I’ve been thinking about anxiety lately. More specifically, how it relates to me.
Before I started exorcising my depression demons it was so overwhelming that I never gave a thought to the part that anxiety played in the whole deal. Even now, I’m just starting to explore that side of my … okay, let’s take a short detour here: I didn’t know what words to use there and writing “mental illness” felt wrong. I was trying to think of any words other than those for two reasons:
1. I don’t want people to think that’s all I am and that they should feel bad for me.
2. I feel as though by saying “mental illness” that it weakens me. But eff that! Eff it all!! Let’s do this right, and be proud and own it! Here we go…
Before I started exorcising my depression demons, it was so overwhelming that I never gave a thought to the part that anxiety played in the whole deal. Even now, I’m just starting to explore that side of my mental illness (eff you world!). I would tell people that I don’t go out a lot because of social anxiety, but I was always being sort of half serious. The weird part is, I think I’m right.
It’s not crippling anxiety and I think that’s why I never truly acknowledged it. I have a sort of “stage fright anxiety”. If I have to go out and do something I get all wound up thinking about it and I get grumpy. But once I’m there I’m usually fine. Usually. There are always exceptions.
I’m not good with changing plans either. I need to mentally prepare for what I’m doing and if it changes I freak out slightly. Just slightly. Normally that means I end up being rude to someone. I would guess that someone is usually Eric. Poor Eric. He’s a Saint!
Last weekend my mom reminded me that when I was a kid I would always get sick if there was an exciting event coming up. I figured it was just bad luck. It’s hard to think of little kid me having anxiety! Sometimes I want to go back in time and give kid me a hug and tell her it gets better. She was so lonely and confused. But that’s another story!
I don’t have crazy panic attacks where I have to curl up in a ball and hide, but I recently recalled an episode I had years ago, which I will call my “non-panic panic attack”.
I was at work, changing lives, and all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe. I used my puffer, but it didn’t help and I started to freak out a bit. I went into the bathroom and called my boyfriend, who told me to breathe. Not helpful. This was not Eric. I feel I should make that clear. Eric is a Saint.
I ended up going to a walk-in clinic near my work. By the time I got in to see a doctor I was okay. The appointment went something like this:
Doctor: It sounds like you had a panic attack.
Me: No. I don’t have those.
Doctor: Sometimes they occur when you’re worrying about something, or you’re feeling stressed.
Me: I’m not stressed about anything.
Doctor: Sometimes you don’t realize you are until you have a panic attack.
Doctor: I’ll prescribe you these pills that will help you calm down. They might make you drowsy.
Me: But I don’t have panic attacks.
Doctor: Take this prescription and get out.
I went home and took a pill and had a nice nap on the couch. I never actually thought it was a panic attack. Perhaps it was. It wasn’t debilitating, but it did freak me out. I never went to my regular doctor to discuss it. I probably should have.
When I review my life with this in mind there are other instances I can think of where the same thing happened. So many revelations lately! Depression and anxiety! Who’s the luckiest girl in the world?
There seriously needs to be a font that indicates sarcasm. Maybe I’ll invent one.
By the way … today I’m winning!