Greetings and Thanks for Joining Me

Hey…so, as you may have guessed, I’ve never had a blog before. It’s never been something that appealed to me, but at the same time I think there’s a certain magic to near-complete anonymity coupled with complete openness. I’m going to share with you what I deal with on a near daily basis, because I think it’ll be therapeutic for me, but I hope that if someone stumbled upon this website, maybe they’ll get something out of it too. Some sort of relatable aspect, hopefully.

So maybe you’re wondering what makes my battle with anxiety special? What makes me “different” or “unique”? Well, nothing really. Maybe how I got here? But at the end of the day, anxiety is the same monster anyone else who has it deals with. And anxiety’s best friend is depression. Now, my hope is that this doesn’t just turn into some sort of self-deprecating site where all I do is complain about my situation, but bear with me, because sometimes it may just be. The whole point is for me to get better. I want to get better. I need to. Not just for me, but for everyone I care about, because otherwise this will forever be something that gets into bed with me and my husband or plays with me and my children, etc. You get the point.

I guess I could give you some background into who I am, but honestly, I don’t think it really matters. I could be the most average person you’ve ever heard of or an A-list celebrity, either way, we’ve all got the same shit to deal with. Okay, I think I’ve probably really pronounced that idea by this point. You get it. I’ll stop.

So, what’s my anxiety like? Well, it’s always there in my head. It’s not a voice, but rather an implementer of some kind, something that pushes for one thought over an other in a way that makes me think, “hey, that’s not a bad idea.” It’s the reason I’ll endlessly look up any symptom I have whether or not it’s an actual ailment. Seriously. Random muscle twitch not due to exercise? *Google search: muscle twitch reason* and out comes the 99.99% “you’re not dying and you’re just stressed and probably are having a symptom of anxiety,” but this is never satisfying enough for me. I keep digging just to be 100% sure. Then BAM. That .01% search result I was secretly looking for (and rather sadistically hoping for) pops up: “may be an early indication of Parkinson’s disease.” FREEZE. In this moment, it feels as if my heart stops and the world centers in on this moment of me reading. Parkinson’s. PARKINSON’S. PARKINSON’S! And that’s how it’s done, folks. Now, do I suddenly believe I have Parkinson’s? No, absolutely not. Whether or not you can believe it, I still have some wits about me. I know I don’t have Parkinson’s. All signs point to no! But why can’t I shake the dread? The unshakable feeling that there’s something hopelessly wrong with me? Well, I think we can all answer that one.

And so, I continue to just struggle uncontrollably with this horrible feeling that there is something deeply wrong with me early-20s-year-old self. Am I the picture of health? No. Not at all. I’m considered obese by any way you measure it. Do I look obese? Meh, honestly I hope not. But, well, there’s no denying facts. Everyone has different fat distributions and mine just happens to land solely in my stomach. Got some normal size legs and arms, an aggressively average set of boobs, and no ass. But what probably amounts to at least 60lbs in my stomach region. Oh — look at that — I’ve gone off on a tangent. Okay, the point of all this is that I am definitely at-risk for some health issues, but let’s be real right now: most health issues don’t REALLY kick in until your 40s and 50s, MAYBE 30s. I don’t eat completely poorly, so I’m not currently “at-risk” for things like diabetes or high blood pressure, but still. The point is that I can still have issues. And I do, but super average things. Infections and the like. Anyway, after all this I can safely say that I diagnose myself with a million things that are never wrong with me and I can never shake that.

I think, though, the worst part is going to the doctor, waiting, hoping, praying, that it’s nothing. Then I see the doctor. And they say it’s nothing. Then suddenly the symptom kicks up to 500% stronger than ever before and I practically want to scream and say IT CAN’T BE NOTHING, LOOK AT HOW HORRIBLE IT IS MAKING ME FEEL! But the doctor just says, don’t worry, you’re fine. And if they do find something, a simpler solution, like say, my most recent ailment, an ear infection, I become convinced it’s a million times worse. Currently, I’m worrying endlessly about whether or not I have tinnitus while I wait to see a specialist on the 31st. Even though I have been told more than once that it’s just an ear infection. Yes, I got a second opinion. Don’t judge me. Judge my hypochondriac ways. So even though I’ve got a treatment and an answer, I still want to see an ENT specialist to make super-duper sure there’s nothing wrong with me besides my desperate need for anxiety treatment. And I also worry endlessly about whether the medication will work and whether it’s good for me or not. Because if I don’t actually have an ear infection, will it negatively affect me? Who can say! I’m fed up. I really am.

And it all just drives me up the fucking wall. Do I need to see a psychiatrist? Oh, without a doubt. I have a therapist. If you have anxiety, please, please see a therapist! You cannot cope on your own, trust me. Just suck up your pride and visit a therapist. I cannot tell you how much I told myself I could get through my anxiety and deal with it. It was horrible advice to give myself, because here I am, almost 2 years later, still suffering. And it’s only getting worse. I was never a hypochondriac. Not until late last year. It all gets less and less tolerable, less and less manageable. Yes, I’ve since reached out to a few psychiatric offices in the hopes of getting on an anxiety medication. It’d be a huge relief to finally say goodbye to anxiety and feel okay. I just want to feel better. I know I’m still here. I know I’m still me. But it just gets harder to be me when I cannot stop worrying.

Someone, please, make it stop.

Welcome back

Hello all

I know it’s definitely been a while since my last post. I’ve been meaning to come back, but to be totally honest, I was feeling great and I was worried a return to my anxious blog would rekindle my anxieties somehow.

So why did I leave?

Well, the biggest reason is because I started taking medication. My particular poison is called Opilopram Opipramol (can never get that right). It’s really helped me get back on track in terms of school and my personal life. I mean it — I don’t think I’ve had such a long go without anxiety since before my anxiety diagnosis. It really felt like the solution.

So why am I back then?

…because it stopped feeling better. I don’t know what changed. I don’t know if maybe I’m just jumping the gun, maybe I am just particularly stressed from school and my meds can’t combat that, maybe my body is rejecting it…but all I know is I stopped responding like I used to. I am PRAYING that this is just a blip in my overall experience with medication and I don’t want to think that it’d be necessary to up my dosage simply after only a few months of taking it. Do you guys have any experience with this? How do you deal?

I already have my next psychiatrist appointment set for July 16th because the last time I saw her she sent me on my way with a 100-pill prescription. I remember her saying, “If anything changes, you can always come back sooner.” But I don’t want to. I am not yet ready to admit defeat. I just feel like my body is ready to admit defeat, though. Really what is most troublesome to me is that two nights ago, my thumb had an involuntary twitch. I couldn’t bend my thumb without it shaking uncontrollably. Then that’s when the anxiety began. Then I noticed a slight head pain on the left side of my head, somewhere between my eye and my ear. The twitch went away, the anxiety somewhat went away, the mild head pain revisits. It comes and goes randomly, even in between simple actions like eating or watching TV. I imagine it’s a persistent tension headache that’s not ready to go away, because of the anxiety that isn’t quite ready to go away.

I’ve tried meditation and I’ve taken some aspirin. Let’s see if that helps. Here’s to hoping for a better tomorrow, or even better, a better evening (it’s early afternoon for me now).

Down the Rabbit hole I go…

Well, I can comfortably say it’s been at least a week since I wrote. I had even a few days with limited anxiety. I gotta say, it felt good.

That didn’t last very long.

I’ve kinda fallen back down the rabbit hole again. Now it’s extreme lack of concentration, to the point where I have to refocus my eyes every two seconds. It’s really frustrating. As I write, I am SO tempted to look up “why do my eyes keep unfocusing” or “eyes refocusing every few seconds.” I’m sure I’ll end up on some page about cataracts or tumor behind my eye. I have to work constantly to fight the urge. I gave into it yesterday, but I didn’t quite have the words to describe what I felt, so it was a fruitless search.

I don’t know how to make it stop yet, but in two days, I have an appointment with a psychiatrist. I gotta say, I’m really looking forward to that. And I also tried this whole affirmations thing yesterday. It actually did make me feel a little bit better about myself, so that’s good news. I hope once my finals are over, I’ll be in a better place. Whether or not that be with medication today.

This morning, I had a really long discussion with my partner, V, about family and friends and just a general check-in on the state of our emotions and even things of the past. I gotta say, it was really nice. It made me feel good to admit to him the things I’d been afraid to say before and it made me happy to hear that at the end of the day, we both wanted each other in our lives and apologized for our trespasses. I think apologies are one of those things we don’t always realize we needed until the other person goes and says, “hey, remember that time? I’m really sorry” and for them to be real about it. I love that V isn’t afraid to cry in front of me. I love that we’re past that. I love that we can be open together and stupid and silly and just plain embarrassing. I think my only sadness is that I only get to see him through a screen these days. I guess that happens when you choose to study abroad.

I know at the end of the day, I will have grown so much from this experience, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take one heck of a toll on me not to be with the ones I love. Every day, I wish I could be close to V. I wish I could smell his hair, feel his chest rise, hear him laugh unfiltered by a spotty internet connection. But I also think, hey at least he’s here for me. He’s only a phone call away, even if I’m a 6-9 hour difference away from him.

And he’s not the only one. I have a wonderful dog. I’m sad to say, he probably carries some of the anxiety I have. But he’s also the love of my life. I could not imagine not having him. And when I come home (in the US), and see him flipping out when I get there, it brings so much joy to my heart. I love having this little creature completely disregard everything else because his human has arrived. I love him. So much. And I look forward to seeing him again. So much.

I guess today’s not a terrible day. I had a good day and I’m also listening to quote, “Upbeat Instrumental Work Music | Background Happy Energetic Relaxing Music for Working Fast & Focus” on YouTube. I know it sounds silly, but it’s actually lifting my spirits as I write this quite a bit. Maybe because I’m writing about the people I love. Maybe it was my affirmations this evening. Either way, I’m glad that even with anxiety, there can still be moments of joy or relief or hope. Those moments are fleeting, but every moment is. I know that anxiety is yet another fleeting moment.

Anyone else out there dealing with anxiety, I know you’ll get through it. I struggle sometimes every day, sometimes not as much. I know there are people who have it less, some who have it all the time. I hope you have found coping mechanisms. Healthy ones. I know you can do it. I’m still working on finding my solutions, but I’ve found some really nice band-aids…


How I (Barely) Got Through This Weekend

I can lie and say I managed to get by all on my own.

I didn’t.

I don’t know if I would even consider it getting by.

I spent this weekend mostly in bed, watching videos and sleeping. I just stayed couped up in my own misery and when I thought about how miserable I was, I’d cry.

Saturday: I woke up at around 7:30am. Overwhelmed with anxiety about my swimmer’s ear. Convinced myself I had tinnitus. Begged my therapist for a session that same day. Tried desperately to keep myself distracted. Looked out the window and thought about going outside, but I never actually did. Emailed around 4-5 psychiatrists in the hopes of seeing one either that same day or come Monday. Then began to wonder if Monday would ever come. What a long weekend. Oh boy. Is that tinnitus? Is it? Is it? Maybe I should stop googling. Oh god, how am I supposed to get through the rest of this day?! It’s only 4:30pm. Oh god. Fuck, this is the most impossible thing. Ugh, what a headache. Oh god.

Sunday @ 4:30am: Well, I guess that’s the end of my sleeping. Maybe I can get through this. maybe if I have faith. No…I need help. I need help. I desperately need help. (I texted a friend and asked him if we could go to the library together that day, since he was planning on studying anyway and I needed the company to stay sane and get me out of the house). Around 9am, my friend texts me back, worried, and has me come over for breakfast. He stays with me until night, when I head home to sleep. Thank god. I got through the day. No overwhelming sounds or pains. No overwhelming anxiety. God, talking some of that out sure helped.

And that brings us to this morning. Waking up and thinking I hear a ringing in my ear. Then I realize the ringing isn’t coming from my left ear, it’s coming from my head. Focus. Wait, no! Don’t focus! Distract! Distract! That’s basically been what I’ve been thinking all day. I’ve been trying to distract myself and of course I always end up focusing on my left ear again. There was a moment in time, maybe a solid hour even, where there was absolutely no extra sounds. Until I focused the ringing into existence. Now my left ear feels extremely sensitive, as if I’ve played the highest frequency noise right into it the whole day. Now my head hurts. I can’t focus. I’m listening to anti-anxiety music in an effort to make the headache go away. I’m afraid to turn off the music in case I reimagine the ringing in my ear. Even writing about it now is making me worry and focus on it. Oh god. But let’s look at the bright side: I got 2 psychiatry appointments. One on the 29th and another on the 4th of February. I’ve only kept the latter appointment, because it’s the first one that got back to me and technically the former appointment hasn’t been confirmed by the clinic. Success! Thank God I asked for help. Not to sound like I’m desperate for drugs, but I truly cannot wait to see if I can find something that will help me cope with my existence.

Here’s to hoping. Really, truly.