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I have lived with anxiety for as long as I can remember. It takes a hold of me at the most random times. I feel like I never have control over it. Some days I’m fine in my little bubble while other days I want to curl up in bed. I am going to share with you My Living With Anxiety – A Daily Struggle.
Living With Anxiety – A Daily Struggle
I was always an extremely shy kid who never ‘grew out of it’. In high school, I started having panic attacks in class, especially Spanish class. I’m pretty sure it was because of the fact that I had no friends in there and I was the only white girl in a class of Spanish kids trying to get an easy A. I could barely remember anything in that class and have no clue how I actually passed it. It got to the point that I was always in the nurses office and was even able to work it out with my teacher to be able to take the exam in there. Some days, just walking into the cafeteria with my friends would have me turning around and walking right back out the door.
My panic attacks consist of a racing heart, overwhelming fear (of who knows what exactly), fast breathing, shaking, sometimes crying, and eventual hyperventilation. I would get a tingly feeling all over and start to feel numb while hyperventilating. In school, the nurse would have to clear the room to help me calm down. I’ve spent many days in the nurse’s office with my feet propped up on pillows.
I developed stomach issues because of all the anxiety.
I had a note from the Dr to keep meds for it in the nurse’s office so I could take them as needed. The nurse knew me by name and would even ask me how I was doing if she happened to pass me in the hallways.
I didn’t realize it at the time but I was suffering from Social Anxiety, or social phobia. The crippling shyness I had as a kid had turned into this. I always felt like people were looking at me and God forbid they even looked like they are going to walk towards me and, even worse, TALK to me!
As I got older, it seemed to get worse. I felt like, as an adult, you weren’t “allowed” to feel this way. You are supposed to talk to people and hold conversations. How are you going to hold a job and not interact with people??
I don’t drive…anxiety and fear have taken that from me. Oh, I took Driver’s Ed in high school over summer break one year. I was a wreck the whole time but I made myself do it during the summer so it was just a 2-week course and done. After the course was over, I get all the way up to the DMV to get my license and the law had JUST changed in FL that I had to have it for at least 6 months or until I turn 18 (whichever came first). Forget it. I never drove after that and I never even went back to get my license.
I couldn’t drive even if I had a license. The fear and anxiety take over and it’s just something I can never ever in a million years see myself doing.
When I was working and pregnant with our first baby, the anxiety was so bad. The bigger I got, the worse the social anxiety got. People always wanted to talk to me about pregnancy, what are we naming her, can I touch your belly…etc. Having a stranger ask to touch your belly is already awkward enough, but just imagine how it is for someone who is already dealing with a mini panic attack just because of their presence! The hubs and I worked together and some days riding to work was awful because I was trying to hide the fact from him that I was having a very anti-social day. “I-can’t-do-this-today! I-can’t-do-this-today! I-can’t-do-this-today!” was all that ran through my mind on the way there.
I didn’t go back to work after the teen was born until she was almost 3 years old. Even then it was only part time and it was extremely hard to get back out into the ‘world of people’. I had become very comfortable being at home and not having to deal with anything. My stomach issues weren’t so bad anymore either. I only worked for a little while before situations came up and I left.
I am perfectly happy being a hermit, but it’s not fair to the kids or hubs.
Now that I am a Stay At Home Mom, there are times where I don’t leave my house for days, even weeks.
Hubs will go shopping or have something to do and take any of the kids that want to go, too. When I go out, there are times where someone talks to me and I turn bright red like I’m embarrassed. I can tell by the way they look at me that it’s happening, along with the fact that my face feels like it’s on fire. I can’t help it and I don’t know how to control it.
I usually put blinders on when I’m out as if I’m in a bubble. Of course, I don’t go out alone because I don’t drive, but it’s also because I feel more comfortable with someone. Hubs can’t pull up to the drugstore so I can run in alone and pick up my tampons. It’s just not an option for us and so he has become very comfortable picking up any of those personal items the teen and I need.
The hubs has to work full-time outside of the house plus do any of the grocery shopping and other errands. I take care of everything inside the house. Thank goodness for a very supportive hubs. He has been with me since 16 years old so he has seen me go through most of this so it isn’t new to him. It’s when those thoughts creep into my head while watching him sleep next to me while I am laying there wide awake – “Oh my God, what will I ever do if anything happens to him?!”
Most of the time, I don’t even go out to mailbox right out front unless someone is with me. How sad is that?! It’s ridiculous…and I KNOW this! But trying to tell someone with irrational fear and anxiety to just “get over it” or “the only way to get over it is to put yourself in those situations” is STUPID. OK, you have a fear of spiders? Oh, just hold a tarantula for a few minutes and your fear of spiders will go away! Yeah, no, not really. It just doesn’t work that way.
Sometimes I have panic attacks from fear of having a panic attack.
Make sense? If I have to be put in a situation where I know I will be uncomfortable, I start having a panic attack because I think I will have a panic attack while in that situation. It is so frustrating!
Over the years I have been to the ER 3 times for anxiety. Not once did any of the doctors offer help or give me any tools to help manage them. It was pretty much “find out what’s causing it and eliminate it”. How do you do that when you aren’t panicking over anything in particular?? Sure I can stay home and not people that day but what about those random moments at home when I get those anxious feelings that turn into panic attacks?
I can be watching a movie and they come out of nowhere.
I even insisted that it was something other than panic attacks during the last ER visit that the doctor actually did X-Rays on my chest to make sure it wasn’t. I was totally fine of course. When he asked if I have a lot of stress at home, I told him no..because I didn’t have anything major going on. He asked what I do…I’m a homeschooling SAHM. He gave me that look, like “Yep, That’s It! Just do some breathing exercises and you’ll be OK!” Well, it’s kind of hard to do that when you feel like you have an elephant sitting on your chest, but OK Dr.
For a while now I have had that ‘elephant on the chest’ feeling. It gets so bad that it actually hurts my chest from being so tight after while. This also causes the social anxiety to be worse along with everything. It has driven me crazy and so I searched on Amazon for something that could help me out. I found NaturalCare Anxiety Relief Tablets. They are quick dissolving and I place a few under my tongue when I feel those dreading feelings coming on. What drew me to them is they are homeopathic and dissolve under your tongue. Swallowing pills is another thing I have a hard time with. They don’t eliminate the feelings, but they give me a sense of calm and relaxation. Just enough to take the edge off and try the breathing exercises or lay down until it passes.
I also use my sleep monitor while having an attack. It helps me by using the sounds of the ocean and monitoring my heart and breathing rate.
Another day I will share with you the fact that 2 of our nerdlings are showing signs of anxiety/social phobia. It has definitely made me feel horrible because I feel like I am to blame for that. I didn’t have anyone that I knew growing up act this way so where did I get it??
Anxiety and overwhelming fear is a daily struggle for me and many other people in this world. It’s not something that can be easily controlled and we need all the support we can get.