My Story: Anxiety
If you know me or have been following me for a while you know I have anxiety. But what does that even mean these days? I thought I would shed some light on me, my experience and more importantly, start the discussion on anxiety in general. I am in no way shape or form a medical professional; please consult your doctor if you feel you need professional help (just like I did).
I remember being a little kid (7-10ish) and losing it if my mom or dad was late to pick me up from school. I vividly remember whenever they were super late, I would feel as if I was completely out of control..my emotions/thoughts would go haywire as if I was going to be stuck at school forever? As I got older, it turned into other things such as stress over friendships and the usual middle school drama. High school was completely focused on boys, relationships and everything social. If I was not in control of something, I was constantly obsessing over it; this took over a lot of my brain power during my high school and college years, more than it did for my peers. I just always told myself, “i’m just a super passionate person". Now that I look back, a lot of those feelings were just my anxiety and ocd taking over. In hindsight, the theme is when I feel “out of control”, my anxiety tends to flare up. This was never really a huge pressing issue, just something I can see now really clearly. If you’re reading this, you may either have some anxiety yourself or know someone who does, so think… is there anything you can pinpoint from your younger years that may help you understand yourself a little better?
Something I have never talked about on here before is that I started dating someone right when my mom passed away. The concept of falling in love AND grieving a death at the same time is unexplainable, as you can imagine. About 10 months later, we broke up VERY suddenly which spiraled my anxiety into another level (something I had not really experienced to that severity). However, the break up caused me to actually deal with the grief of losing a parent..I felt COMPLETELY out of control. No words to describe it other than, that was basically rock bottom and changed me for the better. Even though those were some of the worst months of my life to date, it certainly helped me become who I am today. Around that time (end of 2014), my dad suggested I go to the doctor to get an opinion on medicine (he mentioned my mom had taken some anti-anxiety medicine in the past and it seemed to help her). The doctor prescribed me an average dose and after a month or so, I felt a sense of “calmness”. Something that I struggle with sometimes is, WHY do I have to take medication to “make me like everyone else”? I have come to realize, everyone is different and we have no idea whats going on with anyone else. Always remember, instagram is a highlight reel and everyone has different life experiences that shape them into who they are. Anyways, I have been on that medication since then.
I am not writing this to tell you “how to handle your anxiety” or my tricks to deal with anxiety because TBH, I don’t have anything ground breaking to tell you that you couldn’t find on google. I AM here to tell you, if you have ever felt this way, you are NOT alone. I am not here for you to “feel bad” for me, that is the last thing I want. I am here hoping this can help someone.. in any way shape or form. I am SO grateful to have this platform and I want to use it for good, however I can. Again, just remember you are not alone.
I have just been going through the motions and taking anti-anxiety meds daily for the last 4 years now. Let’s fast forward to this month. A few weeks ago I went through some emotions and realized how much anxiety I had around the feeling that “I need to look a certain way” …you can read that here. That seems to be when it all started to come to a head. Over the last few weeks, EVERYTHING became such an effort. The thought of working out was dreadful, I took forever to get out of bed, I felt overwhelmed with any work task, I would randomly cry, felt fatigued all the time and the most noticeable part was I constantly felt a “hunger for air and deep breaths”. I went to the doctor, got diagnosed with the flu. I took it easy but knew in my heart…this was more than “just the flu”. After that, I read that some “flu symptoms” can overlap with “anxiety symptoms” but I just kept deferring to, “I just have the flu”.
This past Sunday night (2 weeks after “the flu”)…I was sitting on the couch just watching TV with DJ and all of the sudden felt like I couldn’t breath, felt like knives stabbing me in the back, I could hardly move and I was crying out loud with frustration. After about 30 minutes it went away but it came back in the morning. I started feeling a sense of burning in my throat, my hands and feet were all tingly and I was a little dizzy. I went straight to Patient First and all tests were normal. They in fact decided that it was a “panic attack” and gave me some Xanax, something I have never taken before. Being in the health and wellness community aka things need to always be “all natural”, I felt like a fraud. I felt weak. I felt pathetic. I felt worthless. However, I let myself take the medication for 2 days, really relaxed, took some time for myself and slowly got back on my feet. Two days ago, I got out of the house and I felt a little better. Yesterday, I woke up with tons of energy, went and worked out (best work out in a long time!) and got so much done. I write this to say, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. My body was telling me SOMETHING and I clearly wasn’t listening. I am all about pushing through and being strong but sometimes when something is not right… you know it.
Something I learned from this is that I need to do more things that bring me joy (I have a current obsession with this statement). Take a second, what are 5 things that bring YOU joy? Write them out. How often are you doing them? THAT to me was eye opening and truly the root to the cause of my anxiety flare up. Do I get anxious when I’m not super in control? Yes. But there clearly was something more this time. Anxiety has a way of leaving us confused. We really truly never know where it comes from or why and because of that I could have easily blamed ALL of this on “I just have anxiety”.
It is important to TAKE A STEP BACK. Think about if you are doing everything to truly live your best and happiest life. I can say over the last 2 months, the things I love doing the most, I have been neglecting. As I move forward, I am going to try to use this knowledge to help me be my happiest self. Do I want to get off anti-anxiety meds one day? Of course. Let’s just take it a day at a time. You are strong. You are worthy. And you are worthy of being the happiest version of yourself, whatever that takes.
xoxo, thanks for reading!