety, or I could have some potential setbacks in which I will still learn alot. I am hoping for the former. I'm sure the following posts will include follow up and preparation for all these potential nightmares.
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