Wednesday, May 6, 2009

You Never Know When Anxiety Will Strike

There I was, sitting at my computer, getting some work done, surfing the net. Its a normal Wednesday morning and everything is just peachy. I get a phone call from my sister in law. She says, "I was hoping I could get you out of the house today!" and then invites me to go out to lunch with her and my mother in law and other sister in law and go shopping. It sounded like fun so I said sure. As soon as I hung up the phone, BAM! My anxiety had swung in from no where at full force. I knew I didn't have long to get ready so I ran up to take a shower. While in the shower I lost it. Literally lost it. I was trying to throw up to get it over with but I didn't. I was trying to figure out was set me off so bad and all I could think was that her comment about getting me out of the house probably made me subconsiously think, "Does she think I am a hermit? Am I that non social? Am I not normal?" These types of negative self talk can be so quick you don't even realize you are doing it unless you really stop to think about it.

So I get out of the shower not feeling any better about any of it. My husband is out of town so I am all alone trying to take care of my baby and get ready to go and not lose all control. I really had a hard time. My stomach hurt, but most of all, I was really just sad that it was happening again.

Its been so long since I have had this kind of panic, and I think the longer you go without an attack, the harder emotionally the next set back is. So I was doing the "Why Me?" "I hate this" pity party for myself all alone which only made it worse. So all morning I am crying and really struggling because I don't get it. I eat around these people all the time. They are my family and they love me. So why am I freaking out?

So I logged onto The Reality of Anxiety as I always do when I feel I am losing it and clicked on the post here to try to calm myself down. It calmed me down enough to where I could at least function and get ready to go.

Although I almost didn't go. I thought "it would be so much easier to just stay home and not deal with this today. I am already stressed out enough." I played around with that thought for awhile, thinking of how I would tell them I wasn't coming afterall.

But I know better. I know that if I would chicken out and not go because of the panic, then the next time they invite me out it would be that much harder to say yes. When we give into our fears, it only makes them bigger and scarier.

So I worked out a gameplan, cut out a little card with some affirmations from here, and said a prayer.

First off, I called my sister in law and told her I would be driving separate. That way, if I really needed an escape I could leave if I needed to. Just knowing that I wouldn't be trapped having to wait for someone else to take me home made me feel so much better. So I knew worse case scenario, I could leave.

Then I decided if we got to the restaraunt and I was too anxious, I just wouldn't eat anything. I can enjoy people's company and eat later when I am hungry.

So the moment I met up with my family the anxiety subsided a little. They are nice people who love me and I enjoy being around them. I ordered something light and was having a nice time. The food arrived and I took a bite and BAM! My neck started burning which is a 4- Marked Anxiety on my anxiety scale from 1-10.
So I waited for our waiter to come and asked for a box and I put my food away so I wouldn't have to smell it. My sister in law asked if everything was ok and I was just really honest about it, made it seem like it wasn't a big deal by just saying, "My anxiety is up today for some reason and I don't feel like eating it right now. I am going to box it up so I can eat it later." And that was the end of the story. After a few minutes I was able to calm down and enjoy the conversation again. The anxiety was there the whole time but much lower.

So what have I learned or found valuable from today's lesson?

  • You never know when anxiety will hit you. Its like a roller coaster. You can be cruising along doing just fine and it just takes the right trigger to set you off. So its good to always be prepared, or know how to get prepared. “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear”
  • I remembered that being honest is still so much easier than trying to hide it. If people know what is wrong then they aren't so suspiscious and they are understanding. Its a little embarrassing, but much less than it would be if I was puking all afternoon.
  • Setbacks are inevitable. Faisal left a comment on the last post saying:
"hey, i just started following this blog when i found out i have social anxiety. I'm trying to move past it but i dont know if it will go away. Will it?"
There are a lot of programs out there that say they can cure you. However it is my personal belief that anxiety is something that you will live with your whole life and you have to learn how to manage it so that its not as life consuming as it may feel. But as I mentioned above setbacks are lessons to me. There is always something to learn from a setback and that is where you do the most growing as a person. So try to learn from it and let it teach you, but not control you.

Today I had a really bad, crappy morning. And that sucks. But two years ago, every morning was a bad morning. So there are was to make your life better. Meditation, medication, and deep reflective thought into what you are telling yourself to make you feel anxious are a few things you could look into. But cureable? I am not so sure.


Anxiety Girl said...

Good for you on so many levels - you went anyways & didn't avoid and you were up front with your family. That can be so hard to do when those waves of adrenaline are coming! I like that quote from Dave Carbonell that says - do what will make you feel proud 4 hours from now. Great job.

Anonymous said...

ooooooo, hang in there, girl.

Don't be hard on yourself.
And let me contribute two important notes:
How old is your baby? Hormones can really swing post-partum. Way post-partum.

I also found that when my children were little, my anxiety was way heightened for many different things. I never had anxiety until I had kids. Now they are 17 and 14 and the anxiety only shows up on rare occasion. Being a mom is hard work, and hopefully as your responsibilities lessen your anxiety will too.

Smart girl for learning all the coping mechanisms you have, and thank you for sharing them.

I hadn't flown for 18 years - and went to Mexico comfortably this past November - partly in thanks to reading your blog - and with a little help from small doses of xanax. I was able to remind myself that the feeling was just uncomfortable but not harmful, and I owe that to you. Thanks! Hang in there and keep healing.

Faysal awadallah said...

thanks for that, i just got a prescription to prozac. Should i really take this step?

Aimée said...

Thanks Anxiety Girl and Anonymous! I appreciate the support.


Medication can be really tricky. For me, the daily meds (Zoloft) did nothing for me but the Clonozapam that I could take when I felt anxiety coming on was a lifesaver. I haven't been on it for a couple years now and its been ok. You have to figure out what works best for you. Some medications might not work out but that doesn't mean you should give up on it. You just have to find what prescription and what dosage works for you. If you feel that anxiety is effecting you on a daily basis or really effecting your general happiness in life, I would say try the medication. If your anxiety is only a once in awhile thing that's more of an annoyance, maybe you don't need medication and you can try other ways to manage your anxiety. But don't let anyone tell you (besides doctors of course) what you should or shouldn't do. You know your body and mind better than anyone and only you can make the best decision for yourself.
Hope that is helpful!

Anonymous said...

If you are a victim of minor depression, it is possible for you to get rid of it with little effort but once you fall prey to serious depression, it may become altogether impossible to tackle this disorder without opting for medications. And among the medicines available in the market to treat depression, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, Xanax and Zoloft are highly popular.

how to deal with anxiety said...

Anxiety strikes only when you let your emotions get heavy on you. Some natural anxiety remedies to look into are St.John's Wort, SAMe, L-Theanine, and Tryptophan. There's also cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and programs like Panic Away and The Linden Method, to name a few. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

I like to remind myself how utterly strong and brave a suffer of anxiety face the situation despite the crippling fear that would have most people running for the hills! it takes a very brave person to do that.

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