The subject of anxiety has seemed to come up in my life quite a bit over the past couple of weeks. I went to an event (Tunie’s 17th Annual Health & Wellness Seminar in Coral Springs, FL – so amazing by the way!) and my friend’s mom was so anxious about seats and her daughter getting there. I took control and handled the situation, and she remarked several times how CALM I was. I realized how much my anxiety has gone down in just the past year. I also have a few friends who are dealing with anxiety and who have asked me for my advice, so that has been my inspiration for this post.
I used to struggle with depression/PMDD, as well as anxiety, and I would personally take the depression over anxiety every day. Depression seemed manageable; I could fake my way through things. If I was feeling depressed and wanting to die, I could cancel plans and lie in bed and cry. It wasn’t fun of course, but I always seemed to feel better after a really good cry, or a talk with a supportive friend or a counselor, or writing in my journal, and so on. Throughout it all, I somehow knew one day it would get better. It hurt, and it sucked, but it was manageable.
Anxiety was more challenging for me because it just seemed like it just wouldn’t end. It also made me afraid of things I wouldn’t normally be afraid of. It stopped me from living my life more than depression. This is just my personal experience, and everyone is different. The anxiety really became prevalent to me a few years ago, although I think I always kind of had it.
I dated someone who I refer to as “the psycho ex” or “D-bag”, who even after we split up, broke into my apartment and stole stuff and read my journals, hacked into my computer somehow, etc. It was a complete nightmare, and it’s really when I started becoming more anxious. I couldn’t even send an email to a friend without him somehow bringing up what I discussed. After about 6 months, I think he found someone else to torment and finally left me alone. It was a terrible relationship though, and really affected my self-esteem and self-worth.
After that, I had hardcore pilonidal abscess surgery (and an excision for a 2nd abscess) and was on a large amount of painkillers. My first day detoxing off of them, I took the highest dose of Tramadol I could to try to keep the withdrawal symptoms down, and I started having sensations of my throat closing, my heart racing, dizziness, sweating, stomach problems, etc. My grandfather died of a stroke, so I was always afraid that would happen to me. I freaked myself out by thinking that’s what was happening, or that I was overdosing on the Tramadol, etc. For several hours I was alone in my apartment just FREAKING OUT, convinced I was going to die. I cannot explain the terror and fear I felt. How long would it take for someone to notice I wasn’t answering my phone? Would I suffer? I thought about calling an ambulance, but didn’t. Finally, I just spoke to God and said, “If it’s my time to die, just take me now, I give up,” and just like that, the anxiety went down enough for me to go to sleep.
The next day it was back though. I had my mother take me to the emergency room. After many hours of tests, they determined my heart was just fine, and they gave me an ativan. I took it and begged my mother to stay with me that night because I was terrified to be alone. I went back to the ER a couple days later when I still felt bad, and got some xanax. Then I was let go from my job (for no reason, basically because I had surgery), so of course I became anxious about money.
I was finally recovered enough from surgery to start working out, so I started doing that, just walking and lifting weights, crunches, squats, etc. Then I signed up to be in a commercial, which was awesome because I got to work out with a trainer 3 times per week, so that helped with the anxiety. I found a job, but then was let go for no reason after 3 weeks, so the anxiety spiked again. Also I had gotten a prescription for xanax and was only taking a small amount nightly to sleep, but after running out after a few weeks I went through some weird withdrawal symptoms, and the anxiety became worse. I was also dating someone who had a propensity for anger over the smallest, most insignificant things, so that didn’t help (especially since I am a Highly Sensitive Person). Also, my dad passed away.
I found another job and kept busy with the gym and working, but I was still stressed. I made barely enough money to cover my bills. I then got an apartment with a friend of mine to save money, but after a few months, she got pregnant so I needed to find a new roommate. I was also working full-time and going to school full-time, and was no longer working out and eating crap food because I was always on the run. In December of 2015, the new roommate I met from a roommates site moved in, and the combination of everything I think just hit me all at once.
I had been sick for months with a cough I couldn’t get rid of so I caved and took Mucinex and drank coffee (bad move) and I kept throwing up and having stomach problems, and my heart was beating wildly out of my chest and it felt like I was going to pass out. I had my mom take me to urgent care (mommy to the rescue again!) and they gave me xanax and some stomach medication. I discovered if I took the xanax and stomach medication together at night, I could actually sleep (I’ve had insomnia problems for years), so I did that for a week. Then I ran out, and it was back to the anxiety and throwing up and stomach issues. I stayed at my mom’s house and she took me to the hospital very early in the morning (which was very ghetto and a horrible situation by the way), and they couldn’t find anything conclusive. I figured it must’ve just been anxiety. I didn’t want my life to be like this forever or get worse, so I made it my mission to rid myself of it.
In my next entry, I will share all of the things I did (and still do) to take me from a basket case who ended up in the hospital to the (mostly) calm, happy person I am today. 🙂