Monday, January 9, 2012

Big Bad Anxiety

I've always, for basically as long as I can remember, had anxiety.  And in fact, even before I can remember, my mom tells me stories about how anxious I was.  For example, every Tuesday when the garbage man came, I would hide under her bed because I was afraid of the loud noise of the truck, but also that he was going to kidnap me.  What 3 year old worries about being kidnapped??  Seriously?  My twin, Brett, would race to the window to watch the truck tip the can full of garbage, while I sobbed under the bed.  Or, on the 4th of July, while all of my siblings were enjoying watching the fireworks, I was hiding underneath a blanket crying because the loud pops they made terrified me.

So, dealing with anxiety...yeah, it sucks, but I'm used to it.  But the level of anxiety I've been experiencing over the past few weeks feels above and beyond even what I normally experience.  WHY must I incessantly worry about a future where, in many circumstances, I have absolutely no control over?  I can't get the thoughts to leave my brain...they just race and race and race and I feel so exhausted, both physically and emotionally.

The physiological response to this anxiety is driving me nuts.  I have elevated blood pressure, and my heart rate is chillin in the 130's.  This may be TMI, but I have terrible diarrhea.  I'm shaking and fidgety and restless and I don't feel I can focus. 

Obviously, my anxiety is a little outta control.  Obviously something needs to change, maybe I need a change in meds.  I'm just so TIRED of med tweaks...I'm tired of nothing helping.  Or, I'm tired of being drugged senseless by too many drugs - I can't even afford to do that now anyway, because I have 2 kids that depend on me everyday, and I can't sleep through the day - it's not like they'd let me, anyway.  So I don't know what to do.

I talked a bit about this in therapy today, and I'm going to try some of the basic stuff, to see if that helps.  Relaxation tapes, talking about it more in therapy and to My People, deep breathing, stuff like that.  I used to scoff at such ideas; I used to think that the only way my anxiety was going to be controlled was if I popped a Xanax or two, but that thought process is most definitely changing.  Sometimes the little things make all the difference, and I'm hoping it can help manage some of this anxiety.

One thing that is giving me a tremendous amount of anxiety is group.  Specifically, I still can't decide if I should quit or not.  The three people whose opinion I care about most - Brandon, my mom, and my T - they all think I should give group another shot, and then 90% of you that commented said the same thing...so I'm inclined to trust all of you, and give it another shot, but the anxiety fall-out from all this is wicked bad.  I will admit that a part of me does want to give it another shot, yes, but a bigger part wants to run away - onlyonlyonly - that's EXACTLY what I'd be doing - running away.  And I worry that if I run away from group just like I've run away from so many other things in my life, that I'll grow to regret my decision and be angry with myself.  So I'm desperately trying to change these old behavior patterns, but it's so so so hard.

So that's where I'm at.  Anxious.  Obviously.  But making it okay?

11 comments:

Cammy said...

The Anxiety Monster sucks. I hate to hear that you are going through this right now. I think that no one who hasn't experienced it can understand how consuming it can be, even with no readily identifiable triggers.

What do you think has changed in your life/environment since the anxiety started kicking up again? Not really asking you to answer here, just something to think about. I'm sorry that group is stressing you so much. Have you tried doing a pro/con list? Will it help reduce the dread of going back if you give it an ultimatum ("four more sessions and if I'm not getting anything out of it then I'm done")? That way you still give it a chance but are assured it's on your terms.

Hang in there chica, you WILL get to a more balanced place, don't let yourself doubt that. If you are ever in an anxiety storm and need to vent, I'm only a text away.
<3

HopefullyGrowing said...

This 3yo definitely worried about being kidnapped and I had elaborate plans to hide. I practiced trying to be invisible under the covers in bed to building a "fort" of stuffed animals and clothes in my closet that I could hide.

Cammy said...

Oh funny kid anxiety story: when I was in kindergarten I had a pair of those then-cool shoes that had little lights that lit up when your foot hit the ground. One day I refused to get off the school bus in the afternoon because it was raining and I was sure my feet would get electrocuted from the lights being too close to the wet pavement...so I wasn't a physicist, but it seemed like a legit crisis at the time...

Erica Butterfield said...

I'm totally hippie chica...and I also suffer from major anxiety. Something that has helped me is meditation and yoga. It took me awhile to find something that worked...I still have moments of nail picking etc. Keep looking for a balance until you find what works for you :)

Katie said...

Anxiety is the worst! It's a rude trick for sure. I hope that you can find some relief because to feel like its never going to get better can be the worst feeling ever. But in my experience it always gets better... eventually. Hang in there girl

Frustrated Unemployed Actress said...

Just a thought... but maybe all this horrible anxiety means you're close to something really changing. As in, maybe you're close to some sort of breakthrough (which can be terrifying, even though it's good) and somehow your brain and body know that and that's why they're reacting. It might calm down when you make a decision about group, whatever that decision might be.

Related, my two cents on the group question... I went to group therapy for a little over two years (after much individual therapy, which I still do occasionally). When I left, it was because I felt ready, and like there was nothing more I could do there. Before I left, I thought about it, and discussed it in group, for maybe two or three months, until I was sure it was the right decision and my therapists agreed with me (and with the caveat that I could always come back). I guess what I'm saying is, make sure you're leaving for the right reasons, because you're really sure you're finished there and that it's time to move on. From what you've said, I'd say, stick with it a while and see how it goes. It might be uncomfortable, but it might also be the right choice. You'll know when you're done.

alison said...

I used to have terrible anxiety all the time, too. The diarrhea, fainting - the works. It's going to sound silly, but it changed my life when I learned to "move slowly" - to breathe, walk, fold laundry, whatever, with slow deliberate movements. You have to keep doing things like that until it's second nature. This helps me to think about the present and derive enjoyment from it, rather than worry about the future. I know these things sound trite, but I have moved so far beyond my anxiety in the past 8 years that I can't even believe how bad it used to be. I had many weird anxieties as a kid, too. I hope those techniques will be as helpful to you as they have been to me over the years!

alison said...

I had terrible anxiety all my life (including weird anxieties, diarrhea, and fainting!) until my counselor taught me how to "move slowly" - to breathe, walk, do chores, think, etc. slowly. Doing this helps me focus on the present and enjoy each moment rather than worrying about the future. It sounds trite, but these things have changed my life and I've moved so far beyond my old anxieties over the past 8 years. I only have anxiety attacks once or twice a year as opposed to EVERY DAY like I used to. I hope these techniques work as well for you. They seem simple, but you have to keep doing them until they become second nature. Good luck!

Sairs said...

I'm having this type of anxiety at the moment too. I have a thought pop into my head, like "is the stove on" and then it turns into full blown oh my god the house is going to burn down and the cat will die and we will lose everything. I had a panic attack in group last week and they had to get a nurse down to do my blood pressure and pulse rate. My heart rate has been up too and I can hear it, which makes it worse. Anyway, I just wanted you to know you are not alone, though I do hope something works for you soon. I just got a med increase and my doc wants me to journal what is happening. Be gentle with yourself :)

Liz said...

I'm sorry you have to deal with so much anxiety. It definitely sucks. It seems the consensus is for you to stay in group, just keep trusting those you trust. And trust your wise mind. You're in my thoughts and prayers

bri said...

Love u my darling Brie-Brie!!! I am here ALWAYS in fact text me or call me soon I love talking to you. In fact I was just talking about u the other day...good stuff;) love u lots! Hang in there and know we are all rooting for u and are so proud of u!