Anxiety- It’s Not Just “In Your Head”

So I have some good news!

I was offered the chance to be a guest blogger for www.lifesjourneyblog.com. Chris Shea is a life-coach, who can help with various aspects of…well, your life! Be sure to check out his site.

When I visited Chris’ site, one of the first things I noticed is how ready he is to help you be successful and get your life where you want it to be. He helps with stress, anxiety, depression, life changes, goal-setting, etc. One word stood out in particular to me… anxiety.

“Ferb, I know what we’re going to do today…” (Kudos if you get that reference!)

Time to write about my FANTASTIC experience with anxiety… woo.

I have anxiety. It does run in my family, so I should have expected it (thanks a lot, genes!). Growing up, I felt that I wasn’t completely “normal.” -insert all the jokes about me being an “awkward weirdo” here- I mean, don’t get me wrong, I had a great childhood with a loving family, great friends, etc. But I noticed that I would act a bit differently than my friends. I was a “goody-two-shoes,” but to the point where I would cry and it would be a huge deal whenever someone was mad at me or I got in trouble. I had a lot of guilt over things that weren’t that big of a deal, in hindsight. One memory I have was from 2nd grade, telling my friend that a lunch lady was fat and having that friend go and tattle on me… then needing help getting my shoes tied and the only woman available WAS THE ONE I HAD INSULTED. I felt like such an awful person that that was one of my confessions at my first Holy Communion… Yeah, like I said, didn’t get in trouble often.

I was also a bit of a perfectionist, especially when it came to school. I would cry when I came home with a bad grade. I was a pretty sensitive child, I guess. But the thing is… I wasn’t forced to be a certain way- my parents expected me to try my best and work hard, but I wasn’t punished when I got a low score on a test or anything. I was just encouraged to improve however possible.

Once adulthood hit, the feelings started getting harder to handle. I was quick to have a temper, I had little to no patience, I was pretty emotional and on top of all that, I was starting to have physical panic attacks- shakiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, etc. I was then diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). More Info About Anxiety I tried various medications, which either made me feel numb to the world or just did nothing for me. I went to therapy for a few sessions, which I feel it did not personally help because I already would blab about my problems to anyone that would listen. But the anxiety was starting to affect the relationships in my life, so I had to figure out something.

I have a distinct memory back in early 2014. I was going on my first trip abroad (first time on a plane too!) to London with my college for 10 days. I LOVED this trip- but there were some things about it that I would’ve changed… like the fact that I wasted hundreds of dollars because I had a massive panic attack before seeing a show on West End with my friends. About what, you may ask? To this day, I don’t know exactly what set it off. The caffeine from my Starbucks drink? The temperature of the theatre making me feel sick? The feeling of suffering alone while my friends were all in the show? I’m not sure. All I know is that I had to go to the first aid station and explain to the hot British guy working there (one of the only positive parts of this debacle) that I was losing feeling in my pinkies and I thought I was going to pass out and vomit at the same time. He explained that there were no diseases or conditions that would be causing that and that it must be an anxiety attack. I had never had one that bad before in my life. I was brought to a VIP section where I had my own private bathroom and couch set-up. But I did not want to be alone, so I brought a friend from the trip who reluctantly went with me. I ended up paying for his ticket as well, since he missed the entire show with me. It was embarrassing and upsetting. I felt SO terrible, both physically and mentally.

That was one of a few main moments that forced me to get my anxiety under control. I started running and trying to eat better, but I would still have almost daily nausea and just a terrible feeling all the time. I got a blood test that came back completely normal. I knew there was nothing else wrong- it was truly my anxiety wreaking all this havoc on my body and mind. I decided to try a different kind of medication- Prozac. I am on the lowest dosage for right now and I honestly feel that it’s working pretty well. I rarely am feeling sick and I’m learning how to handle the anxiety better. Honestly, I’m sad I didn’t find this medication sooner and I am pretty grateful for having it now.

So, this was a relatively quick summary of my anxiety. I am open to talking about it more- I do not have shame for having anxiety. Everyone has SOMETHING they have to work through with themselves. Just because it may be “in your head” doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Please note: This is my personal story with anxiety. Everyone is different. Do not give up- sometimes, it requires a mix of lifestyle changes, medication and/or therapy.

If you need someone to talk to, go ahead and check out Chris’ site. Book a session with him. It’s a step towards getting your life back.

You only get one- make it worthwhile.

 

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