Archive for May 19th, 2009

I have shared that I now have a prescription for Xanax to help me with my anxiety. I try not to take it more than once a day, and I sometimes can go the whole day without it. I have noticed that I am experiencing much more anxiety than I ever appreciated now that I have been trying not to lean on my eating disorder of binge and compulsive overeating.

I have been trying to pay attention to the times that I feel the need to medicate myself with the Xanax. This frequently happens in the evenings or at night when my son (who has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder – ADHD) is running around like a loud, crazed Energizer bunny. However, I have begun noticing my anxiety level rising at other times, too.

Hub and I went to dinner at a local pizza parlor. The place was crowded with a large group seated right next to us. A customer was seated at the end of a group of tables pushed together, which put him in the aisle. People were coming and going around him. Waitresses were bustling around the tables. Children were making noise. I felt overloaded by all of the stimuli and just wanted to crawl under a rock to get away from it all.

It was then that it hit me – I don’t know how to process all of this stimulation! I have lived most of my life with dissociative identity disorder (DID), so I had a way of escaping overstimulation. Whenever things got too “crazy,” I would simply dissociate. However, as I am becoming more whole and have now stopped using food to help me stay dissociated, I am living more in my body. I am staying present, and I don’t quite know how to handle overstimulation because I never had to deal with it before!
This is quite an epiphany for me, and I am relieved to understand this about myself. My sister has been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, but I never had any trouble being in a crowd or surrounded by chaos. I now recognize that this is because I was “checking out” in my own head. Now that I have chosen to give that up, I am finding myself reacting in a very similar manner as my sister when confronted with chaos and crowds.

Now that I know this about myself, I will start taking steps to deal with it. Half the battle for me is always identifying the issue. Now that I recognize that this is a problem, I can take steps to deal with it (including taking a Xanax, if needed).

I am encouraged because this is another sign that I really am integrating. I really am becoming more whole. In some ways, I am giving up a “super power” by letting go of dissociating, but I am giving myself the gift of presence.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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