I’m sure everyone has experienced some form of anxiety at one time or another, and it may have happened and that person didn’t even realize it was anxiety. In some cases anxiety can be so disabling that a person can have trouble leaving their home or even have trouble getting out of their bed. For those of you that don’t know, anxiety is classified as an invisible illness. Read more about invisible illnesses here.
I have had this anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember. It seemed to have sky rocketed when I first fell ill with Pseudotumor Cerebri. The first onset of symptoms that I experienced with that illness were so strong and scary for me that I was in such a fear that they would return with a vengeance. So, with every new feeling that I felt in my body I instantly went into panic mode thinking the worst; which in most cases I thought the worst was death. Even after months of battling the illness and learning that the things I was feeling were all normal parts of the illness I still caught myself panicking when symptoms started.
It felt like a vicious cycle. I came to realize that the some of the Pseudotumor symptoms were triggered by anxiety and stress, however when I experienced those symptoms I become more anxious and more stressed causing myself to feel worse. At that point I was tired, tired of feeling like the world was going to shatter with every move that I made. Tired of feeling like I couldn’t be myself because I was so afraid of when the anxiety/panic attacks would hit. So that’s when I decided to call my doctor.
At first to start out, I was put on Xanax on an as needed basis and Zoloft to take daily to help prevent the onset of a panic/anxiety attack or just the feeling of being anxious 24/7. I wont lie at first, for the first month or so I was having to take that Xanax daily. Sometimes twice a day. I called my doctor to let her know and she seemed ok with that. She said give it time and I’ll start to notice that I’m feeling less anxious and not needing to grab the Xanax bottle as often. After the first 4-5 weeks I was becoming angry. I felt like my doctor wasn’t listening and that all this method would do is make me a Xanax addict. I decided to give it another 2 weeks and if I didn’t notice a difference that I would go back to the doctors and demand a change. By week 6 I noticed that I had gone 3 days and not touched Xanax. That I was starting to feel like I could breathe again. I didn’t feel that constant strong rapid heart beat that you get when your afraid of something. I was so elated that things were slowing down and that a possibility of getting this anxiety under control was within reach.
It has now been almost 18 months since being on the Zoloft and having the anxiety a bit more controlled. I’m not going to say that it has resolved it completely because that is just 100% unrealistic. But I will say that it is under control at about 80%. I still have rough days when I struggle with back to back anxiety/panic attacks. I still have moments when I feel like my anxiety gets the best of me. Anxiety is probably one of the worst invisible illnesses out there. I say this because it can be so crippling to someone. And no one is immune to it. It can come into your life at any given moment and change your life forever. The key to beating this is good doctors, a good support system and most importantly SELF-MOTIVATION AND STRENGTH.
Do you or someone you know experience anxiety/panic? Do you have them under control? What methods have you tried or are you currently trying to beat the anxiety beast? Have you had any luck with any natural or spiritual methods.
If you or someone you know are feeling lost due to anxiety or depression know that you are not alone and that there is always someone to talk to. If you cant reach out to a family member or a friend please contact:
Samaritans Completely Confidential Hotline
When You Need Someone to Talk to 24/7
Free, immediately accessible 24-hour emotional support in complete confidence.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anonymous. Confidential.