I have anxiety

If I am going to post every day for a whole month, lets be honest, it is going to get personal. (Did you hear I am doing NaBloPoMo? Anyway…)

First off, sorry to any real life friends or family members who I have not talked to directly about this. I love you all, but sometimes I am better at writing then talking. I know, hard to believe with how much I talk, but it is the truth.

Here goes.

I have anxiety.

I have always had anxiety. But recently it has gotten a lot worse.

I remember when I was in junior high and high school I used to (I still do sometimes) get big red hives on my neck when I was nervous. I did okay, I managed it. Other then getting teased about having a hickey…… that was fun (insert sarcasm).

I used to go through conversations with people in my head over and over again anxiously. And I remember always feeling that bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, terrified that I might have said something wrong the day before and I when I arrived at school that day everyone would hate me. You know, typical teenager stuff. I managed.

In university I started to get weird about crowds. I hated class change with everyone elbowing each other to get to class through packed narrow hallways. It made me nervous. But I got through. I remember having mild anxiety over all sorts of things, but again, mild.

But you know, big crowded places- so not my thing.  Super loud movies with a packed theater, crowded malls, concerts, The Calgary Stampede, so not my thing. I started to get mild anxiety attacks. Really, it was just an intense feeling that something was wrong and I had to get out. I need to shut out the world and all the noise and people and stimulation for a while. I would get really grumpy. But, as soon as I got out and had some space I was fine. And really, I didn’t find much redeeming about these crowded situations, so avoiding them? No big deal.

And then I had Audrey. I am sure, now, looking back that I had mild to moderate postpartum. But I managed. Good supportive family. Good supportive husband. And blogging therapy. A baby that slept. I managed. I knew it would get better.

But a couple months ago I started getting anxiety attacks for no reason. In August, while I was on vacation, they woke me up in the middle of the night. I gather that everyone’s experience of an anxiety attack is different, but the best way I can describe mine is that my “flight” instinct goes into overdrive- I am convinced that SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG but I have no idea what. I feel like I need to escape it but I have no idea how. My back tenses up. I feel sick to my stomach. My mind goes a mild a minute and I can’t concentrate. It feels like my skin is crawling. It sucks. Like a lot, a lot.

Then I started getting them at work. That was when I knew I was in real trouble. It was just so weird. I was used to my anxiety having a clear, identifiable cause– big crowds, sometimes awkward social situations. That’s it. So if I started to feel anxious, I had something I could ‘fix’ and voila- anxiety gone. But now I had no identifiable cause, no thing to ‘fix’, just long, uncomfortable anxiety attacks.

I tell you because when it comes to mental illness (any illness really) I believe it is important to share our stories.

Tomorrow I want to talk to you all about my experience from point of ‘oh my gosh I need to do something about this’ to, well, now. And my thoughts about our approach to mental health in general. But I think I have shared enough for today.

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8 responses to “I have anxiety

  1. Ironic Mom November 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I feel for you. I’ve battled anxiety – only intermittently, thankfully, but I know what it can be like. And sharing does help…

  2. Megan November 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I can so relate to this. I don’t think my “attacks” are really all that bad, and they don’t seem as severe as yours, but my husband can attest to the fact that he has heard me tell him I’m nervous without a discernible cause on MANY an occasion.

    I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post. Hope you’re doing okay over there.

  3. Brooke November 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I have anxiety related to Lyme… and then just anxiety related to being me. I feel for you. I am currently on a low dose of xanax everyday, which also happens to really help my dizziness. I hope you can find something that helps.

  4. Perpetua November 10, 2010 at 7:48 am

    I am so, so glad you shared, because a lot of us are going through the same thing (including me). Like you, I went from basically ok to having pretty bad attacks after E was born. I finally had to opt for meds. Maybe I should post about this on my own blog, out of solidarity?

    Anyway, sharing is good. I hope you’re feeling okay. I’m looking forward to reading more of the story.

  5. Jocelyn November 10, 2010 at 9:03 am

    This was a very brave post and as you can see from your comments you are not alone. As you say it is better to share than to keep it in.

  6. Lisa Sunbury November 10, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Thank you for a sharing something so personal , in such a straightforward, honest way. It takes courage to get real about what’s going on with you. By the way, I totally resonate with what you said about writing being easier than talking.You are not alone. By sharing your experience you are helping others who suffer as well. I look forward to reading more about your experiences, and what has helped you to manage.

  7. amoment2think November 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you everyone for your support. Really. Thank you.

    And I am so sorry to hear that is sounds like a lot of us in our little blogging community are struggling with this. But sharing and solidarity helps. A lot. Thank you.

  8. Pingback: NaBloPoMo; So long, farewell… |

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