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.