MY INCOMPLETE JOURNEY WITH ANXIETY
Like many others out there, I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and depression. I've struggled with both of these since I was a teenager. Within the last year, I've decided to embark on a journey to learn acceptance. Acceptance of myself, these disorders, and the ups and downs that come with them. Here's what I've learned so far..
- •How it affects meEveryone has different triggers and different experiences with their anxiety. Personally, mine leaves me feeling like I can't breathe. Mentally and physically. I can't sit next to someone without the fear that they can hear me. So I stop and hold my breath. And before I realize it, I'm gasping for air. The anxiety also consumes me to the point where I feel like I'm going to choke in social settings. I sit near an exit. Always. It's paralyzing. It's consuming. And it sucks.
- •Anxiety.. It's a bitch. It'll try to own you.And sometimes it does and it feels like there's not a damn thing you can do about it.
- •You're not alone!It can be a defeating experience. Others who don't experience anxiety seem to think you can just "calm down" and it's that easy. Lololol. It's not. I'm sure if most of us could turn it on and off like a switch, our problem would be solved.
- •It's okay to seek help.At the very worst, you could say you did it and it didn't help. But I really doubt that will be the case if you stick through it. It takes time to find the right balance of medication and/or therapy.
- •Some people really do need medication. And that's okay.I've struggled with this one for a long time. I've always viewed it as a weakness to take meds. As if it were some sort of lazy alternative.. Or if it were the easy way. When I finally decided to try it, i felt defeated. I felt like a hypocrite. Until I could really FEEL. I wasn't numb inside. I spend so long feeling nothing that I began to think it was normal.. It's not. Don't knock it til you try it. I learned you cannot judge someone else's struggles.
- •Talk to your friends and family.I won't lie... It's not easy. But they really do care.
- •But it's not for everyone.Shortly after starting medications, I gained weight. It came on quickly. There were other side effects too. Out of the few, fairly uncommon cases for those taking certain SSRIs, I started having tremors. But aside from the few negative side effects, I felt wonderful. I felt alive and like a person. For a while. Then, I spiraled into a deep depression. I wanted to die. So I was switched to different meds until ultimately, it was decided I should be taken off.
- •We put such a negative stigma on mental health, but it's just as important as physical health.We've been brainwashed since we were babies to believe that if we reach out for help, we are weak. This couldn't be further from the truth. Mental health and physical health are equally important.
- •What the doctor didn't tell me as I was taken off of medication was the horrible withdrawal I would endure.I'm only a few days into my next step in this journey and it feels almost unbearable at times. I slip in and out of dizzy spells.. I'm nauseous all the time. Headaches would be an understatement of what hits me when I'm least expecting. There's a jolt that I feel course through my body when I try to move. Almost tingly. But disorientating.
- •I find myself wonderingHow could the doctor not even have mentioned this horrible experience? Then again, I wonder if it's because it's unexpected. Like because I haven't been on SSRIs Thaaaat long, it shouldn't be this bad.
- •For now, I'll just focus on therapy. And I'm okay with that.
- •It's an uphill battle. But eventually, you WILL reach the topYou're not alone. I can't say this enough. Things to get better.
- •Remember, you're not alone.
- •Therapy has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.It's a wonderful feeling having someone safe to talk to. Someone you know can't spill your secrets. I had a really shitty childhood that has made me feel crazy and messed up for so long. When j went to therapy for my first few sessions, it was such a relief hearing that I had very valid reasons for being the way I am. For feeling how I do. Or don't. There's no judgement. It's comforting.
- •Most importantly, I learned to love myself a little more.Be kind to yourself. You're only human.