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.