It feels weird typing the words “anxiety” and “panic disorder.” And even more so to admit to the world I suffer from both of these disorders. I don’t like to think of myself as someone with a disorder because then it feels like I’m admitting I’m “broken”. Because society has made it seem like mental illness is something to be embarrassed about or something that shouldn’t be talked about. But it’s not my fault I have it and it’s a part of me, so I guess it’s time to accept it and live with it, right?
Let’s set things straight first…It doesn’t make me “broken”. In fact, it’s made me stronger and really made me dig deep and figure things out. After learning more about anxiety and what it was I realized I’ve had it all of my life. And once these panic attacks started, I started to see more doctors who ruled it as possible panic disorder. Okay great, something else now? What is happening! Since I’ve only had a few panic attacks I don’t know that they can officially say “okay you have panic disorder” but regardless, having a few of them has been enough to scare the crap out of me.
So what am I doing to cope with all of this? Well a combination of a few different things. Some people don’t believe in medicine and that’s totally fine. For me, I’ve always been open to trying it. I discussed it with one of my doctors and we decided to try a few different things. I’ve actually decided to do something a little different than he recommended and am meeting with him next week to reevaluate and discuss that.
But in addition to medication, I am meeting with a therapist once a week and trying to pinpoint the “triggers” that cause these panic attacks. I don’t want to jinx myself but I haven’t had a panic attack in over a week or even the feelings that lead up to having one. I honestly think everyone would benefit from seeing a therapist at some point in their life. Sometimes it just helps to talk to a person that is completely removed from you life and your past and can help make sense of everything.
He explained it in such a great way; let’s say your co-workers are throwing you a surprise party. You see different people coming in the office throughout the day with different boxes of things and you don’t think anything of it. But when they finally surprise you, you think back to the different people coming in the doors with boxes all day and it all makes sense. So that’s kind of what his job is…to make sense of all of the “boxes” leading up to the “party”.
I’m also planning on joining the gym this week and adding some yoga into my routine too. Do I really have time to do that? Honestly, no. But I’m really going to try and manage my time better so I can fit in an hour of exercise a few times a week. Not only is it good for body but it’s good for mind and body. The therapist I met with yesterday said that yoga is also said to help with anxiety because it helps you become more in tuned with how your mind and body go work together. Which in turn can help you cope with anxiety.
I’ve been using essential oils for awhile now and I’ve been trying different combinations to see if that helps keep everything in check too. I love Lavender, Joy, Calming, Good Night Oil and a few others. I’ve heard of people going off of their medicine completely and solely relying on oils but I am not convinced on that just yet. I love oils but I don’t know if I have enough handle on everything to strictly rely on those at this point in time. But I am hoping that will be the case one day.
I’m also making an effort to get a massage once a month and a manicure and pedicure at least once a month too. I sometimes put myself on the back burner and I think all of this was a wake up call that I need to take more control over my health and overall well being.
I know people have far worse and bigger problems than what I’ve been dealing with. But we all have our own struggles right? This is something I’ve really struggled with; these feelings are real. These symptoms, fears, and uncertainty have all been real. It doesn’t mean I’m unhappy or I’m putting on a happy face because trust me, I am happy. I have a great life, I love my family, and I love what I do. But that doesn’t mean somedays aren’t hard or somedays are worse than others. But ever since meeting with the doctor last week I have felt SO much better and I’m just going to work on staying that way.
For anyone that has commented, emailed, tweeted, called, messaged or texted me about what’s been going on…thank you. Knowing that I’m not alone, I’m not “weird”, and that I have people who understand what I’m going through means the world to me. Having a support system, off and online has helped me through it all so much. So thank you from the bottom of my heart <3