On Anxiety :: An Update

It was July of last year that I first admitted to my anxiety here on the blog. It's strange to think that it was so long ago, but if I'm honest, my anxiety has been building for years and years now. It still makes me sad to think that it's such a taboo topic, but I'm going to bring it up anyway.

For me, my anxiety is more of a daily battle than a situational one. I can function more than fine at my weddings and during stressful situations; my anxiety tends to manifest itself as a dull ache, one that likes to infiltrate every crevice of my life, even when it isn't warranted. Things can be going amazingly well, and still I find myself up at night, worrying about the details that I really shouldn't be worried about.

I guess that was why I put up yesterday's mantra when I did. It's actually easy to hit publish on a blog post or my book; it's the aftermath that's the hard part. It's when I'm sitting at the dinner table, away from my phone, thinking about all those people who are now privy to my thoughts and hopes and fears and writing. That's when I feel the all-too-familiar shortness of breath and migraines that tend to accompany my anxiety.

My doctor prescribed me anti-anxiety medication last year, but I decided to stop at the beginning of the year, for various reasons. Overall I've been doing really well! But every once in a while (like last night) I find it a little hard to handle. That's when I take a Benadryl and just give myself a night of uninterrupted sleep.

So, how am I dealing this days, now that I don't have drugs to fall back on? That isn't to say that medication isn't good for everyone; it helped me exactly when I needed it, and I can't say that I won't ever take it again (let's just say I wanted to give my body some time to detox so I can let it focus on other important things...).

I'm one of those people that needs to get things done when I'm stressed. One of my favorite exercises is my worry chart; basically I write down all the things I'm worrying about and what I can do about it. If there's solution, well then I go do that. And if not? I should probably stop worrying about it. So easy, but realizing that there are things that I can fix and things that I can't has changed my entire perception on life. I'm much, much happier with that mindset.

And then there's just focusing on what really matters. You know, my marriage, my home, my family. It's these things that get me through the day-to-day; it's the texts and messages from my friends, away from my blog, that keep me going. Of course there's you all too! Knowing that there are a thousand people out there who love me for every negative comment really makes all the difference. It's a combination of all these things that make life good; that make me able to push through the anxiety of knowing that putting myself out there is a terrifying endeavor. So thanks.

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts about my anxiety, but that's where I'm at for now. Have you ever dealt with anxiety? How do you deal with it?


Joelle Duff said...

I have to admit I read the italicized focus and am now wondering if you mean have sex. My dulled sex drive and weird orgasms are my least favorite part of being on anti-anxiety meds, bar none. (Too much information?)

I have a hard time doing the whole thing you described in your chart because most of my problems have a solution but it's not an easy or one-step one. How do you handle those?

Joelle Duff said...

I was talking about baby-time, but I totally get what you mean. I think that there are going to be side effects for anything that you do to your body, and I've definitely had my sex drive affected in the past by meds. I guess it's all about priorities, you know?

And not everything is going to have a one-step solution, for sure. When that happens, I try to write out the steps that I can take to fix things, and go from there. There's never going to be a magic solution to our problems or our anxiety, I think it's just about how you deal with it. If you realize that there's a problem, then the first step is to address what you can do immediately to remedy it; it doesn't need to be permanent or long-lasting, but if you don't, it'll just fester and get worse...

Joelle Duff said...

Hi Joelle,
I deal with situational anxiety...stress at work and things like tests and presentations. It's an awful feeling but I do have anti-anxiety meds that I can take during these times which helps me just relax. I don't even know that it's working I just feel better and more calm after I take one. You're not alone that's for sure.

Joelle Duff said...

Hi Joelle,

Thanks for sharing! I have always found really it helpful to hear about other people dealing with anxiety - lets you know you are not alone! It is impossible to explain or really talk about with people who have never experienced it. I had my first touch with it last March and for me yoga really helped - all the breathing and not thinking! Not sure if I totally recommend it or not but I did read a book called "don't panic". Time, breathing and talking have been the best for me!

Thanks for sharing!

Joelle Duff said...

I have taken many, many anti-anxiety meds and antidepression meds. It was always prescribed for my trich. Now I live by prayer... it's my saving grace. I believe in you so much and am so glad to see you're doing better and that you are using your support system. We are here for you, too!!! :) Love love love ya, Joelle!

Joelle Duff said...

PS> This is entirely unrelated, but the link to your FAQ page at the top is broken. There's no "." before com... just thought you'd like to know! Have an awesome day, Joelle! :)

Joelle Duff said...

I so appreciate the things I've seen lately about anxiety, and I think the taboo DEFINITELY still exists, but is becoming less. I attended a staff training on "triangulating" (you know, talking to someone else about a problem than creating confrontation...also known as venting, raging, gossip...) and how that all stems from mis-managing our anxiety. I had NEVER used the word anxiety in my life before but it became an incredible descriptor for my actions. Now when I can't sleep because I wake up thinking of work or relationship stress, I have words to describe what's happening. No matter how it manifests itself, it's in everyone to some degree. Thank you for sharing and the reminder that we are not alone