My Life with Anxiety.....
I can't even tell you when the "anxiety" started, because no one recognized it as that. Not even my Doctor's! Yes! I say Doctor's. I had the luxury of living in a household where my Dad's best friend was a doctor and in turn produced two son's who were doctors. Whenever I had a panic attack it was I'm dying I don't know what's going on my throat is going to close up, I can't breathe you name it - and in a flash like a god sent him or his son were right over to check me out and say nope nope nothing is wrong with you. I was able to cope with the panic attacks by carrying around things such as a peak flow meter or a flash light to look in my throat etc and as long as I was able to breathe a 400 in the peak flow meter or see down my throat I clearly was just having a panic attack. Oh I also remember a period of time where I always thought I was having a heart attack. I remember my Dad and Doc playing tennis and running out there saying I was having a heart attack. Of course they stopped checked me out and nope I wasn't having a heart attack. I coped with this by the Doctor explaining to me how a heart attack happens what it feels like and if you can run "hence run to the tennis court" you are probably not having a heart attack. This took that fear away. Never once at this time was panic disorder or anxiety disorder mentioned. I remember one time "maybe breathing in a paper bag" would help the situation. By the way this is all before I turned 17. The worst is yet to come.
I then moved out of the house. I moved 15 miles away. I had so many panic attacks, couldn't breathe was going to die that I finally moved back to BG after 6 or so months. I was living with my boyfriend at the time. I hid my anxiety years for many years. For a year or two it prevented me from even leaving the house. I was able to hide all this, because he did EVERYTHING for me. So, it was very easy to say "babe will you go to the grocery store today" The biggest fear I had then was losing touch with reality. I remember constantly checking to see if I remembered phone numbers to my parents etc. I was afraid I was just forget everything and forget who I was. This coping mechanism brought some relief.
I believe this is when I started seeing therapist after therapist. No one could help. The best I could remember was a therapist saying just carry your anxiety like a garbage bag with you, but continue to do things. She was somewhat right about this, but what a great way to put it. From then on it would come and go. I could always avoid anything I wanted and was pretty happy with life, because it was easy to be lazy and sit around at home because I had the love of my life right there with me.
Well we broke up after 7 years. He cheated on me and my whole existence and knowing of who I was - was gone just like that. This brought up a bunch of issues. I drank myself into oblivion every day. No literally woke up around 10 dragging myself out of bed - went to the liquor store got two pints of henny grabbed a big mac meal and came home and got drunk till I passed out. I did this until my body rejected the alcohol and big macs and turned me into a hive literally. I saw another therapist about this and basically he taught me this guy was in my life for a reason and to except that and move on. I met two awesome chicks and they helped with this.
So now what....I started coaching - doing stuff my anxiety made me avoid for many years. I loved it. I was loving life really until a big event came up. I had to travel. I say I had to, not because I didn't want to. I always booked trips and made a reason to back out at the last minute. I had to because now I put myself into a corner I booked a trip with my family to Cancun. How the FUCK was I going to get out of this one at the last minute. Basically the whole entire week I was so worked about if I was going to go and if not how was I going to back out and not let anyone think anything. Well thankfully (I say that at the time) because I hadn't slept literally in 8 days I sounded like shit the day of the flight. When I called my parents to back out they said you shouldn't go if you are sick. You can fly down another day. Well normally this would bring relief, but it DIDN'T. I had them calling me and texting from this warm beautiful sunny place and here I sat in this cold dingy weather. That is when depression set in.
When they got back I was in my office and I literally lost it - I called my Mom told her I was freaking out and I couldn't take it any more. She said "this really surprises me I thought you were doing really well?!" Goes to show you how well I hide shit. Yeh, well any way I saw the Doc later that night and he put me on lexapro. Mind you I am now 27....meds got brought up before, but what if the meds made me worse than I already was. At least I know now I can handle shit by backing out of it. Well I was at the bottom and I didn't think anything could make me worse - so guess what.....here we go.
The first couple of days on lexapro was awful. I woke up in terror a couple of nights in a row, but I got through it and the next two years were bliss. Not easy, but WAY easier than the last many years of my life. I started seeing an "ACT" (Acceptance Committment Therapy) Therapist and he was amazing!! He taught me that no matter how your anxiety makes you feel you are still in control, and the more you use avoidance techniques the more anxiety will cause turmoil. After much work the end goal was to travel somewhere - anywhere. I did in fact I travelled a lot in the next two years and I travelled including went to Cancun with my family the next two years in a row.
Then the guy came in my life and I was on cloud Nine. So much so I went off lexapro. Probably worst mistake of my life, but I was doing fine without it - for awhile any way. I was in love and love conquers all. Needless to say some things happened in my life and it started to spiral out of control. I cannot tell you if those things happened, because I was unstable or because that is just where life wanted to take me. Either way I started to have major anxiety. Mostly depersonalization. I was over the whole I can't breathe or my throat is closing up things. Now it was just mainly depersonalization. I haven't been able to look in the mirror in years, because I don't feel like it is me. Many times nothing feels real around me and I just know at any minute if I don't panic and bring myself into reality that I am going to forget who I am or where I am and that is a very very scary feeling. This goes along with many other feelings such as hypochondria etc.
Needless to say I started working with the therapist again. I found that I avoid my feelings all of the time, by "acting" out. Creating drama around me. When I am in it I'm like there is no way around it - that is just what life throws at me, which is some what true, but looking back at it I definetely feed into it to avoid the anxiousness feeling. I am not surprised that right now after everything that has happened in the past 6 months - 2 years in my life that I am completely out of touch again. I tried dealing with it naturally in my new home in MI, however I finally lost it when I couldn't even get to a meditation class 7 miles away without being in a complete sweat. I called my parents and here again at 31 I am back at my parents house trying to get healthy. Reluctantly I started taking lexapro again. First day was miserable complete panic until the Doctor told me to take xanax as needed. The crazy thing about anxiety is every time I experience it I feel that it is the worst thing I have ever experienced. I am now on day 4 of lexapro and am feeling better.
I went to go swimming today and was in complete panic. Sweating and all. I took a xanax and got out of the car with a vengance - I wasn't letting this shit stop me. I walked and stopped and walked some more. Got my swimsuit on dove in the pool and with every stroke I wanted to jump out of the pool BUT I DIDN'T!! By lap 7-8 I didn't want to stop. I did 60 laps and then went to the basketball game. Although I can't imagine driving too far away just yet - I think I will get there. I still have very scary thoughts, but now I am able to say hello to them and bye for the most part. I am going to continue taking my lexapro and trying new healthy skills such as imagery and meditation and we will see where life takes me from here. I want to achieve inner peace and happiness so I can enjoy life and live it to the fullest every day! Without having these manic and depressive moments!
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