I’m Getting Cabin Fever

It’s been snowing for what feels like forever here in upstate New York, and I am starting to get cabin fever.

The kids have been home from school for the past three days and now it’s Friday and we’re heading into a weekend of — even more snow. The first 2 days were fine because the snow kept everyone busy, me with the shoveling and the kids with helping me and playing.

Here’s a picture of the view from my kitchen as I sat down to work this morning… Gulp.

So I find that as I’m sitting here I have a little knot in my stomach. I don’t like being holed up in the house. The feeling of being trapped makes me uneasy and I notice that I have a low level feeling of anxiety.cabin fever

I’ve had panic disorder long enough to know what I must do to weather this snowstorm emotionally.  I have to keep busy, reach out to others, and actively practice gratitude.

Keeping busy

Keeping busy might seem like a  no brainer — did you see my back porch? I can shovel till kingdom come, or till my back gives out, whichever comes first.  The thing with my anxiety is, it’s hard to get moving.  I’ve been shoveling for 3 days now and there’s a big part of me that just wants to lay on the couch and eat.  Which I did for 2 hours last night. I ate dinner then I made popcorn then I ate other junk and topped it all off with a big bowl of instant cake mix.

So the couch is calling me and I know as soon as I finish writing this post I must not give in to it. Why? Because ultimately that will only make me feel like crap. I need to stay busy and engaged. In my 12 step program we like to say, when I get busy I get better.

Reaching out

Reaching out to others is always important in my recovery from anxiety and panic, but today it’s even more crucial. When I feel anxious, my natural tendency is to isolate. And this is the exact opposite of what I must do in order to feel better. So reach out I must, and this means via telephone with my friends and family,  and by actively engaging with my children (and listening to them, which can be hard when I feel like this).

I can always reach out on anxiety forums too, and share my experience with folks who know exactly what I’m going through.  By posting on this blog, I am reaching out too, in the sincere hopes that someone who reads this will benefit.

Actively practice gratitude

Gratitude is a key element in my anxiety recovery. I keep a gratitude journal by my bed and I write 5 things that I am grateful for every day. I’ve been doing this for about 2 years now. I know last night after vegging on the couch and my date with the cake mix, I felt pretty crappy. When I was laying in bed, I went through and read my 2010 gratitude journal. It gave me a nice lift and I was able to drift off into a semi restful sleep. I am having sleep issues because of the Klonopin withdrawal, but last night wasn’t too bad.

I know today I need pay special attention to where I am emotionally and I can start being grateful right there:

Today I am so grateful that I am 75% off my Klonopin and that I am working my panic recovery program successfully. Today I am so grateful that my children are upstairs playing quietly, and that they are safe and healthy.  My husband made it to work safely after 4 hours and I am grateful.

And now I’m ready to face my day 🙂

I wish you peace,

Jill G.

ps.- Thankfully, there are a number of effective anxiety self help programs available to panic attack sufferers today. See which one is right for you or if you like, you can work with me . Please get started today and reclaim your life from fear.

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