So, I have been talking about my anxiety and such for the past year or so, and I want to give an update. Partly because I don’t get to talk to people as much as I’d like and partly because when someone gets diagnosed with a mental health issue, a lot of people don’t know how someone gets “better”.
Before I got help, I had always dealt with the anxiety, even though I wasn’t quite sure what it was.; I know that I had racing thoughts, that when I was over stressed I would feel completely overwhelmed, and there were times when I HAD TO FIND SOMETHING, and even when I found it, I wasn’t calmer, so IT MUST BE SOMETHING ELSE I NEED TO FIND.
I had serious issues with it before. In college, my Junior year, I had a long-term relationship end and for the first time in my life, school wasn’t so easy that I could do well by just paying attention. I had massive back pain, and through therapy learned relaxation and meditation techniques.
When I had a horrific job in 2011, I was hospitalized for stomach issues, and eventually had to quit the job due to cascading panic attacks. I could also tell I was overstressed by forgetting little things, where my wallet or keys were, what day of the week it was, if I had completed small tasks because my brane was racing on other issues. I can remember times I would be driving to work and realize I was driving to the wrong job (in one case, I was driving to a job I hadn’t work at in a couple of years).
So, in 2016 (worst year for me since 1999-2000) I again started having cascading panic attacks. I knew the external cause and got rid of it with help from my Tribe, but I kept having the issue, so I decided to get some help. I completed a therapeutic class, got on some anti-anxiety medicine, worked harder on the meditation, and set up some mechanisms so that I wouldn’t completely overwhelm myself with Stuff To Do.
It’s been about a year, and I have only had a couple of nights where I have had full on panic attacks, whereas by July of 2016, I was having them daily. I have a relaxation routine, make sure to give myself days off, don’t force myself to do too much, and, most importantly, I take time off. From the internet, from writing, from working, all of it. I feed my brain, I enjoy what I have and I do what make me content. Not Happy, content.
The anxiety is still there, but it’s maintainable and I can once again use it to help me complete things rather than giving in to it.
For those who have never gone through it, I explain that if you take how much you worry about things on a scale of 1 to 10, what normal people feel at a 3, I feel at a 10 and what normal people feel at a 5 makes me mentally shut down and go through the motions of what I have to do each day to survive. But now, it’s manageable.
Things I still do:
- If someone doesn’t get back to me, I feel that they have obviously not longer like me and I should just leave them alone
- Believe the worst case scenario will happen
- That horrible thing someone said to me when they were mad? That’s obviously the real truth about me.
- Overschedule myself so that I feel that I am needed somewhere
- Really want to go do things, but as it gets closer to the time to do them, want to get out of it and just stay home
So. Last year in August, that list would have been about 20 items. I’m getting better, but it’s a slow process, and to be honest, some of the things will NOT get any better, so I am learning how to deal with that. This doesn’t mean I’m not happy. I had a lovely Thanksgiving of doing things that I enjoy, this week I set aside an hour or two each night to have pure fun and writing this year’s November Novel made me giddy as I was doing it.
But it does mean that I feel bad if I haven’t gotten in touch with you, that it can get lonely from time to time, and I am still working on getting better.
Much love to friends old and new and thank you for your care and understanding.