Me vs. Silence

I’ve been busy these past couple of weeks hence why I haven’t posted in quite a long time. I moved in to a house with 3 of my best friends, got a job, and for once, I feel like my depression is starting to lift for the first time in almost a year. My panic attacks have been coming infrequently (about every 2-3 weeks instead of every week or biweekly) and because I’ve been doing mindfulness meditation every night, I haven’t had nightmares nearly as often. So you could say things are finally starting to look up. Thanks universe!

I’ve still been trying to stop the things in my life that give me anxiety as much as possible and even if it does, sitting with it like I would with my exposure therapy in treatment. One thing I noticed while I was driving back to Portland from visiting Seattle for a few days is how much anxiety silence gives me.

Some people say they can’t live without music to show off to others how much music fills their life and “wow look at me I like music I must be special worship me pleb but yet I’ve never picked up an instrument but I can “sing” because I can sing sort of kind of good in my mind to Adele on the radio” and yada yada yada.

I say I can’t live without music quite literally because silence drives me a little mental. I cook, study, read, fall asleep to, and am constantly surrounded by music because silence frightens me. I always knew that something about complete silence threw me off. I don’t necessarily have to have music (something specifically with a melody) per say. There needs to be some sort of prominent rhythmic sound around me at all times. Maybe it has something to do with my synesthesia  and maybe its because my family played music at all times of the day for my entire life. When I was taking tests, I could hardly concentrate because of the silence. Lying in bed with complete silence scares the living shit out of me. Sitting in a waiting room or on a public transit without music fills me with untold anxiety. For a long time I had no idea why.

I realized why while listening to Twenty One Pilot’s song Car Radio. Normally the song helps me get out of suicidal or depressing thoughts (mainly both of their first two albums) but it also helped me realize that silence is violent to me. Like how Tyler quickly lists off strings of consciousness through the song, that’s what my mind does when I don’t have some sort of sound filling my ears. Thoughts that normally are quiet suddenly flood my head like a dam failing. I try to do the tips my therapist in treatment taught me about how to handle so many thoughts and let them pass, but when they’re drowning your mind, its hard not to suffocate. I notice that when I fall asleep without music, I get more nightmares because my mind tends to think endlessly before it falls away to exhaustion. A normally anxious situation will suddenly become hundreds of times worse because its completely silent.

If you were ever wondering why I ask you to put on Chopin while I’m having a panic attack and maybe have you talk about something wonderful that happened in your life, its because these sounds and music calm me down to an “eh” level of intolerable panic (may not sound great, but its a huge improvement from the “oh shit” level of intolerable panic).

I did exposures with silence while I was in treatment, and I have realized that I really need to keep exposing myself to it more and more as I continue to make huge strides in conquering my anxiety. My improvement is already monumental, but I want it win this war once and for all, even if it includes winning little battles like this.

Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

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