Update: living with anxiety and panic disorder
It’s been a few months since I experienced my first panic attack and started down this long winding road of dealing with it. I’ve seen doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists. I’ve tried different medicines, had x-rays, EKGs, MRIs… I’ve done it all. And while I’m still having a hard time understanding all of it and accepting that this is what is my new normal is, I’ve been doing better. Or doing the best I can be doing I suppose.
I won’t sugar coat things… it sucks. And while I know people have far worse problems than I do, it’s still been hard for me. It’s a daily struggle. I’m afraid to drive my kids to school because I’m afraid of having a panic attack while at the wheel and with them in the car. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a daze and that I’m not really present. Because I’m tired or dealing with adjusting to medicine or adjusting to not being on medicine. I feel a pain in my chest and think it’s a heart attack. Or I feel my brain shake and think it’s an aneurysm. And while I can now accept that no, it’s panic, there’s still a small part of me that’s afraid of it being something worse.
The thing about anxiety and panic attacks is that thinking about them often makes it worse. But if you have anxiety or know anything about it, it’s not uncommon to overthink things or have constant thoughts running through your head. So take a situation like this and imagine how many times a day I think about my anxiety or possibly having a panic attack. A lot. Which can be overwhelming when I don’t have time to sit and talk myself through it. Someone needs wiped, fed, let out, bathed, etc… There are no sick days, no “mental health” days and no off days.
Again, this is nothing compared to people suffering from cancer or other illnesses but it’s very real and very challenging in it’s own way. It doesn’t help that I’m under a lot of stress; I’ve been working on a lot of different things and I love what I do, don’t get me wrong. But with the kids out of school for the summer, it’s been a lot harder to find the time during the day and by the time night comes, I’m exhausted.
Truth is, I don’t want to be on any type of medicine anymore. How do I know it’s not messing with me and making things worse instead of better? I know it works for some people and yes, it’s helped me when this whole situation was at it’s peak. But who knows, I could feel even better not being on anything at all. Is that a risk I try and take? I’m not sure. I’ve been debating it for awhile now and I guess that’s a discussion I can have with my doctor the next time I see him.
I try and take things day by day. I feel like things were going really well for awhile and then I started to feel anxious again. Will it ever end? I don’t know. I guess that’s what living with anxiety and panic disorder is. Learning to deal with it because it may never end. It’s just the way it is.