I haven’t had an anxiety attack in months. And I know for certain I haven’t had a panic attack in a LONG time. I’ve been feeling super down and trying to cope after my decision to go off anti-depressants. But no anxiety or panic attacks. Just a lot of anxiety and depression.
Well that all changed yesterday. After talking with my doctor last week, I decided that going back on medicine was best for me. People with diabetes wouldn’t stop taking insulin and people with high blood pressure couldn’t stop taking their medication. So why should I fight that I needed medicine to have a better quality of life? It was a decision I’ve thought about and prayed about for weeks and decided it was time.
Since I’ve only been on it since last Thursday, it’s not fully working yet. The sucky thing about medication for anxiety is that sometimes, your anxiety gets worse before it gets better. It takes your body time to recognize the medicine and take effect. So yesterday, for no apparent reason, my body decided it was going to have an anxiety attack.
My body started to tingle from head to toe.
My face felt numb.
My hands started shaking.
My heart was beating rapidly.
I started crying for fear that I was going to die.
Everything was building up in anticipation that something was going to go wrong.
Now to a “normal” person, this may seem completely ridiculous. Take my husband for example. I called him crying because I was scared that something bad was going to happen. And I was angry that my body was “tricking” me into feeling like this. When this happens, he tells me that I’m a young, healthy 30-year old and that nothing is going to happen. That I’ve had chest x-rays, EKGs, you name it. And that it all checks out okay. And he’s right, on paper everything seems fine.
But it’s not that easy. My mind doesn’t work that way when the anxiety is attacking full force. And I’m not upset that my husband or anyone else without anxiety doesn’t understand how real these things feel. And how hard it is not to worry when you physically feel symptoms. Because anxiety is really hard to understand if you don’t have it.
So my aunt (bless her heart) asked me if I wanted to go on a walk outside to get some fresh air. And once I started walking, looking at the waterfalls around me, and focusing on my breathing, I felt 10 times better. But on a Sunday surrounded by family while drafting for our fantasy football league, I was reminded that I do have an illness. And that it’s something that I have to live with and learn how to cope.
I’ve talked before about my search to find natural ways to deal with anxiety. And I’m not going to stop those just because I’m back on medicine. I feel like medicine may help me get over the hump right now but ultimately, I need to find ways to deal with it and control it. And that it’s NOTHING to be embarrassed about or feel like I can’t talk about. And if you’re struggling, I want you to know that. Mental illness is real. And you’re not alone, I can promise you that.
If you struggle with anxiety, how do you cope? What coping mechanisms have you found to be most successful?