Ramblings About Anxiety


I found this image online on a funny images website. I have no idea who was the original artist, but it is just so fitting. So whoever you are, I love what you've done here.

If you follow me on Instagram (and I think I have mentioned it a few times here), you know that I have an anxiety disorder. I've been to therapy, I've previously tried medication. I currently have a prescription for Ativan, which I've only thankfully used once. There are times when my anxiety is greatly reduced (most noticeably when I'm actively seeing a therapist about it, or during the warmer months), and times when my anxiety is in full swing (like right now, in the dead of winter). The holiday season through March is the worst time of year for me.

The majority of my anxiety is health related. I live in daily fear of myself or one of my loved ones dying. Brad used to fall asleep a lot on the couch downstairs until I confided in him that when he does that I am upstairs worrying that he's died and I am too scared to go downstairs and check on him. I think every twinge is cancer or a blood clot or that the ice pick headaches I get are precursors to an aneurysm. Dr. Google is dangerous. I feel pain, I consult Dr. Google. Dr. Google tells me I'm going to die and should see a doctor immediately. Or Dr. Google tells me that there's no correlation between ice pick headaches and aneurysms but I don't believe him.

Or I start a new medication, and read that it may have a tiny increased risk of blood clots and I immediately think that I've got one. Like right now. I've been on something for about three weeks and since then, mysteriously, my calves (both of them, alternating), have these little aches in them. But I have zero other symptoms of blood clots. So of course I don't think, "Oh, good, no swelling, etc, I'm fine." No, I think "I bet I'm in that small percentile that has NO symptoms and I'm going to die."

Seriously folks. These are the thoughts that run through my head all day, every day. The thoughts that keep me up at night.

The funny thing is, I've had some weird "numbness" which is not real numbness in my feet as well. They're not numb, I can feel the tiniest touch if I touch my feet or toes. They don't hurt, like pins and needles. They're not week. But they tingle. And Dr. Google tells me that muscle aches, tingling feet, those are all symptoms of....anxiety.

But I don't believe him.

Here's a great example for you on how I think. There's a history of breast cancer in my family, and I have dense breast tissue, so I've had two mammograms now, a year apart (just had one in August). Both have come back perfect, but they include a note about said dense tissue. Am I relieved I don't have cancer? No. I think "what if they missed it because of the denseness of the tissue?" How messed up is that?! (And yes, I could get the genetic testing but I'm too freaked out by what the result may be and what I would then do with that information to get it done. Really, that would only worsen my anxiety).  

Being inside my head SUCKS. I hate these thoughts. But I also know daily medication is not for me. As I said, I've tried that, and the side effects are not worth it when I know I can (mostly) control this with therapy. The problem is, I lost my really great therapist when she went out of network, and I cannot afford her fees. And I'm too nervous to find a new therapist. I have been able to overcome some of this anxiety on my own before with exercise and distractions, and, gosh darn it, SUNSHINE. Stupid New England winters. We can't logistically move, not while Austin is growing up, so I've got to find some way to deal with this weather every year. But it is not good for my mental health.

I have no real point to posting this other than to share with you the craziness that exists inside my brain every day, and this really is only just breaking the surface. Things are totally messed up in here. Living with constant worry and fear is just really hard. 

Thanks for letting me vent a little.

10 comments:

  1. I had to seriously resist the urge to write a comment that just says "first!" Haha!
    First I'll say - that's a Natalie Dee cartoon, and isn't it amazing? You'd like her other stuff!
    Secondly, I know I don't have to leave some verbose comment about how I get you, how I understand, how I wholly empathize, or how I wish I could help in some way. We've spoken those words to each other a million times over the past, uh, 20 years? (damn)
    So I won't do it again here. I'll just tell you that, this post was hard to read in that really beautiful way. I feel you. I bet you can find a super great new therapist... maybe someone you know even has a recommendation. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you've done it before, and it was good! So you should hope for a similar outcome this time!
    And if you wanna do couples therapy, we'll go together and eat french fries after.
    Oh yeah, and I love you :-)

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    1. Thank you! I will have to go look her up, that's awesome that you knew that.

      And I love you too! 20 years! OMG. That is crazy.

      Thank you so much for this comment, even if I already know you know all the crazy that is me and that you totally get me. It's still appreciated and reminds me that I am loved :)

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  2. ((Hugs)) I know you don't know me personally but I've followed your blog for a while. I just wanted to thank you for your bravery in sharing just a glimpse of what goes on in an anxiety-ridden brain. Your story is all too familiar. Not a day goes by that I don't have at least a fleeting thought about the loss of a loved one or my own demise. I have always had this underlying fear that something awful had happened or could happen. Even on vacations I can never truly relax...there is always something to worry over. I've pretty much resigned myself to being the worrier so that my family can enjoy themselves. My anxiety worsened when I had children and I have to work super hard to not allow my issues to hold them back out of fear of the unthinkable happening. I hope by sharing today will encourage you to seek another great therapist. It sure has encouraged me....so thanks for that! Wishing you all the sunshine!

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    1. Thank you Sonya. Mine also has been heightened since I had Austin and I know I'm overly protective of him out of my own fears. Hearing others feel the way I do somehow just helps. I appreciate the comment and support. Thanks so much.

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  3. I saved the cartoon and will be including in my PL. I really identified with your words. Worry is my middle name and it is exhausting isn't it?

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  4. I love that cartoon, and you are not alone. That is what it is like in my head as well, and it does suck. I don't know if you have tried any of these, but some people find them helpful.

    1) Supplements: Vitamin D (most women are deficient. They can check with s simple blood test), Folic Acid, Magnesium, good Fish Oils.

    2.) I like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and does your previous therapist have anyone they can recommend?

    3.) Yoga and daily exercise is crucial for me. The single biggest difference-maker.

    4.) light therapy

    Just wanted you to know you are not alone in this! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes! I actually have been intending to start some separate vitamin D supplements - I keep trying to remember my multivitamin but they make me nauseous if I don't take on a full stomach and I keep forgetting to take them when I've just eaten.

      I did get a couple of recommendations for therapists she thought I would work well with - just haven't made the call, for no other reason than, I'm just nervous about a new therapist. It's a lot to invest, mentally!

      I do find I feel better when I'm exercising, in general. I need to be better about it but I do exercise fairly regularly, I just tend to get a bit lazier in the winter because it's so cold, all you want to do is bundle up in your jammies.

      I looked into light therapy but I found the reviews mixed, so I haven't proceeded further there. But I did actually look at this a couple of weeks ago, it's a possibilitiy.

      Thank you for all these suggestions! :)

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  5. Just commenting to say that I can totally relate - I'm a mess inside my head, too. Having generalized anxiety and major depressive disorder - you're exactly right about this being the absolute worst time of the year and it made me smile when you started talking about moving. I think I've convinced my warm weather hating husband that we need to move somewhere with more sunshine - or just move there for four months of the year. Thanks so much for sharing. The more of us share our very real struggles with these illnesses, the less stigma there will be. I have no suggestions, just sending you virtual hugs.

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  6. You and I share the same type of anxiety and I feel your pain(s), quite literally. *hugs*

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