Learning You Have Anxiety
I’ve struggled back and forth whether or not I wanted to start sharing more personal stories on my site. You know, like the deep personal stuff. I’ve learned that I’m not alone in my struggles in life. That no one person is perfect nor should they feel they need to be. Maybe my personal stories and experiences can help someone.
The mere mention of the word now sends chills through my body. I’m amazed that before this year I honestly did not fully understand the meaning of anxiety.
“Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms.”
This year has been so hard for me. I finally put a term to the way I have felt my entire life. I realized this after years of watching my oldest daughter suffer from it. It was not until the beginning of this year after lots of research and reading, that I came to find out what exactly anxiety was all about.
I have tried to describe how I feel now to others and I think they get it confused with depression. Sometimes anxiety and depression can go hand in hand, or one may cause the other. In my case it’s mostly anxiety and that anxiety makes me so tired from the constant worry to the point where I am a little depressed. But, only to the point where I feel sorry for myself for not being able to fix how I am or how I feel. Why do I feel like there is something wrong with me now that I know there is a label on the way I am?
“Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.”
I will be honest. There are days lately that I don’t want to get out of bed. There are days when by 4 pm I am ready to call it quits for the day and just want to go to bed. I have had one heck of a year struggling with my own personal demons.
Before I share the mess that I have become…let’s talk about my life leading up to this horrible year I have had.
The way I have always felt my whole life…now I read that’s not necessarily the “normal”. Putting a term to the way I’ve always felt and the thoughts I’ve always had has been overwhelming and difficult for me.
I can remember for the longest time growing up, and even still as an adult, having that upset stomach feeling when ever I had to do something that typically involved other people. I would get nervous about going to school, school events, sleepovers, and even something as simple as making a phone call. Mornings I hated eating breakfast before school because my stomach often was so upset. My mother doesn’t understand because I never mentioned this to her. I suppose it’s because I was so accustomed to that feeling that it became normal to me. School was the worse for me. I had such a hard time. This may have not been totally noticeable to everyone. Many of these feelings I kept to myself and these thoughts in my head. Often I can recall not eating my school lunches, feeling nervous, and sweating a lot all in a normal day.
As I got older I was forced to do many things I didn’t feel comfortable doing. For example, pumping gas for my vehicle. One may laugh, but I was seriously afraid to pump my own gas. This was for a few reasons. What if the gas started spilling it? What if I caught on fire? What if I’m doing something wrong? What happens if I get some on me? These thoughts are just some of many I get on a daily basis and have for as long as I can remember.
When I met my now husband, I am sure he used to think I was a bit crazy for certain things. Like for instance, when he would go into a store or gas station I would lock the vehicle. Every time. Why? Because I truly worried that someone was going to jump in the vehicle and try to take it, or take me, or try to hurt me. I hear that’s not something everyone thinks about on a day to day basis?
I think having kids can really change a person in ways. Every since having children I feel way more emotional then I have ever felt before. That’s hard for me. I don’t like it to be honest, but I cannot control it. Hormones.
For the first week of my first daughters life I literally didn’t sleep much at all. I stayed up just watching and listening to her. What if she stopped breathing? What if she needed me? I had to be there. I tell ya that was a big mistake. You should definitely sleep when the baby sleeps! But I couldn’t help myself but to worry. As she got older I couldn’t handle having her in her own room across the house from mine at night. I would seriously put her to bed and just cry. I felt like I couldn’t handle having her so far away. Once again, due to all my worry.
How do your nights go when you lie down to go to bed? Do you fall asleep fast or are you like me? I can lay down and start to think…not only about the mound of things I need to get done, but what if there was a fire over night? Did we lock all the doors? Can someone get into our house easy? What should I do if this or that happens?
That’s all just a glimpse of the things I think about on a daily basis.
Fast forward to just this past year. I have two kids now, and such a lack of sleep. It has gotten to the point where when my children cough my body jumps and my heart races. Why? Because I am seriously afraid that they are coughing and starting to choke or not be able to breathe. My mind automatically is freaking out. Are my kids going to die?? All of this from a cough. And again, this is just a mere example of my mind working.
This past February I ended up in the ER. My heart was racing for hours and my chest was starting to hurt. It was scary. This happened the night before I was scheduled to have an echo-cardiogram. I had a physical and the doctor mentioned a heart murmur. Was there something wrong with me? What is happening? So after this episode my doctor suggested anxiety medicine. Which before the physical I actually went in to see about something to help with my anxiety because it got to the point where I was crying all day and frustrated with everything. My oldest was struggling with school so much with her own anxiety. It has been so hard for me to watch her be this way. She has had many issues including sensory – clothes not feeling well on her, and having huge melt downs over it.
So we ended up deciding that I should take some anxiety medicine. I was told to hold out for one to two months so the medicine would start to work. Meanwhile the medicine made me feel worse. In ways it helped because it did make the anxiety feel better. That I could tell. But other than that I was feeling very dizzy, foggy, and over all just plain drugged out.
I was a mess.
I will be honest. I cried every day. I don’t know what happened. I assume it is from all the stress of being a mother and watching your child suffer, and knowing her feelings all too well. I got so bad that every ache and pain I felt I truly thought that I had something seriously wrong with me. I felt like I was going to die. Soon. I was having periods of time that my chest would hurt. I would feel like I was going to pass out. Which in return made my body panic. I would try to lay in bed and my legs would shake and I would get hot and cold flashes. I’d message my husband all upset thinking I was going to die because my head hurt or my leg. Did I have a brain tumor? Did I have a blood clot that would result in my death? What was happening to me? I was really scared. My doctor insisted its just anxiety. But how can that be?? I had real physical symptoms that I could not explain happening to me.
I have worked really hard this year to get back to the way I was before. I’m doing better, but I’m still struggling every day. I’m still feeling like my heart is racing, short of breathe, dizzy, light headed, aches in my chest and back, and more. I am still getting that instant fear when I have an ache or pain that something is seriously wrong with me. I know it seems irrational, but I can’t control it anymore. I actually had thoughts like this before, but not where it made my body react the way it does now. I feel lost. The only thing I feel left to do is to (finally) seek someone professional to talk to. I have to realize that there is nothing wrong with getting help from someone when you need it.
I just want to be normal.
What is normal? I’m not sure but I do know I hear myself saying that many days. Some days I don’t want to even leave my house. Shoot there are days I don’t want to get out of bed. But…
I push forward.
I wanted to share my story for anyone who may be silently struggling like I have been this year. If you have never had anxiety like this, then you may never be able to even come close to understanding. If you have a loved one who suffers, just know that they don’t want to be the way they are, but they also cannot help themselves. Sometimes one may look miserable or sound like it, but it’s because there are thoughts racing in their mind that they cannot control.
I am happy, I really am. That may seem hard to believe, specially after reading this or if you were to ever listen to me talk some days. I am happy. My anxiety may get the better of me on some days, but I am thankful for the life I have and the family and friends I have in it.
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