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My Anxiety Story

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Most of you probably don't know but I have spent the last 3 years fighting the hardest battle of my life. It all started when I was still smoking pot. I noticed myself getting more and more paranoid, feeling "too high", and generally just being uncomfortable. Sometimes my tongue would feel too large for my mouth or I would think it was never going to go away. But these feeling stopped when I was sober, so I started going longer and longer without smoking. Then one day, while high, I became acutely aware of my rapid heart rate. Now while this is a perfectly normal side effect of weed, my brain kept to that I was having a heart attack. It took Jared nearly an hour to calm me down. I only declined from there.

What I had that night was a panic attack. Some people hyperventilate, some think they are having heart attacks, some think its a stroke, and the list goes on. But they are all plagued by a paralyzing fear of some form. My fears all just happened to revolve around me dying. Over the next few weeks, I began to have them when sober as well. Some lasted a minute or two, some hours. But each one made me legitimately feel like I was going to die. That's when Jared's dad explained panic attacks and generalized anxiety disorder to me. I wish I could say understanding what it was helped, but instead I got worse.

I went from a few a week to dozens a day quickly. I had to change my entire life around. I quit my job, I couldn't move out again, I got clean and sober, for a while I couldn't eat solid food, until eventually I couldn't even leave the house. I would have to sit on the floor of my shower with Jared in the room just in case. I was the most miserable I have ever been. I was taking 3-5 Xanax a day, freaking out about doing it each time because I was sure I was going to get addicted. But the paralyzing fear was too much to not take it. I honestly believed my life was going to stay in that bed and never change.

But eventually it did. Going to a holistic doctor, getting tapes with coaching techniques, cutting caffeine and MSG from my diet, and staying clean and mostly sober helped get me out of my bed and eventually coming close to being a normal functioning adult. I am so grateful for how far I have come.

Some nights, like tonight, I still have those attacks. I don't take care of myself as well as I once did, which had made it get worse. I know I need to get back on track but sometimes I was that coke with caffeine or I have that bag of hot Cheetos. I have my attacks, just as terrifyingly, when I drink too much and wake up super hung over. I have them when I drink a diet anything. I'm not better, and it frustrates me. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to handle and has made me entirely too aware of my own mortality. I don't think I would go back and change any part of it, because I learned more about my capabilities and my strength during those insane trials then any part of my life. But when I'm having the attacks I kind of want to.

Anyways, if you actually read this thanks for reading my story. I hope one day to be able to come back on here and say that I don't have them anymore. Maybe I'll get back to taking my health supplements, staying active, and cutting the bad food from my diet. I still hate my panic attacks more then anything in the world. The difference is now it's me holding myself back, and it's time for that to change. I can conquer this monster again, I just need to actually take care of myself.

Also if any of you are ever dealing with this kind of pain, and you need to talk to someone, I'm here. I know it's scary and you feel stupid and don't want to burden anyone, but you are not stupid or crazy. It is not your fault and I promise it does get better. Just don't ever give up.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I hear you. I got clean and sober (honestly one day at a time, by the grace of God) 29 years ago. I've often wondered whether the anxiety is an effect of the removal of all the chemicals or the reason I started drinking in the first place, what I was trying to quiet with the "stuff." It's wonderful to hear that you've decided to move on from that place, are recovering, and are finding all the strength, giftedness, and resolve you need to do that.

    It doesn't happen all at once, but there is progress to see along the way. It certainly sounds as if you've discovered and are using tools that work for you, and that you're open to helping others who are still feeling hurt and lost. Sometimes I think that's exactly why each of us has pain and challenge - so we can help others with similar problems.

    Be well - I'm so happy that I found you by "accident" (no, I don't believe in coincidences, either). :)
    emoticon Gail
    1844 days ago
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    1844 days ago
    Oh I know those panic attacks all too well. I know hat you go thru. It is a heavy burden to carry. I started using relaxation therapy many years ago and it helps wonderfully. I have to avoid stress as it puts me on edge. Thats a tough one as my job is high stress. Eating right and being active helps.

    I also write in a journal daily. I am also a worrier and was horrible back in the day. Over the years and with much practice and my journal I have gotten my worry down to a set 1/2 hour a day. It really helps me manage the anxiety.

    Sending hugs as I know this can be monumental to conquer. Hang tough Kiddo and stay vigalant. You can get this under control. Don't be afraid of the xanax either. I carry mine in my purse like a safety net. (the script had expired and I just recently had to get them replaced without using a one!! If you need someone to hold your hand I am always available.

    1844 days ago
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    1844 days ago
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