I have been living with anxiety disorder for nearly 15 years. My disorder takes its own unique form; today, I wanted to share a part of my story, and where I am now.
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.
Living with Anxiety Disorder
It should come as no surprise to any of you that I have increasingly been struggling with my anxiety levels and my anxiety disorder. Though I do not conceal the fact that I live with Clinical Depression and Anxiety Disorder, it wasn’t until my anxiety attack of last year that I really discussed the fact outright. I had mentioned my diagnosis during my series on Living with Crohn’s Disease, and most recently, in my post on how exercise and fitness have helped my anxiety and depression.
I won’t lie, I felt a bit of a fraud with that post; not because I didn’t totally believe and stand by what I was writing, but because I found myself having severe anxiety attacks the rest of that day and throughout the weekend. Even so, I think that the fact that I had those attacks just goes even further to illustrate a fact about living with depression or living with anxiety disorder: sometimes–often, in fact–the situation is beyond your control.
I got to some dark places last fall and winter as I dealt with breaking my back, giving up on running the Boston Marathon, and losing my job. I honestly do credit not only my incredible support system but also the fact that I was still able to do some sort of movement and activity with keeping me sane and out of a true depressive episode. Then I started physical therapy and had the incredible high of my first run and the glorious news that I was in remission from my chronic illness and that Alex and I could take those first steps towards starting a family. Then I got my job! So many things were looking up!
But then the positive aspects of life, the very things that I had been waiting for (job, running again, coaching, getting ready for pregnancy) started to cause me to unravel. The week after I had my physical, where I told them that I had had an anxiety attack but it wasn’t bad and I was managing so let’s keep my dosages the same, the anxiety attacks started in earnest.
Apparently, when you have no hormones, coming off of the only hormones that you have (your birth control), can really rock your world.
I tried to stay the course. I fought through. When I had the scare at the end of March, I had an attack but managed. Then I started running again, and I felt on top of the world!
April was a fantastic month, full of highs and incredible experiences. But lurking behind the surface, and rearing its ugly head throughout the month, was my anxiety.
If you’ve noticed, my happiness level is closely tied to my physical comfort and ability. I wasn’t kidding when I said that my body and mind are very reflective of each other!
May seems to have been the turning point. I started May ok, and then last week my back/hip flared, some of my forward momentum shifted, we finally started the move, Alex was on nights and not there for the little bits of support I so desperately needed… and I just fell apart.
Last Friday, when I realized that this thing in my back wasn’t just going to go away + neither were my responsibilities + actually they were growing and I realized that I might end up disappointing people (most likely disappointing them only in my mind!), I lost it, and living with anxiety became a very visceral reality. Friday I spent much of the day feeling like I could throw up and that my heart would race out of my chest at any moment. I was close to tears on and off all day. I’d be ok; then not. On, off, on, off. Saturday I wasn’t much better. I existed Saturday, but I wasn’t me for much of the time. I just wanted to go to sleep and get rid of the feeling. Sunday, same thing.
Monday, I was sitting at Remicade, and I finally accepted that I couldn’t live like this. I had gone to a point beyond my control, particularly if I was going to find myself taking new time off from exercise to heal (again).
I emailed my doctors and told them what was going on. That afternoon we upped my dosage of Effexor.
Why did I wait so long? I’m not ashamed of living with anxiety and depression, but I do have a bit of pride: I didn’t want to go back a week after my physical and tell them otherwise! And, silly as it sounds, I knew they would have to write me another Rx because my pills couldn’t be broken down. I was more embarrassed about admitting I was wrong, or having them question my reliability, or even having to take off work to go in for an appointment!
Yesterday, Alex picked up my Rx for me, and I took the first additional pill last night. Do I feel “better already”? No. but I know that by tomorrow, I will notice a difference. I know that starting this weekend, when I am at an all day event that will test my body and knowledge and put me on the spot repeatedly, that I will be far less likely to get those jolts of heat up my spine. And that relaxation, that peace of mind, will also contribute to me being more able to heal because my muscles will actually relax.
The moral of the story? As much as we put ourselves in a good position to fight back, anxiety and depression are beyond our control. Anxiety and depression are not your fault; you did not bring this upon yourself, and you don’t have to suffer living with anxiety and depression to atone for anything.
Reach out, get the help that you need. Get your life back. And do you husband the favor of not driving him crazy for reasons beyond those for which he married you!Sometimes, living with #anxiety is beyond your control. But you can fight back. #sweatpink Click To Tweet
Do you ever let pride get in the way of asking for help?
If you are living with anxiety, are you good about realizing your are in over your head?