Saturday, November 29, 2014

Anxiety Recuperating

I have been fairly vocal about my anxiety on social media but I haven't really told my story on how I, for lack of better wording, lost control and then started getting back on track...

I have been pretty open about discussing my anxiety.  It started with just a few close friends and gradually I started discussing it with more and more people.  I found that talking about it helped me but better then that it helps other people.  My hope here is to inspire others to take control back.

I have had anxiety most of my life and definitely all of my adult life but until the past year I didn't really know it was anxiety.  I grew up in a violent abusive household.  When I say abuse I am talking primarily about emotional and mental abuse that was inflicted on me but I was also a witness to a lot of physical abuse from a young age.  I was around alcoholics and drug addicts and things that are not so nice.  It certainly makes for a messy adult life of my own.  I have done my best to be the opposite of what I was immersed in as a child but it can be quite confusing at times.

Prior to getting back on track I used to have anxiety attacks before going to friends homes, before going to flying trapeze class, and when traveling long distances all the time.  Generally when I was about five to ten minutes away from my destination my heart would start racing and I started breathing heavily.  I have no idea why.  Once I got to my destination it would completely go away.  On a more serious affect, I went through a bad break up and every time I nearly bumped into that person or thought I saw them I would go into a full blown anxiety attack.

In more recent years, I caught mono and the longest case of Epstein Barr ever which caused a lot of problems for me at work.  After a few years of dealing with that work stress I started dreading waking up in the moring.  I dreaded work.  The social end of my anxiety made it absolute torture to go to aerial class with friends.  I dreaded every class.  I was crying constantly and uncontrolably.  I couldn't continue like this and worse the people in my life didn't understand.

I sought out help of a friend that happens to be a psychologist.  I then finally went to my doctor.  I felt silly going and I felt like a quitter.  I felt like I was letting myself down because I could no longer manage this on my own.  My doctor suggested I quit my job immediately (which I haven't) and she gave me medicine.  I have always been strong anti-medicine when it comes to anxiety and depression.  She put me on the lowest dose and reassured me that it wouldn't turn me into a zombie.  I would still have emotions but I would not over think things as much.

My first experiences with the medication was a lot of sleeping.  I took a day off from work that first week and just slept the entire day into the following day and it was sound sleep.  Gradually, I nocticed I was happier.  I was at 120% at work.  I was smiling at people again.  I was happy again.  I actually felt like the old me that I lost years ago.  I had not felt that much myself since I was in college.  I still had anxiety about aerial class but I started car pooling with a friend and that helped tremendously by easing me into the semi social environment. 

Six months into taking the medication, I went in to have my script refilled and talked to my doctor about how much it had helped and then stopped helping as much.  It really improved my work life.  The social end it helped but then a very specific event happened with friends that broke my steady recovery.  After that event, I started crying nonstop again.  I had to call out sick for a Friday because I was crying to the point I couldn't sleep.  I then got in serious trouble for calling out on  Friday that following Monday leading to even more crying.  Then as luck would have it I had a very bad flying trapeze class first class of the season which reenforced the tears.  I went through a week of balling my eyes out.  I told my doctor this and she changed my prescription.  I then made very sound changes in my life that have helped immensely.

I now limit my time with anyone, activities, or things that trigger an anxiety attack.  Ultimately this led to me leaving aerial class and it's been for the best.  I miss my classmates and teachers but now is not the time for me to be doing aerial work.  I hope to return one day but it will not be anytime in the near future.  Poor Stella the static trapeze has been reduced to holding the lift door open at my storage unit.

I have now been on anxiety medication for a year and I don't know how I survived before without it.  I feel like I have grown so much in the last year and literally bloomed emotionally.  I am no longer scared of everyone.  I am making friendly acquaintances everywhere.  I am thriving at a job I once dreaded.  I still have bad days but overall it's improved immensely.  I have also bonded more intensely with friends that are the best support team (family) I could ever have hoped to have.  Letting my anxiety be known has improved my relationships.  It has helped me work better with other people, even ones that do not get it.  I am back to being a person that people look forward to seeing.  I know this because people light up in hallways when I see them.  Because all it takes is being kind and saying hello.  That's who I am and I lost that but I have it back now.  It took medication to remember who I am at my core.

If you are dealing with anxiety, depression, or any potential mental health issue go talk to your doctor.  Don't be afraid or ashamed like I was.  I wish I did this sooner.  They can help and it doesn't need to be by medication.

So I am happy again and I am looking towards being kinder to myself and treating myself better.  I am starting to take more care in my daily appearance.  This is something that faded due to harassment.  I am getting contacts again which will help tremendously.  I have been very calculated as to how and when I craft and what events I attend.  I am doing my best to not overwhelm myself and tire myself out.  I started hiking again.  Granted it was only one day but I will be back and I will make it for the more then 3 miles!   I got hived from walking.  It's an actual thing that happens to a lot of people!  I am going to try taking Benadryl before my next walk and see if it helps. 

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