One of the features in managing anxiety is to recognise the triggers and react appropriately to them. What’s App, or even messenger, or texts come to that were a major trigger for me and sometimes I still have to be especially wary when sending a message that I really want an answer to. Or a reply from someone very important to me, that I feel needed by.
There’s an incident that still stands out as a major example of this for me. Our son and his wife were staying with us. They were down because it was ‘girls’ night out. At that time, I still struggled with the concept of girls’ night out. I had never been in a relationship where that happened before. To me, at the time, it was just a night where we couldn’t be together. I didn’t get it, but I was working hard to be understanding.
The girls went out, and I and my son had a few beers. My son and his wife were texting all evening. I was texting and getting no reply at all.
I was getting anxious because I was getting no reply, but this was magnified because next to me there were messages going back and forwards like balls in a long tennis Raleigh. It was doing my head in massively. I’d also had several beers by then and we all know how alcohol changes the way you think.
Needlessly to say my anxiety was kicking in to overdrive by now. As was my alcoholically fuelled ability to catastrophise to disastrous proportions.
‘She doesn’t love me!’
‘Did she ever love me?’
‘What have I done wrong?’
‘What did I not do?’
And then I’d start sending more texts, and then start calling.
If I didn’t get a response, my anxiety would get even worse, and if I did, I’d just cause more distress and upset and then I’d feel even worse.
Sleep would become impossible with a brain on overdrive and the night would become ever longer. In the morning I’d feel so much remorse for the damage I’d done, praying for forgiveness as well as enduring the downer of a hangover.
I have come out the other side, but it’s hard. Very hard. You always have to be on your guard. Anxiety doesn’t go away, but it is manageable. Reach out, lets go for a walk.
What’s App, wonderful and terrible.
It can be hard to love those dealing with anxiety.
I thank my wife for the love, patience and tolerance she has shown me over the years.