I’m baring my soul here…
My chest feels like it’s in a vice.
I feel like I can’t get a good deep breath.
I’m supposed to, right?
I force myself to yawn.
I feel like I have to all the time.
I’m not tired.
Yes. I am.
NO. I’m not!
Anxiety builds up.
The vice gets tighter.
My hands begin to shake.
I tell myself I can breathe.
I know I can breathe.
But it feels like I can’t fully.
The battle rages back and forth.
Anyone who struggles with Anxiety/Panic Attacks would understand what this feels like. Recently, I had a major flare up of these attacks, and I had not experienced them since 2003, when my dear grandma was losing her battle to Brain Cancer. It took a year until I finally felt like I could function normally with treatment from my doctor.
Last Fall, tired of constantly taking anti-depressant/anxiety medication, I made the poor choice of feeling like I could function fine without them. Things were getting better, I thought. Sure, I was in grad school and there was the typical stresses of life, but everything else was getting better. For five months, I was fine. I thought I was better and didn’t need the medication anymore.
Three weeks ago, I started feeling small anxious moments, but I didn’t really consider them to be signs of something more coming. Before I knew it, I was having full blown attacks, but in my stubbornness, I thought I could calm them down myself. At first, I was able to make things easier with distraction, but as I tried to focus on homework and doing things I loved, I found I couldn’t. Last Monday was the final straw as I was in a constant state of anxiety and couldn’t calm down. I sent an email to my doctor’s office to see if I could get in for an appointment and was able to by Thursday. That meant a 3 day wait.
I drank tea, listened to calming music, crocheted, and stayed strong for the rest of my family in the best way I could. It was all I could do. My kids did the best they could to help me feel better. I also learned to turn to my friends for prayer.
I was gently scolded by my doctor. “Of course, you felt fine. Your body had some level of the medicine in your body for quite a while, but now it’s all gone.” I knew my Pharmacy Technician Mom would be scolding me right along with my doctor. I was learning it the hard way, and I’m writing this in hopes of encouraging others who struggle with Anxiety and Depression to stay on their medication. The doctor knows what’s best, and if you need to get off it, your doctor will help you do it the right way.
It’s been a little over a week now, and the days are getting better. They’re not perfect, but I know eventually it will get there.
If you’re going through this same storm — Hang in there. Find support, prayer, and help. I’ll even pray for you, too.