Living with anxiety – part 1

Living with anxiety

I know it seems off topic, but I would like to make some of the posts a bit more serious, because there’s more to every story and there’s more to each and everyone of us.
I would like to talk to you about something that is my everyday reality: I live with anxiety disorder and agoraphobia. I was struggling with panic attacks since childhood, but in recent years, anxiety really took its toll on me. I am unable to work ( I work from home, which has impact on our finances), I’m unable to go outside alone, I only go to certain places, during certain time of the day (I don’t do crowds at all!).

So how is it to live with anxiety disorder on a daily basis?

Sometimes all you feel is overwhelming fear. You are all fear. For example: you are standing in the middle of the mall with unreality feeling:’ Am I really here? How can I stop feeling this fear? Can I just disappear, please?’.

Sometimes, you wake up every time your mind slows down and tries to fall asleep & you feel electricity shock going through your body. It’s exhausting, your heart is racing, you are starting to be scared of falling asleep. It’s like a torture. You feel so exhausted in the morning, that all you think about is sleeping (wherever, whenever- just sleep).

You feel ashamed in public. You feel that everyone is watching you or making fun of you.
Sometimes it’s just the feeling I have, but sometimes people really look at me when I’m shaking heavily or have difficulty breathing.

To make it more understandable for people that don’t have anxiety disorder, here are two links to very interesting videos. Seeing through the eyes of a person that struggles with anxiety disorder:

Video 1

Video 2

So how do I cope with all this?
Well, sometimes it feels like I don’t cope at all!

Things I’ve tried:
– anxiety medication/antidepressants (sertraline, fluoxetine), herbs: St John’s wort and herbal sleeping pills, beta blockers (propranolol)
– exposure therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy)

Both, with very moderate success and one (antidepressants) with some health repercussions (bleeding, rashes, acting manic).

meme

The thing is, I never really had depression. But I know, it often goes together and it’s treated by the same group of medications. As for now, I find beta blocker the most helpful of the bunch.

Things I do to keep me sane :

I keep people informed. I talk about it. That’s the hard one, because you don’t feel like talking about it. That was the biggest mistake I made, when everything started to go downhill! I was ashamed to talk about my anxiety and people didn’t understand what in the world was happening to me. You might find it difficult to talk about these things even with your family and friends ( I know I did). Maybe try to show them videos above. Add some stories from your own experience. Describe what is going through your mind when it’s happening and how your body responds. Use examples people can relate to: it’s like having a fever ( hot/cold flashes), you feel that you are going to faint in the middle of the street, you feel all the voices around you louder and weirder ( like in a horror movie), etc.

I try to live as ‘normally’ as I can. I use every chance possible to live as ‘normally’ as I can. When I’m feeling good, I go shopping or hiking with hubbs, I do chores, I go to the cinema (that’s the hard one!).

I don’t give up. Good thing about anxiety disorder is that it is reversible! Your situation/mood can improve very quickly. No matter how hard you have today, next day can be (and probably will be) better. In 3 years time this disorder can be a distant memory. With anxiety there’s always hope!

 x3 : try, don’t give up, talk

x 3 - anxiety

 

The most important thing:

You might think that you don’t have it together, but your story, perspective and advice may help someone. It may make them feel less alone. We are stronger in the group! Your personal experience with anxiety is precious, please don’t be afraid to share it!

Please, share your thoughts in the comments. Ask me anything! Point out important issues I didn’t cover.

Stay tuned for tips & tricks I found useful during the worst moments .

xx

mila

Pinterest anxiety  board

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or health professional. Please, always seek help from health professionals.

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32 thoughts on “Living with anxiety – part 1

  1. Don’t know if what I suffer is anxiety but could very well be. I have hard time fitting in with people, feel like they’d rather I wasn’t around. Don’t know how to talk to people, seem to say wrong things. Have hard time being around women my own age (will be 75 in July). They seem to be so sure of themselves, don’t want to make new friends, just my feeling about being around them. I go thru streaks when it seems worse than others. Just like to stay home and do what I enjoy, being on here reading blog posts and doing my crafts, keeping house clean. Know that won’t help get over feelings of inadequacy but it’s more peaceful, don’t feel exposed. Have suffered with this feeling seems most of my life. I have times of severe anger and tend to scream and holler. My kids tell me how awful I was when they were growing up, two of them won’t have anything to do with me. That hurts a lot. I’ve tried to explain but they say am making excuses.
    When I’m feeling good about life I’m quite animated, have fun, laugh,share ideas about things I learn on blogs. Do have some good friends have had for many years. It’s hard to know what to do. I was raised to think everybody else’s happiness and rights were more important than mine. Also that I was almost retarded, slow. Was born without thyroid working and do have some health problems related to it, one of them depression.
    Have been taking thyroid most of my life and also take generic Paxil, aka Paroxetine, 40mg.
    I Hope you get relief soon and can deal with life better, it’s not fun is it? So many people think you can just turn it off when you want to. Even my own kids feel that way, except for oldest son. I’ve read it’s an actual brain disease. How do you change that or turn it off? Many happy days to you.

    • The saddest thing is that people often think you’re plain rude towards them or (as you mentioned) you’re just making excuses.
      So many people suffer from Asperger syndrome, bipolar disorder, social anxiety and don’t even realize it. After a while they start to believe that they are bad people and that’s what saddens me the most!
      I hope you’ll be able to find some relief and convince your kids that’s a disease. This comparison seems harsh but people wouldn’t ask someone with cancer to “turn it off”, wouldn’t they? It’s always worth to try change people’s perspective! Thanks for visiting & the support!
      Hugs,
      Mila

  2. Mila thanks for informative and honest share. What better way to start a conversation, teach, learn or support when we also touch on serious matters. Blogging is such an awesome platform why not use its great power…thank you.

  3. I also suffer from anxiety, though I certainly do not have the depression either. I struggled for a really long time even recognizing that I had anxiety and even getting a doctor to realize it. However since I have realized it and began treating it I finally found treatment, but it wasn’t after trying a handful of medications. I hope you are able to find something that helps you.

  4. I also have panic attacks. Luckily I get to work from home too, I wouldn’t do very well working in the outside world.

    It is hard to explain to people that have never had an attack how crippling that it is.
    Jo Stone recently posted…Birdhouse RemodelingMy Profile

  5. At one point in my life I was on high dose birth control pills and I developed agoraphobia, because they created a drain on my…vitamin B6, I think it was. For reasons I won’t go into here, I can’t take B vitamin supplements, which probably would have fixed the problem. My doctor took me off the birth control pills and within a month or so, I was feeling a lot better. I suppose you’ve had all sorts of bloodwork done over the years?

    • Yes, I’ve had. I’m healthy. But it’s always worth it to check out the blood first. Glad to hear that doctors quickly found what was the problem in your case!
      Hugs,
      Mila

  6. Thank God I don’t have Anxiety Disorder, per se, but I have suffered from Panic Attack Disorder and depression most of my life!! When I was younger, in my early 20’s, in the 1980’s, no one knew very much about Panic Attacks, so I self medicated by drinking alcohol. My Panic Attacks were so bad that I would end up in the ER having the EXACT SAME SYMPTOMS of a heart attack. It was a living hell!!! Then, I stopped drinking. My Panic Attacks just got worse until I finally was willing to try an anti-depressant. I went through a few medications before I found one that really worked well for me. But, I still had Panic Attacks. I was on Xanax for years and it was the hardest medication I’ve ever had to get off of. I also got my spine punctured during my second C-Section. I developed a debilitating back pain and nerve damage. I also had the worst marriage to a cop, who abused me severely. I am happily divorced, but I still have nightmares about him coming at me to kill me and in my nightmares he’s like a person that is possessed by Satan. 2 years ago I found out that I am deathly allergic to flu shots and I had a full on seizure. I now am on a good anti-depressant and clonazepam, which is an anti-seizure drug and also helps me not have any Panic Attacks. It is a lot safer than Xanax. I now have severe neck injury from when I was married he had dropped me on my head onto a hardwood flooring. I have to have physical therapy for my neck and I am in severe pain and also on pain management. The best thing that I ever did was tell all my doctors and surgeons what happened to me in the past. I have a wonderful team of a female doctor and a female pain management worker. These women are really awesome!! It was hard telling them what happened to me, but your doctors really need to know you if they are going to help you!! Women tend to blame themselves for abuse which is absurd, but we do!! I also had another seizure taking Tamiflu, so I have to be very careful what I take. My doctor told me to NEVER take TAMIFLU again! She says it causes seizures, too. I can not stress how important it is to have doctors that you trust and tell them what you go through and tell them your nightmares. You will not be treated like a crazy person!! We ARE NOT CRAZY! Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks are unfortunately part of this crazy world and how our individual brains re-wire themselves to cope. Getting on the right medication for you is very important, too as well as getting the right diagnosis. I was properly diagnosed by a great therapists. I’ve had therapists try and tell me I am bi-polar, but I am not bi-polar. I’ve never had a manic moment in my life. If they argue with you and you just KNOW that’s not you, leave, and find someone else. My best friend and support system is my partner. He has severe and chronic PTSD from Viet Nam. You would think that we wouldn’t go together, but he knows EXACTLY what I’m going through. Basically, I react to life just like someone who has gone and been to war. If you have been abused, you might as well have gone to war. Just like being shot at, being abused, you never know what the abuser is going to do next. I laughed when you mentioned being afraid of going to the cinema!! I was laughing with you! Me and my partner are TERRIFIED of the cinema. I think it’s being in a darkened room with strange people, and having the fear of not being able to get out, if you suddenly feel you have to. We just wait until the movie’s on DVD or HBO on demand, LOL!! I hope my sharing has helped anyone. I am NOT ashamed of what I go through; I didn’t cause my pain and I didn’t make myself have Panic Disorder. I, being a medically retired RN, believe that we are born with this. If you study up on this you will discover that there is indeed, a genetic marker for Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. As far as women being abused, we’ve been abused since the dawn of time. It is not our fault, but society still teaches us that it is. That is SICK THINKING!!! It is going to take some time for society to start treating women better, but I believe that women are prone to more Disorders like this because we feel we aren’t good enough, therefore, everything that goes wrong must be our fault. It’s only been since the 1950’s that young girls were taught not to be or act smarter than our husbands and we are lucky to get married and have children. We are born to serve our men. This sick thought will not just go away in a few years, ladies. This kind of brainwashing has a lifetime effect on us and how we raise our children, without even realizing what we are doing. Thank you for letting me share, I sure hope I’ve helped someone or given them something to think about, Glori.

    • You sure went through a lot! Thanks for sharing your story.
      I couldn’t agree with you more, getting the right diagnosis from understanding doctor is the key! Glad you have your partner’s support – it is just as important! Women tend to blame themselves for literally everything and (as you said) change won’t happen overnight! I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll stop by again in the future!

      Hugs,
      Mila

  7. A loved one of mine suffers from anxiety, and I must say your post is on point. I would have to agree with Mari. This is a great way to not only bring awareness to anxiety, but also start a meaningful conversation regarding how to cope with it. Thank you for sharing this, Mila. I’m absolutely certain this will shed more light on how we can support those who have anxiety. Lovely to be a part of your Idea Box linky. It’s posts like these that make me grateful to be in such great company.
    Maria recently posted…Writing with Confidence (An Advice to Myself & Other Struggling Writers)My Profile

  8. It IS very hard to talk about it, Mila, but you’ve done so beautifully. Thank you. 🙂

  9. Fantastic post, I suffer with anxiety myself and I can totally relate. Thank you for sharing, I think it is so important to talk about mental health. Hopped over from #inspirationmonday
    Romany recently posted…Postnatal Depression Are We Sharing Enough?My Profile

    • Thanks for reading!
      Knowing that many people that are affected, are hiding it, makes my skin crawl! I totally agree, we need to talk about mental health!

      Hugs,
      Mila

  10. Thank you for sharing this Mila! Very brave of you. Too often these disorders are looked on as if it the person’s fault. You don’t look at someone with cancer or diabetes and say “oh, it’s their fault. They could get better if they wanted”. Here in the States I think we need a major re haul of how we view and treat mental illness.
    Danielle recently posted…Idea Box [#11]My Profile

  11. You are very brave to write about your anxiety—many of us hold back for fear that others won’t identify or will think less of us. Isn’t that why so many of us kept it hidden so long ago? And I’m referring as “us” to include myself. I haven’t had a panic attack in over 10 years but I think I will always have the fear of one occurring. It’s that little bonus you get with the whole package deal. And I’m finally down to a little smidgen of anti-anxiety meds and hope to be done with them for good later this year. It’s been a slow weaning off them as it should be.

    I’ve never written about this issue on my blog because I simply want it to be in my past. Does that make sense? I know that anxiety, depression, bipolar disease and panic disorder are getting a lot of well deserved attention by physicians and society. If I could send a message on my blog it would be for all who suffer to get medical attention. Simple as that. I would also have to give a narration of my own journey through hell and I’m just not quite up to that.

    Thanks so much for your visit! I signed up as a follower-you really have a fab blog here!

    Jane x
    Jane recently posted…REDOING A DEN & GUEST ROOM AND A FRESH GREEK SALAD DIPMy Profile

    • Thank you, Jane! Yes, I think that’s what make us hide it as long as possible!
      I completely understand where you’re coming from.
      I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

      Hugs,
      Mila

  12. I’m sure it took a lot for you to share this, Mila, and I appreciate that you did. I don’t know what it’s like to live with the illnesses you do and though I have long been sympathetic, your post gave me some insight into what reality looks like day-to-day. I’m sure this post will also help someone who is feeling alone or misunderstood. Thanks for putting this out there! I wish you continued success as I imagine finding the right balance of treatments is an ongoing process.
    Keisha | The Girl Next Door is Black recently posted…Roaring ’20s-Style Bachelorette Weekend in Palm SpringsMy Profile

  13. Hi Mila, it was actually my sons therapist that told me I suffer from an anxiety disorder. It didn’t come as a shock as I’d rather hide under the bed than go shopping (I actually refuse to go to Lidls on my own as I find it really oppressive in there and crowds get my heart racing).

    I have always thought that I was just being me as my whole family avoid crowds/ people/ places (except my mum, who is the total opposite), so it’s never struck me as too odd.

    I hope that by writing about your experiences you learn that you are not alone and that their are more people than you think who will be able to relate to what you write.
    Debbie recently posted…A Much Needed Phone Upgrade!My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Debbie!
      Something struck me while reading your response. Obviously, we “should” be able to be around the large amount of people when we have to, but (like you said) some people just don’t like large gatherings and that’s the part of their character & beauty 🙂
      Mila

  14. Thank you for speaking up for those that can’t. I struggle with mental health issues as well, anxiety being one of them. I’ve noticed I have trouble reading the descriptions of how others feel when their anxiety hits without getting anxious myself. Just the description is enough to make my adrenaline surge. Funny how that happens.

    I write about these things on my blog as well. I think it’s so important that those of us who can speak about it do our part to end the stigma. I have hope that one day mental health issues will just be health issues. Until then, keep speaking up – it matters!

    Happy Sharefest! I hope you have a lovely weekend.

    • Thanks for reading, Robin:) That means a lot!
      Got the same reaction when reading about other people’s anxiety.
      And I so, so do hope it will be just ‘health issues’ someday. Because that’s exactly what it is – health issues 🙂

      Hugs,
      Mila

  15. In the past I’ve complained of having anxiety because of stress or feeling nervous or overwhelmed for whatever reason. Then, my second year in college is when I think the real anxiety started. I’ve never been to a doctor for this but I had some kind of attack. I couldn’t breathe and I felt hot and feverish and dizzy. But, I was in a foreign country and didn’t want to deal with medical problems in Japanese. So, once it passed I figured I would be okay. I thought it was just because of a test I was nervous about. But, similar occurrences have been happening since. It was manageable and they always passed quickly, until last year. I found out when I got off work from a shift of waiting tables to find out my grandmother (who had been hospitalized) died. Apparently everyone had been trying to get ahold of me for hours, but we weren’t allowed to use phones at work. I eventually quite that job a month and a half later for different reasons. However, every time I had to go into work I would get the mounting feeling of panic. I just was afraid someone else would die and I wouldn’t know until it was too late. Because, on that day my grandmother died they called me before she passed. But, since I didn’t have my phone I couldn’t say goodbye. It might be stemming from that, but ever since then I have this horrible sense of panic and distress every day I leave my home to go to work. I had thought it was just stress or something, but it makes sense that it would be because of that event. I’m in another food industry job right now and it’s gotten worse. It isn’t just that I have a sense of panic and stress, I get these horrible chest pains. It feels like I can’t breathe and the chest pain isn’t brief, it lasts a while. I’ve always battled with depression and feelings of inadequacy. So, what I’m saying is I think I might have an anxiety disorder. Thank you for posting this because it made me think more about what’s been happening to me and the videos were helpful too.
    Gina recently posted…5 Ways I Save MoneyMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Gina! Sorry to hear about your Grandmother!
      Anxiety is a tricky lady 🙁 I totally get the ‘switched off mobile anxiety’.
      Support groups may be helpful too. It’s so much easier when you share your struggles and meet people with similar issues.
      I hope you’ll find support that suits you best!
      Keep in touch 🙂
      xx

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