I had an anxiety attack today.
This month, our balanced billing program for our power bill was re-evaluated, and the difference between what we were billed and what we actually used came due. Our power bill is two and a half times what it should be, and it’s going to be a challenge to get it paid with everything else we have due right now.
This caused me to irrationally turn everything off – all lights, all electronic devices, the thermostat – and sit in the living room, illuminated only through the window, working on my computer using the battery.
I told my wife what I’d done, and then responded to her attempts to pull me out of my irrational panic by trying to justify what I was doing.
Somewhere in there, I made the connection that she was right, that I was being irrational, and so rather than continuing to justify I began to compromise with her.
With the windows open, it was comfortable in the apartment, so I told her I’d be leaving the thermostat off until it got uncomfortable. I stuck to that too, and once I realized I was chilly I turned it off again and reopened the windows. (It’s a lovely night out, so it feels wonderful in here now.)
The living room I spend most of my day in has an attached dining room and a galley kitchen all as part of the communal area of the apartment. To help keep my mood elevated, I keep almost all of the lights in the communal area on. My compromise here was to utilize the natural light from outside as best as I could, and to augment it with artificial light when I needed it. That meant turning on the lights in the kitchen when I was in there and turning them off when I left, and then turning on some of the lights when the sun went down.
Rather than listening to Pandora on the TV, I used my laptop to connect and avoided turning on an unnecessary electronic device. My tablet stays plugged in and on most of the time, and so I turned it off unless I was actively using it. I did plug the laptop back in to save the battery, however.
And since I arrived at that compromise, my mood has been fairly level. My anxiety melted away and I’ve been solid ever since.
I wish it were always this easy whenever I get panicky or irrational. But hopefully this use of compromise will help me in the future whenever I have an episode.