For about 13 years now, I have been suffering from anxiety. It started when I was about 20 years old. My aunt, whom I was very close to, was going through major depression and medical/mental health issues. At that time, I took on the role of contacting facilities, speaking (and often arguing) with doctors and generally trying to find the best car possible that I could find for her with the government ran insurance that she had. I was also taking some college courses at the time. Needless to say, my plate was a little more than full.
I remember sitting in English class. A warm flush came over me and suddenly this intense panic and fear took over my entire body, soon followed by a fainting feeling. I remember sitting there at my desk, silently trying to calm myself. After a few minutes, the feeling diminished and I was able to collect myself enough to go to the teacher and excuse myself from class. Walking down the flight of stairs from my classroom was terrifying, for fear that I may pass out and fall down them. When I finally got to my car, I sat there, for what seemed like hours, but in reality was just minutes. What was going on with me? I drove home, when looking back now probably wasn’t the best of ideas. Still living with my parents at the time, I kept this event quietly to myself. I felt that they would probably think I was over exaggerating, and it just wasn’t something I wanted to deal with.
During the middle of that night, I woke up from a deep sleep, feeling as if I was being choked by something. I sat straight up in bed, gasping for air, becoming more and more terrified by the second. In all honesty, I truly felt as if I was going to die. At this point, I told my parents, whom were understanding but also a little confused about the entire situation. For the next seven nights, I was awoken the same way, sometimes more than once. Unsure as to what exactly was going on, I went to the doctors. He looked me over, check my heart (I was having palpitations as well) and came to the conclusion that I was having panic attacks, which was an anxiety disorder.
My body could no longer handle the stress it was enduring and it basically was fighting back. You bastard of a body! Since I was unable to control these random attacks that felt like attacks of death, I was placed on medication.
At first I was a little ashamed to be taking meds. I didn’t want to admit that I had this issue. I’m not really sure why. Maybe because society sees it as a weakness or a mental disease. I learned to accept it, and slowly decreased the number of attacks I was having. It’s been 13 years and I still suffer from them from time to time, not nearly as severe as when they first started happening, but equally as annoying. It honestly depends on what is going on in my life and how much my body is willing to handle.
So, what’s the point of this post?
Don’t be afraid or ashamed as to what is going on with yourself. It’s not a sign of weakness to admit you need help sometimes and there is no shame in taking medications if you need to.
No one is a super hero, although sometimes we like to think of ourselves that way. Not everything can be done on your own, and that’s perfectly okay.