Friday, September 18, 2015

Attack of the Anxiety

This summer we set out to conquer new experiences, see new places, and live our dreams. We've been derailed more than a few times, leading us to amazing situations that have worked out for our good. In the midst of it all, I have become closer to God, more patient, more humble, more thankful, and more emotionally healthy. My relationship with Matt has become stronger as we team up to live the life we want. And I've truly come to realize that my relationship with people and God are two of the only things that matters in this existence.

In the midst of this revolutionary summer, I thought I was handling it all pretty well. Even my family and Matt told me so. Yes, I had a few emotional talks with my uncle on the drive home, and I cried a few times with the stress of it all in California. But mostly, I think I handled it OK.

But since we've been here in Washington, and my life has been stripped down to working full-time from home, I have too much time to myself. And I finally have a space to process the entire summer. The result of all this change (which brings with it enormous stress, loneliness, self-doubt, and financial burden) has not been something I expected. This week the weight of it all came crashing down on me, and I had two panic attacks within 24 hours. I may have had anxiety in my life before, but I've never had an attack. I have to say that these were two of the scariest experiences I've had in my life.

Suddenly you realize you can't breathe and your life seems so pointless. You wonder if you're doing anything right and your chest feels like it's in a vice grip. All the while you're crying because you have no idea why your body is doing this to you. The aftermath is almost just as bad, with worry it'll happen again and adrenaline coursing through your body.

My body has dealt with extreme stress in many ways before. Bouts of depression, weight gain, hives, anger, withdrawal from friends and family, and emotional eating. Maybe these new attacks happened because I no longer deal with stress in those unhealthy ways, by lashing out on other people. I don't know. All I know is that I feel very weak and emotional right now.

Matt has been great. My family has helped me the past few days. I've copied with this extreme bout of anxiety the best I know how with meditation, exercise, time in nature, prayer, sleep, supplements and  short-term anxiety medication.

One upside to this whole thing is that I finally feel like I understand what many of my family members struggle with on a daily basis. I've always kind of put myself on a pedestal thinking I could handle my anxiety without being diagnosed or going on medication. But now I realize that it's not weak to admit that your body needs medicine. And I apologize to anyone I've made feel inferior because they suffer with anxiety. It's something I don't wish on anyone, and anyone who deals with it has to be so so brave.

I don't think my day-to-day anxiety necessitates medication, but I know that I need it right now. Maybe for a week or two as I adjust to a new life and wade through this loneliness. But I'm grateful for the opportunity to connect with family over this hereditary issue that we never seem to talk about.
Anyone out there suffer with anxiety, whether diagnosed or miniscule?
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8 comments:

kelley. said...

I've been struggling with anxiety and depression quite a bit this summer (we've had a lot of big changes too). I've struggled with PPD pretty bad since my boy was born, but it's never gone away. I've had a few anxiety attacks this summer too and they are just awful. I'm so sorry you've had them. I'm still trying to figure out what works best for me, it's been really challenging and discouraging at times. I understand where you're coming from. I'm so sorry.

kelley. said...

I'm here if you need or want someone to talk to.

HaileyRose said...

I've had a panic attack recently too. So scary!!!! Since then I notice the signs and have to step away from whatever and do breathing exercises. Hopefully we both get through the rough patch!

Kellie said...

I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. The hardest part is realizing that your body's hormones are messed up, and that nothing is wrong with your soul. PPD sounds awful.

Kellie said...

Glad to know I'm not alone. Panic attacks are freaking scary. And I was home alone without a car when I had mine. Sorry you had some attacks..I wouldn't wish them on anyone!

Kellie said...

Glad to know I'm not alone. Panic attacks are freaking scary. And I was home alone without a car when I had mine. Sorry you had some attacks..I wouldn't wish them on anyone!

Kellie said...

I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. The hardest part is realizing that your body's hormones are messed up, and that nothing is wrong with your soul. PPD sounds awful.

Jordan Toyer said...

I definitely know how you feel with all the changes, pressure, and worrying about how to manage. I feel you sister, you are not alone. <3

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