Anxiety, Mental Health, Mindfulness

Triggered Anxiety – close your eyes, breathe, and be mindful of what you CAN control

I’m going about my day; cleaning house, listening to a podcast, talking to the dogs, when hubby brings in the mail. First thing I see, a letter from Service Canada denying my EI claim.

BAM!!! TRIGGER!! ANXIETY HITS THE CEILING! Heart thudding, feel like vomiting, I want to RUN!

WTF? I say to myself. I’m supposed to be over these trigger spikes by now, or at least, I should be able to handle them better. ARRRRRRRRRRRGH!!! (That’s me screaming in my head).

Back-story: In early 2018, I was on leave for 3 months (for mental illness) after which, having been denied long-term disability, I/we severed my employment. I’ve been in treatment/recovery since then.

I have now applied for and been denied Employment Insurance because I didn’t claim it last year when I was severed. When you’re in a state of acute mental illness (embedded in you’re chronic mental illness), the fine print on just about everything in your life is far too overwhelming to comprehend, let alone the nuances of paperwork, procedure, and the like. In all honesty, I thought I did comprehend – turns out I didn’t.

And now, my claim is denied and I have to appeal and go through all this red tape – all of which is done online or through snail-mail or through some nasty woman at the EI office who tells me I’ve f’d up!

I have to calm down.

I begin practicing mindfulness – to be in the moment. I’ve closed my eyes. I’m breathing slowly, deeply. I’m in a comfortable leather desk chair. The window is open and there is a pleasant, humidity-less breeze. I hear cars, some birds. I’m thinking about what I CAN control versus what I canNOT control.

CAN: While I have to take the next dreaded step in the EI process, I can control when I do so. Not today. When I’m in a better state of mind.

CANNOT: I can’t control how long it will take or what they will say.

The anxiety spike has abated though I still feel trembly inside. I feel as though I’ve made very little progress towards controlling my trigger spikes while in truth, a year ago, this sort of thing would have had me in tears, literally vomiting, then hiding under my covers in bed. (Add this to my gratitude journal).

Practicing mindfulness is tough when you’re in the thick of it, whatever your “it” may be. Progress can be slow, but, it is a very useful tool in the mental health toolbox.