I am not sure where to begin with this. This post has been a long time coming. I spend a lot of time blogging about funny and odd experiences, riddled with sarcasm. I spend even more time laughing at myself. More so than those things, I have felt myself losing who I was to the monster in my closet. Anxiety.
Anxiety. It doesn’t really sound so bad does it? The name itself I mean. It’s not like it’s called something scary like: “Makeyoufeellikeyouaredyingitis.” Well, that’s what it should be called because Anxiety is a Monster and I am cleaning out my closet.
I can’t pin point exactly when or how it started. I have some OCD behaviours mixed in with the mess that is my mental health and so, I am unsure where that all started.
I am sure that it has been a life long thing in fits and starts though and it sure has had a while to develop into the consuming monster it is today.
When I was a lot younger I had separation anxiety from my parents, I remember being 9 or 10 and going to visit my Nanny at her farm house. I remember throwing up and crying all night when I stayed over. In fact, I remember spending a lot of time throwing up through out my childhood. Could there be a correlation there? Maybe.
Fast forward a few years to when I was a young adult living on my own, and I was constantly at the doctors for one ailment or another. Constantly “sick.” Eventually I started having a fear of ridiculous things like Chemicals. I was terrified that if I used them to clean, I would somehow inhale them and die, or get them in my mouth and die. Lots of “What ifs” consumed my life.
I didn’t SEE the problem though. I laughed it off and went about my life.
Over the years I changed. I changed from an outgoing person to a more dumbed down version of myself. The “What ifs” got worse. I was afraid I would say something stupid. I was afraid I would look stupid. Most of all, I was afraid that I just was… stupid. I hid behind a smile, all the while my internal dialogue had me convinced that I should be terrified. Of what? I still don’t know.
The Anxiety Hit me… Hard
The first time I had an anxiety attack I was convinced that I was dieing. I was alone in this dark hole, my heart was beating so fast I thought it was going to fall out of my chest. My face felt like someone was holding it tightly in between their hands and I couldn’t catch my breath. I still have no idea what brought it on.. I was home. Alone. analyzing everything I had said and done that day, terrified I had offended someone as usual…. that was most likely the trigger.
The Happiness wasn’t obsolete
I married my high school sweetheart, had children and was happier than I have ever been. It felt like maybe that internal dialouge was a thing of the passed. Perhaps I was cured by tiny fingers and toes, baby coes and gas smiles!
It didn’t take long for it to all go back to the way it was before.. except this time I was sleep deprived on top of it.
It’s not that I am unhappy…
I am happy. I have a great life. That doesn’t make the anxiety go away.
For so long I have had myself convinced that I was winning the war that was my anxiety. The smile and jokes can be quite convincing, but they never convinced my anxiety to go away. It just got louder. I wasn’t beating it. I was hiding from it. It was winning.
I never openly talked about it with anyone other than my husband and my Aunt. I have had anxiety attacks in public that sent me into a tailspin of fake smiles and almost manic behaviours trying to mask it. I wasn’t winning. I was hiding. Huge difference.
I have recently spoken to a few other people about my struggles and the support has been phenomenal.
Part of my Anxiety and OCD is that I fear taking medication. I really don’t even take Advil. The idea of taking medication for anything else, scares me terribly and so I have not brought this up to my doctor often.
A lot of the time, I can’t turn my mind off. “What if” “I need to..” I can’t shut it off. It’s exhausting. I am constantly worried that I am going to upset someone and even if something is going well, I get to feeling: “Did I say something stupid?”, “Is this person going to hate me?” The possibility of doing something out of my comfort zone makes my stomach feel sick, my heart starts beating fast, my head spins… and so I have been doing my best to stay within my limits.
I also have rituals. My house can’t be too dirty or disorganized or I start to feel incredibly overwhelmed. Before I go to bed, I HAVE to have everything set up and laid out for the next day or I can’t sleep until it’s done.
My head is constantly spinning..
I haven’t been living. I have been functioning. Barely.
I am tired of hiding. I am exhausted from pretending and I am ready to make a change.
Do you Struggle with Anxiety or Mental Illness?