Saturday, January 12, 2013

seeking solutions

Well, I think this weekend is going better than last weekend. As in, I really want to sleep, but specific depressed thoughts have not shown up. And really, I'd rather be really tired than deal with those familiar, really depressed thoughts.

School has started up again. I think I'm maybe taking it too seriously. I can feel the tension. I've gotta get it done; I've gotta do enough (whatever that is; I don't know yet since I haven't had an exam); I need to absorb the material; I don't want to get behind; not only that, but I want to get ahead; I've got labs to do that have too many variables, too much uncertainty, so I just want them done! So much for wanting to live in uncertainty. I don't want to fail, so really, I want to finish all my classes this weekend so that I can stop worrying about them and relax. Talk about an unreasonable and impossible goal.

And I've been dreaming about work and about playing for church this Sunday. And I've been dreaming about dreaming about work and playing for church this Sunday, since I knew in my dreams that I had dreamt about that stuff. And needing spaghetti noodles for a meal with my church small group tomorrow; cant remember if that was a dream of needing it, or if I just thought about that in real life. But I was trying to go to a grocery store in my dream... or was I just near the grocery store? And in real life, I knew I needed guitar picks (or rely on whatever was left at church by the other guitar players, but I have my favorite kind).

So I've got the guitar picks. I'll get the noodles (less-tasty white noodles in deference for the little kids, even though in this particular area of noodles, I much prefer whole wheat noodles). I've listened to my lectures for the week. I've glanced at the text book that I've actually received through the mail - it looks like a time trap, with lots and lots of pages teaching me about the anatomy of speech and hearing and neural signals, as if I hadn't taken whole, three credit courses on anatomy of speech and anatomy of hearing (two separate classes), and as if I'm not in the middle of studying the nervous system for the Human Anatomy course that I would like to kick over a mountain and far away - except no, I wouldn't, because then I'd fail the course, and that would just be terrible. Actually, the information is interesting enough; it is deciding when I've learned enough and when I need to study more and when to take the quizzes and exams. Perhaps that indicates that the problem is our good friend OCD, not the actual class. But now all my classes have some element of exposure therapy or compulsion practice contained in them.

And I don't want to leave them alone, because if I do, something terrible might happen. And that is my OCD's favorite, trademark phrase; "Something terrible might happen!"

Okay, what did my counselor say? About my worrying about an assessment I'd have to give... when I re-read the syllabus that originally sparked my anxiety, I noticed more facts that took most of the anxiety away (until I came up with new anxieties, but that is a new set, extremely similar but not to be confused with the old set). So, she pointed out, I didn't have to waste my time worrying; I could have taken a second look, gotten more facts, and saved my worry.

But if it is OCD, then it is a toss-up whether more facts will end the anxiety or turn into an endless reassurance-seeking cycle.

Problem: I don't want to leave my school studies because I might miss something and eventually fail the class.

Solution: Re-read the syllabus? Done that. Check the calender? Done that. Listened to all the lectures for this week? Done that, too. Can I gather any more facts? I guess I could put the calender in my purse so that I could stop worrying about it/check it compulsively (either end could occur).

Solution! Print out when the assignments are due for the semester. I just did that, and now I feel so much better!

This is one of my current goals; when I come up with a problem (like money issues or school worries), try to look "outside the box" for a solution. Sometimes there are solutions that can settle my problems. Sometimes it isn't just a worry I have to live with. And sometimes, with cognitive therapy type skills, I can pair down the initial fear, and then when it is time for Exposure Response Prevention, I've made the exposure into a smaller one that I can more easily handle.

Now I'm going to try to add when I need to read what chapters to my new printed out assignment list!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you found relief in printing out the assignments due list. I find, also, that doing something seemingly small can give me a sense of relief from anxiety. It doesn't take all the uncertainty away, but it gives me something concrete to do to deal with the uncertainty.