Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Anxiety or something like it...

It actually took me a number of years to fully realize that I am a type 1 insulin dependant diabetic. Crazy right? I mean I was injecting myself with insulin, you’d think it was pretty apparent. It was years before I could figure out that I was suffering with Celiac disease. Subsequently, it took me many years to become aware and admit that I have an anxiety disorder or to say I suffer from depression. I mean yeah there comes a time in everybody’s lives where they can legitimately say they are depressed or anxious. I just never thought of myself as someone who dealt with these things on a constant basis. It wasn’t for fear of the stigma surrounding mental disorders. I have never been ashamed of who I am or what I am dealt. It was just one of those things I was never able to fully see in myself.

It only seems appropriate to link a pic from Hyperbole and a Half because that blog is, in essence, anxiety.

I would get anxiety from time to time but I didn’t know that all those times I thought I was just “not well” was actually my anxiety. Those times I struggled to make basic decisions, that was depression. These things don’t manifest themselves in the stereotypical way that we are made to believe. So when the time came and I went on drugs, I had no idea what life was like without the anxiety and depression. The drugs were pretty glorious. They made me impervious to outside stress factors. Nothing really bothered me and I was able to go with the flow long enough to put the pieces of my life back together. 

Unfortunately with things like that it also allowed me a reprieve from myself long enough to see what I was truly dealing with. Without the constant anxiety and panic attacks I knew it was not normal. Then a number of months (almost a year now) ago I started trying to fix myself by weaning off the drugs. 

What have I learned?
How do I really explain my anxiety?
Where does my anxiety come from?

It’s like an irrational fear of nothing. It’s a general discomfort with myself and my surroundings. It goes so deep for me I could probably write a library about it. I should probably change my blog tag line to "Sentimental Diabetic & Anxiety oh-fuck-this-is-too-much-for-me". 

It’s usually people and planning that I can’t handle. It’s true. I don’t really like people. I mean, I LIKE people but being around them is hard. I feel like my brain is going to explode if I am in a crowd or a busy place. I can handle it but only for a short time. I’ve learned that I’m very introverted. Associating with people wears me out. Socializing is murder on my anxiety and then I have to escape it. My anxiety builds. I get fidgety. I rip my fingers apart. It’s like nail biting but worse. I get very sweaty and uncomfortable. I get nauseous more than my usual all-the-time affliction. It's why I often disappear from the blog world.

If I am put in a position of planning I struggle to manage the stress. Every thing is overwhelming to me to the point where I find none of it worth it and then there is little to no enjoyment for me. That’s why we had a tiny little Thursday evening wedding. It was simple and no-nonsense because that’s all I can handle.

Over the years I’ve learned to say “no”. I don’t want to hang out with people when I’m not able to. If it puts me in a position of anxiety, it sucks, but I’ll decline. I don’t care what people think anymore. It’s for the betterment of my head. People rarely understand and it’s hard for me to explain. “Yeah I’m not coming out tonight because I just don’t want to.” Doesn’t always fly.

Public places often drive my anxieties to it’s upper limits. I get overwhelmed with seeing things. Lights, sounds, people, commotion and smells are simply TOO much. Put it this way, I’d rather die than go to a mall at Christmas time. Sure many people say that but I actually mean it. I would chew the inside of my lips apart, have a migraine and probably try to claw my own hands off.

When I get completely overwhelmed with anxiety I shut down. I curl up in a ball and find a quiet corner because I feel sick. You’ll rarely see me without my car because it’s my escape, my freedom. I will lose my mind if I feel “stuck” in any way.

Bike racing has been a huge source of anxiety for me that I’ve been working with. So there’s that also…

I tried reducing my meds and got close to being off them entirely but after many months I was still crippled with anxiety so I had to go back up to a minimal dose. I think I know now that I’ll probably never be drug free and I’m okay with that. This was an experiment I needed to do. A reality check of what I’m dealing with. I could probably stand to be on a higher dose, life WAS much more easy to deal with when I was. I’ve also learned its all a process. I have to take it one day at a time and when I need to back off from things I will. I’d like to try and manage it than mask it with drugs because the side effects were almost worse than the advantages of being on them.

... all the time.
I can say it now, I have an Anxiety Disorder.


  1. Scully, I totally support you no matter what. You are very brave to talk about it.

  2. Bravo!! Thanks for posting and shedding some light on Anxiety for me.

  3. Thanks, Scully. Just shared this link with someone very close to me who also lives with anxiety. I definitely have some version of anxiety, but it is not constant. I can relate to needing to feel "in control" and having an escape route. However, I also get massive anxiety if I feel I'm too isolated (i.e. your mall at x-mas is my remote camping trip).

  4. Wow. You are like me in a lot of ways. I have major anxiety, and although I take medication, I still have yet to be 'okay' with the fact that I have it. I hate that I have it. I hate that I cannot control my thoughts. Most of the time, my anxiety comes out in racing thoughts form. I will be anxious over nothing. People and crowds don't bother me much, but small groups of people can sometimes make me anxious. I wish I knew my triggers better, but hopefully, with time, I will. A lot of what you described hit home for me, so I wanted to tell you, I understand.

    1. Thank you. :)
      It's interesting how anxiety manifests itself in different people

  5. <3 I love how you write.

    It's not about me, but I'm totally with you on the not liking to be around people too much.

  6. Such a real and raw post, thanks for sharing. As someone who suffers with anxiety and depression, and is medicated, I can understand a lot of how you feel. I also tried to totally wean off my meds and life got really rough. I have gone back on them but at a much smaller dose. Living with anxiety and depression is a hard battle to fight.

  7. It really liked your post. We have many similarities and the way you described the different scenarios that cause you anxiety, week, I just really related to all of it. I don't know if auto-immune cause anxiety or just exacerbate it, but mine has gotten much worse since getting T1 and celiac. Hang in there girl, you are not alone.


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