I am now & always have been what I call an anxiety girl. What I mean by this is that I, for so many years in my life, allowed my anxiety problem to run & control my life. Let me explain a little better.
For the first 30 or so years of my life I didn’t even know what was wrong with me. I researched insatiably for reasons that might explain my intense fear of EVERYTHING, allowing these fears to run the way I lived my life & found SO many ailments, both mental & physical that could explain these horrible things I was going through, which turned out to be SEVERE panic attacks, many different kinds, that constantly made me feel like I was dying.
I used to also be a serious hypochondriac, as a result of the crippling fears of most things that I had developed, due to my undiagnosed anxiety issue. It took until about 7 years ago that I was able to pinpoint my underlying issue. I had thought I was depressed, physically ill, SO many other things, but not having a complete understanding of anxiety, what it was or how it affected & eventually overtakes a person’s life to where IT controls YOU.
Since that time, I have learned SO much more about anxiety, but that didn’t keep me from continuing to give in to it. I just didn’t know any better. I spent more than one period of time in an agoraphobic lifestyle, not leaving the house if I could avoid it & when I did it brought such terrible anxiety & panic that I would usually take myself out of whatever situation I found myself in, work, social settings or just out taking a walk, so I could go back to my “safe place”, being whatever place I happened to call home at that time. I made up any excuse, no matter what it made me look like to others & believe me, it turned me into a very unpopular girl for a long time.
I still learn everyday new ways to cope & try to calm the anxiety. For all I know this is permanent, but I do still hold out hope that I can overcome this chokehold I continue to, although it’s much smaller now, be a reason in my life. I have to say that being an person without health care coverage hurts me tremendously, due to the fact that I can’t get the amount of help I could use to overcome these things that hold me back. I certainly don’t have the money it takes to see a physician regularly & I also believe that therapy helps a lot, but I can’t afford that either. It’s a viscous cycle for me & it frustrated me everyday, when I allow it to.
I have tried multiple “medications” to help me in shedding my fear, phobias, anxiety & panic attacks, which have, in some respect, allowed me to live more, to mix with others more comfortably & to secure a better job & lifestyle. The funny (ironic) thing about me finally giving in to these drugs is that I have, since the age of 17 (when I OD’d & had to fight to keep myself alive, because everyone around me REFUSED to help me or even just drop me off at a hospital) I have had a HUGE drug phobia. I guess sometimes we just reach a breaking point, where regardless of the phobias surrounding it, one has to turn to medications to see if it works.
I hope that in sharing this, it helps me to really face the reality that I may not allow anxiety to run my life, I do still allow it to be involved in it, my decision-making, my choices. I think it’s a lifelong learning experience & I do still hope to beat this.
I also have to say that of all the medications I have tried to help treat this, there is only one that truly controls my anxiety & allow me to be a more “normal” member of society, meaning it allows me to function better, interact with others, etc without the fear & desperate need to rush home, because the fear was screaming inside my head.
I will admit here that I do feel guilty at times for using Xanax to live my life outside of fear. I know exactly where this guilt comes from. It comes from losing SO many people to drug abuse. I feel if I am “relying” on a medication to bury the anxiety, I may not be any better or in a better place than the addicts in & around my life that I ride SO hard.
I don’t know….but I can say that I am tired of feeling guilt for using (not abusing) something that truly does help me get through each day better than anything else I have found. Still, though, I know SO many people struggle with addiction to this drug, hence the uncertainty & guilt.
I stated in another blog that there have been times in the years since I’ve started taking Xanax that I have used it as more of a crutch than a tool. I am fully aware of that & every time it happened I checked myself & cut the Xanax completely out of my life for weeks, just to get it out of me & see how well I can function. The sad reality of it is that I can’t live or cope as well when I’m off the stuff. That REALLY pisses me off. All I want is to feel normal, to cope better with life & all the pitfalls & disappointments that come with it. I would rather do that without the aid of drugs, but I may not ever be able to do that, but I always have hope.
I can’t even list here the bad experiences I have had with anxiety ruining my life, taking things away from me that I had worked SO hard to achieve & just flat-out FREAKED OUT in public settings. I have left my friends at concerts, couldn’t ride in cars for a time without the panic setting in, leaving work at different phases in my life due to almost debilitating anxiety. I have had panic attacks where I was certain I was about to die…fainting, having my legs just give out on me, not being able to breathe, throat closing, dizziness & light-headedness, you name the symptom, I’ve had it. What I wouldn’t give to get rid of all that. I don’t even know how many times in my life I have run to the nearest restroom to splash cold water on my face, just to help me start breathing again.
I have a lot to learn still, better coping mechanisms, better ways to breathe, as I am a shallow mouth-breather. This makes meditation difficult for me, as well as yoga & any calming or breathing exercises. This does not mean I am not willing to learn. I am. I have been on a journey of discovering practical & not medicinal ways of working through this challenge. I will continue to fight this, as hard as it is. I know I’m worth fighting for damn it, because I want to live happily for at least half the amount of difficult or bad years that I have. I don’t this to be all there is in my, I won’t accept it!
It feels SO good to get these things off my chest, as every step, every fear & issue I face, it brings me one step closer to living a fuller, happier life & that’s all I have ever wanted!