I’m sitting down on my couch right now with a green juice (so LA I know) trying to figure out where to even start with this post. I’ve been wanting to write this post for months, but I wasn’t sure if I should write about something I hadn’t conquered yet. But as I thought more and more about it, I really want to write this post for you. For that person that’s going through the same things I am. For that person that is unsure what the heck is going on with their minds and body. I want to write this for you.
So let’s start at the beginning. Growing up I was always a social person. I was the girl that was always making plans with people, going to parties (if you knew me in college then it was throwing the parties). I’ve always been a planner, but I wouldn’t consider myself type A. I’m messy and disorganized but I always wanted to know what was going to happen. I would have never considered myself an anxious person. That was until last year.
Last August I had four friends from both college and home visit me for a weekend. Everything was going great, we were having fun running around LA, going to the beach, eating out etc. Everything was great until after dinner I got home and I tried to take a power nap before going out that night. As I laid down, I started to feel like I couldn’t breath. Panic set in and I started to have a full blown panic attack. I grabbed one of my roommates (the one I usually counted on during crisis mode) and started freaking out. What was going on? I felt like I was dying. Was I dying? Am I having a heart attack? I honestly didn’t know what was going on. Finally after few minutes of a super intense panic attack I started to feel a little better. My friends tried to distract me and after a couple of hours, I was able to get back to normal.
As the days went on after that, I started to think more and more about my panic attacks. Becoming fearful of it happening again. And sure enough, it did. My panic attacks started happening more frequently but soon they just started to feel like an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. My chest felt tight, I had trouble breathing. It started to get to the point where anytime I would be out to eat, I would start to feel a panic attack coming on, so I couldn’t eat. And if ya’ll know me, you know I love to eat. I couldn’t sleep at night, I started waking up every few hours feeling like something was wrong. I had never felt that kind of pain before. I was unable to sleep for about two weeks, I couldn’t eat – I ended up losing 10+ pounds in a couple of weeks, I wasn’t able to focus at work. Everything made me feel panicked. I would spend hours a day crying to myself, or my dad or boyfriend. There were nights where I would wake my boyfriend up in the middle of the night just hysterically crying because something was wrong, and I didn’t know why. My symptoms started to get so bad that my dad literally flew out to LA from NY to take care of me. (ps: thank you dad, you seriously are the best dad ever.) I honestly thought I was going to have to be hospitalized because I didn’t think I could go through the pain any longer. Not eating, not sleeping, constantly feeling like you’re going to die seriously takes a huge toll on you. I didn’t know what it was but something in my body just felt wrong.
I was seeing a therapist, a psychiatrist, my primary care doctor, a gastro, pretty much everyone I could get my hands on I saw. Something had to be wrong with me. What I was feeling was not normal. Every doctor came back with the same diagnosis…you have anxiety.
But what was causing my anxiety? It started when I had friends visiting, friends whom I love and were so excited to see. I was in the beginning stages of a new relationship with a great guy, I had a great job, I had friends I was hanging out with constantly. Everything seemed perfect. Everything except my anxiety. To be honest I’ve spent the past 10 months in therapy trying to figure out what caused this. And sure, there were definitely triggers, but there was also a chemical imbalance in my brain. Because of that I went on medication. I was prescribed a low dose of an SSRI and to be honest I was scared shitless to start taking it. I didn’t want to be “that crazy girl” or be seen as weak or incompetent. But to be honest what really helped was talking to my friends, my boyfriend and even my boss. I was surprised to find out that I wasn’t the only person that’s ever gone through this. Many people that I knew personally, that I never would have imagined them having gone through what I went through told me “yeah, I’ve been on meds before and it helped.” I can do a whole other post of what my experience on meds were like, just let me know in the comments below if that is something you guys would be interested in.
I started taking my meds, I went home to stay with my parents for about a week and I just continued trying to take it a day at a time. Slowly…really slowly things started to get better. Eventually I was able to start eating again, and sleeping again and things just started to feel a little bit more normal.
I still suffer from anxiety and it’s been a tough 9 months for me. I’ve had a lot of changes going on, I went through a breakup, I moved out of my apartment, I lost some friends. There are good days and there are bad days. I still have some of those terrible days where I feel so anxious it feels like I’m having a heart attack. But there are things I do to try to calm myself down. Nothing has been as bad as that first month dealing with anxiety has been. I’m still on the medication, I’m still in therapy and it’s a slow journey but I’m hopeful that one day I’ll look back at it and just realized how it’s helped me to grow.
I want to continue sharing my journey with you guys and have this be a resource for anyone that is going through anxiety or depression. Unfortunately it’s a wide spread issue that not many people like talking about. But I want to be there for you. This has been my personal journey dealing with anxiety. Not everyone’s experience with anxiety will look the same as mine. No matter what you are going through, whatever pain you are feeling; that pain is real. And I want to let you know that I understand that pain, however different it may look. I know this is a super deep topic and my blog has been very light and fun and I still want to show you guys those elements as well, but I also want to open it up with the truth. And the truth is, I have anxiety.