I was really quite anxious at CWC on Monday, but I still managed to spend two hours in the Art Room (which has been anxiety-provoking for me since an incident more than a year ago, when one of the members—Ashley—had a psychotic episode and scared me a lot). I used to spend lots of time in the Art Room, but mostly haven't since the Ashley Incident, so I was proud of myself for sticking it out for two hours. I wasn't doing great art—just coloring—but it was good that I was able to be in the room for that long. I kept my headphones on the whole time, which helped. I just figure the more time I spend in that room, the better, so that I can desensitize myself and stop identifying the room with Ashley's psychotic behavior. So any time I spend in there is an achievement.
I've actually been a little nervous about doing "real art" lately, because I'm in the middle of a big collage book project on the subject of my childhood trauma issues, and working on it is sometimes really triggering for me and leaves me anxious afterward. At the same time, I feel like I can't just stuff the trauma issues back in the box they used to be in—it's all here now, I'm aware of it and can't just ignore it anymore, and I need to deal with it if I want to get past it. Art is my most effective tool for dealing with difficult emotional stuff, so I've been feeling the urge to work on the project, but I worry that it might work counter to my anti-anxiety efforts. So I haven't been doing much art, and I'm not sure how I want to deal with that.
Today's anti-anxiety efforts included working with my therapist on my CBT statements (maybe I'll write a post about that project separately) and going on two short bike rides (about 2 miles each) on our quiet neighborhood streets. I'm feeling proud of myself, especially for the bike rides. I was fairly relaxed, not too anxious, which is a good step toward being able to do more challenging rides (e.g., at night or on streets with cars). I also came up with the idea of possibly going on some really short night-time rides with Shannon in our immediate neighborhood (very quiet streets) as my next step. The more I'm able to ride without freaking out, the less likely I am to freak out, because I'm getting practice on the bike, which improves my self-confidence and trust in my own competence.
After dinner, I'm planning to walk up to the gym for a work-out while Shannon heads off for his evening's gaming at Endgame. I was worried that I might wimp out and change my mind about going to the gym, so I went ahead and put on my gym clothes in advance. It's like playing a mind game with myself: I'm already dressed for the gym, so now I'm more likely to go ahead and go.