I am writing this blog to describe my personal accounts with anxiety, as I have found reading about others’ struggles with anxiety/depression to be helpful and encouraging, as sometimes having anxiety or depression can feel isolating and like you’re the only one who is struggling to make your way to the other side (aka peace of mind). This blog is for those who have “come out of the closet” with their “common cold” mental health struggles fully knowing stigma rocks will continue to be hurled and many who read this won’t “get it” at all. I am hoping to pay it forward if you may and be a voice of encouragement. I am hoping someone will read what I have to share and know they are not alone in how they feel. I am not looking for sympathy or pity, but I am looking for some understanding from those who are blessed enough to not be able to relate to what I am saying; consider yourselves lucky. You can have a brilliant mind and suffer from anxiety; you can be well educated, you can be wealthier than Richie Rich, you can have mad skills, you can be a celebrity, you can be an athlete, you can be supremely beautiful and God’s gift to women or men; anxiety/depression does not discriminate. Depression lies and anxiety steals, but the grand old tag team will recruit anyone, and they can choose you at any point in your life. Today, I specifically want to talk about acute anxiety.
From time to time, I suffer from acute anxiety and it is pure hell on earth. Normal for me, is just being anxious and worrying about everything possible in my life, but it is organized worry and I feel pretty okay just worrying about everything all the time.
Acute anxiety to me is intense, scrambled worries where they all blend in together, vibrating at a high frequency in my mind bouncing around like a pinball machine with a hundred balls and just as many traps; the thoughts are endless and seamless.
It is hard to put into words how acute anxiety feels, but let’s say if you were waiting for the results of a biopsy and you were called in shortly after having it done, you may assume it is bad news and your anxiety would be very high, in those moments in the waiting room, waiting for your name to be called to receive the news while being fearful it is bad news, and every cell in your body is full of fear and trepidation, THIS is how I feel, but all the time.
Acute Anxiety is excruciatingly painful, and awesomely invisible. I can smile, I can act, and I can go to work and be productive; work is my greatest distractor from anxiety as it allows me to focus on something outside of my worries, but the feeling in the pit of my stomach that something awful is going to happen is still there. If I had to pinpoint one cause for the anxiety, I would not be able to say as sometimes it comes without any explanation or tangible reason. The anxiety comes as it pleases and it will haunt me 24/7 until it decides to leave. It can leave me as mysteriously as it attacks me.
I can go to bed early, or I can go to bed late, but regardless of the time, it usually takes me two hours to fall asleep and it isn’t a deep slumber when I do sleep. If I am able to sleep for more than five hours, it is a good night. Sometimes, I lay in bed stressing about not being able to fall asleep and then I begin to become more anxious as I check each hour on the clock and calculate how many hours I have left to sleep before I have to wake up and go to work and pretend I am happy and “normal”. Acute anxiety impacts my appetite, where I lose my appetite (only good thing is I usually lose some weight), and even favorite foods don’t taste very good, as I am so worked up, it is to a point where I am eating for the sake of fueling my body, pleasure is absent from the occasion. Sometimes the anxiety becomes so great I have to run to a washroom to vomit, which is also a deterrent from eating at times. Feeling this level of intensity is not normal, but it is more common than you know and globally it is on the rise.
It doesn’t matter how many hours I pray, or meditate although praying and meditation does help when I am able to hold the concentration to do so. I try to work out daily and break a sweat creating those happy endorphins, and this helps. I listen to relaxing music designed to reduce stress, and this helps too, sometimes it is the only way I can fall asleep at night. I try to talk it out, I talk to my fiancé about what my concerns are, and he is good at grounding me, but come the following day the anxiety can peak again. I just bought an exercise book which I am hopeful will help me obtain some cognitive behavioural skills to reduce my anxiety, I will let you know how it works.
I am not having panic attacks, although I do know this does happen to others and I cannot imagine the fear and pain which would cause one to have such a panic attack. I just feel amped in a negative way, anticipating stepping on some sort of land mine or some sort of bomb being dropped on me.
Presently, I am going through an acute anxiety episode which also prompted me to write about it as I am living it out now, I haven’t had this level of anxiety happen to me in years. I suspect it was triggered by my Dad being hospitalized two weeks ago, and seeing him in a delirious state as he was running a fever from an infection. I am extremely close to both of my parents who are elderly, and I am trying to face the reality that I won’t have them forever. I am not dealing very well with this impending change. There are life changing events which are in various stages of waiting too, and it will be like a domino effect once one happens as one will cause and affect another to happen. There are no timelines I can impact. I am a planner and a doer, and I like to move things along, and these circumstances are beyond my control, unless I want to pull out, but by pulling out, I won’t be living a life which will afford me more opportunities and joy, so I choose the discomfort. Lack of control and unknowns are something we all have to face, but for me it is beyond painful.
I know logically I shouldn’t feel this way, I know logically this feeling of dread, fear, lack of control, and being amped to high alert will pass, but my body physically and my mind mentally still feel like something horrible is going to happen. I can tell myself “que sera sera” a million times, and no one is able to control everything in their lives, and everyone goes through times of uncertainty, but it doesn’t help. It is beyond frustrating to logically know that how I am feeling is utterly ridiculous, and why can’t I feel normal, why can’t I be normal? Why can’t I just be positive and grateful for all the blessings in life.
Logic doesn’t care.
Peace & love – Rachel