Anxiety Triggers and The Covid Vaccine

The other Saturday I went and queued in line to have my Covid vaccine jab. It was a beautiful sunny day so I walked there and joined the line of about thirty people, all calmly waiting our turn to get the jab. 

I felt good that day. I'd been for a lovely ten mile run along the river and was pleased with how strongly I ran. I walked the five mile round trip to get my vaccine. I came home feeling fine and then later I felt quite tired but nothing else.

By the early hours I was shivering, burning up, moaning, unsettled, uncomfortable and feeling like I'd been hit by a truck! I know some people had no reactions to their Covid jab, but I was knocked for six. For someone who had run ten miles the day before, I struggled to sit up in bed to have a drink! And it's no secret in our house (just ask my wife) that I'm a very bad patient indeed! My kids did me more than proud though while I was out of action (and my wife had a reaction to the jab too) and did things together nicely, fetched and carried and were all around pleasant and helpful (apart from the sniggering because they've never seen me so ill and incapable before!).   

The jab itself is a doddle. Answer a few questions about medical type things (most of which I'd never even heard of) and within a painless second it's all over and they give you the 'I've had my Covid vaccination' sticker and send you on your way. If you do struggle with things like needles and injections though, get in touch because I can help you with that. 

However, vaccinations and needles aside, there was one thing during my appointment that reminded me of an old anxiety trigger that really used to get to me and send my anxiety soaring. 

anxiety triggers hypnotherapy in ely

 

Anxiety Triggers

Like most things we do, anxiety tends to work on pattern, habit and repetition. In similar types of situations, you will respond how you did on a previous similar occasion. That means you can be calm and feel ok in certain places or situations, and yet find that your anxiety escalates massively in a different place or situation.

I've worked with people who would get anxious just a the thought of going outside the front door, around certain people, in social situations, in work situations such as public speaking and a whole range of other places, situations and circumstances. You start to expect and anticipate anxiety in these moments, it's there during that thing, and then afterwards you may feel bad and be self-critical over how it went and what you said and did. 

When I suffered with anxiety, one of the worst anxiety-inducing triggers I experienced, was when someone pointed out that I was anxious. Despite all the negative thoughts and anxious sensations and feelings going on inside me, I tried hard, and put in a lot of effort, into masking and hiding my anxiety from others. I just did not want them to know, to expose it and to endure the thoughts of them appraising, observing or judging me on everything I then went on to do (my worry about what other people thought was a massive part of my life at that time). 

So at the vaccine centre, as I was about to go into the nurse to get my jab, the volunteer looked at me and said 'don't look so nervous!', which seemed a weird thing to say to me because I was far from nervous. I was a bit hot from walking there and standing in the sun in the queue outside, but definitely unphased by the whole jab thing. 

Now, it might be that she said that to everyone who went in (I have no way of knowing) as an attempted encouraging remark before getting the jab, or maybe it was just blurted out without thinking as patient number six hundred and something of the thousand due that day walked past.

In my anxiety days that would have turned into a thing inside my head. I'd have gone into the room and started getting tense, hot and anxious because the nurse might think I was anxious and I wouldn't have wanted her to think that or to judge me in some negative way, and my fear of that would make me even more anxious. Then afterwards I'd have replayed it all in my mind a hundred times, all the while telling myself how rubbish and useless I was. A one line comment would have been enough back then to trigger my anxiety and ruin the rest of my day.

These days I can view things more objectively for what they actually are. Maybe she did think I looked nervous for some reason or maybe it was just the first thing that came out of her mouth and the same thing she had repeated dozens of times that day with good intentions. Whatever the reason, the things others say don't have to be internalised and digested inside our own minds, it's just words and opinions, not facts or an accurate account of reality.

I mean, so what if some stranger does think something about you that isn't right? It really is no biggie, even if anxiety would have you believe that it is.

I've written before about the science about how others pay less regard to what, we say and do and how we act than we think they do, so even if someone else says something, you don't have to keep regurgitating it yourself and poking it like an open wound when they have long forgotten the whole thing.     

It's possible to diffuse all of your anxiety triggers so that you can think more clearly and feel a lit better. Then, even if an old trigger somehow creeps up and you find the old anxious thoughts creeping in, you can have effective ways of cutting it off before it even begins to take hold. You can use sound judgement and clear thinking on what goes on inside of your own head. And you can relax about things outside of your control, like what others say, and focus on what you can control, like your thoughts, feelings, interpretations, attention and perceptions.

To your freedom from anxiety,

Dan Regan

Online Skype and Zoom Hypnotherapy  

Face-to-face hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

 

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