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