For me, my anxiety disorder is still relatively new in my life. I am not someone who has struggled with it for my entire life, not even for a few years. My anxiety came on suddenly less than a year ago. So why should I be offering any kind of advice to others on how to handle such debilitating feelings? It would be easiest to have total transparency with you; to share my story and my first experiences with this disease. Because if I am not honest with you, my reader, I would never expect you to respect any of the advice I truly hope you are able to gain as this blog progresses.
It is first important to know that it is not in my nature to ever become complacent where I am in life, in any aspect. I am a genuine, full fledged, over-planning, by-the-book, “Type A” perfectionist. This has been true for me since I left the womb, and I am fully aware of its pitfalls (although, to me, there are several benefits as well). So when I experienced my first panic attack about 6 months ago, I thought it was a fluke thing. I was mildly concerned, but at the time I wasn’t even sure that what I had just experienced was a panic attack because, as I said, it was my first one ever. I had nothing to compare it to. But when within a week of that first attack, I had already had three more, I knew something was wrong. And because of my personality, I immediately scheduled an appointment with my doctor to try to figure out what was going on.
Before I finally gotten in to my appointment I was regularly having about two panic attacks a week. I started living in a constant state of fear about when the next one would strike.
Flash forward another week and a half later, I was finally sitting in the waiting room at my doctor’s office waiting for my appointment to begin. As a ‘Type A’ person, I absolutely hate admitting there might be something “wrong or abnormal” about me, and I knew this appointment was going to make me feel extremely uncomfortable, so I asked my boyfriend to accompany me. Just as I was getting called to the back, my boyfriend texted me and told me he wouldn’t be able to make it because he was stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident on the highway. At that exact moment, I felt my body instantly get hot and tears started streaming out of my eyes. Attacks tend to manifest very differently from person to person, but I tend to get hot, I almost always start crying and hyperventilating, and I get this feeling as if I am detached from my own body. The nurse who was taking my vitals tried several times to take my blood pressure but couldn’t because I was too hysterical and it was causing my blood pressure to go through the roof.
It was like “Hi, I’m here to talk about my anxiety problems, in case you didn’t get that already.”
To make a very long story shorter, I left the office that day with a prescription for 10mg/day of Lexapro to help me feel better from day to day.
A month later I was back in her office because, I did finally feel a little better thanks to the medicine, but I still didn’t feel like the old ME. And I was still having regular panic attacks. That day I left with the highest allotted Lexapro dosage, a prescription for Klonopin to combat the attacks, and the suggestion that I start taking up regular physical activity.
But the most important thing I left with that day, is the knowledge that for whatever unknown reason, my brain stopped making its own Serotonin, which lead to my Anxiety Disorder.
Flash forward again to the present moment, of me finally opening up about a very under talked about mental disease, and experiencing a new understanding for myself and an appreciation for the new me. I may never be exactly like “the old me” ever again, but I finally realized that is OKAY.
This site is for anyone who wants to accompany me on this journey of self acceptance, of discovering better coping methods, and to help others realize that just because you can’t see the mental war that is constantly waging in our minds, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Hugs and positive vibes,