The second half of the title pretty much says it all. Anxiety sucks. Big time.
(I’m going to be talking about a fair amount of personal stuff here, so if you just don’t want to know, or feel it’s tmi (nothing gross though, I promise) I won’t be offended if you stop reading at this point.)
Yesterday was a bad day for me anxiety wise and it has carried over into today due to a rough night. Around 1pm yesterday, I started to feel really unsettled. My heart was racing a bit and I feel twitchy and nervous. I immediately tried to pin point a reason I was feeling that way, but honestly, there wasn’t a concrete reason. I wasn’t stressed about anything happening that day, my health was fine, I’d slept well and was supposed to be having a chill day after busting my butt doing things like scrubbing walls the day before.
In therapy they teach you to identify what is bothering you and argue back against it. Basically you figure out the source of the stress, figure out exactly why it is causing you stress, and then argue back against it with logic. Like if I’m worried about an event I’d figure out what parts are freaking me out, and then either find solutions for each individual piece or tell myself why I can, in fact, handle whatever comes up. The problem I was facing yesterday was being unable to figure a reason why I was getting worked up. I tried to tell myself I was fine, that nothing was going to happen, that my brain was, as my husband tries to remind me, lying to me. (Believe it or not, hearing that is incredibly powerful. As much as I’d like to think I’m 100% in control of my own mind, the reality is my brain chemistry does get off and I can’t always will it to behave. Hearing that it’s not my fault and it will pass is often extremely comforting.) No dice.
So then it just kept escalating. My breathing got irregular, I kept wanting to cry and then I did cry. My body did this thing where it feels like I can’t move. It felt like I was held down to the couch by heavy weights. My arms could move. I could do things like use my phone and text, but that was it. I needed to get up and get my rescue medication. I needed to get start moving around period, sometimes it helps dispel the anxiety (or sometimes it’s makes it worse, it’s a gamble you take), but I couldn’t. So I started texting my husband, and he called me and eventually just talking to him started to calm me down and I could move again and start to feel better. I still had a low lying hum of anxiety running through me, but the edge had been taken off and I could start to function again.
From there I was able to have a mostly normal afternoon. I cleaned the animal cages, which gave me something to do and then my girls were home and I was busy keeping them entertained. I was also mentally exhausted. I had a moderate tremor in my left hand that came and went a bit and my energy level was very low. To help me feel better again, the kids were taken to local drop in daycare center for dinner and my husband and I went out for burgers. The place we went has a tendency to help me chill out. I have no idea why, but I just seem to be able to relax there. Afterwards we went for a walk on a local trail by a lake, and (don’t judge me) played some Pokemon Go while we were at it. The overall combo had me feeling much better. I even took the dog out for a walk after we brought the kids home.
Then it got closer to bedtime and my bladder issues were flaring from some of the physical activities of the day. I won’t go into details, but flares involve a lot of discomfort and pain that make it hard to sleep. So I was exhausted, but having difficulties falling asleep and about 20 minutes after I did, my almost 4 year old woke up screaming. She would go back to sleep between 1 and 2am, and then it took me another hour to sleep myself. I tried to sleep in this morning, but my body refused to let me. It does that sometimes, I wish I knew why.
It’s about 3:30pm today and I still don’t have my bladder under control and lack of sleep always makes that worse. I had another mini meltdown over the discomfort and exhaustion around noon, that my husband was once again able to help dispel. I truly do to know what I would do without him. It’s hard to explain to friends, and even family, the degree to which anxiety has a physical effect on me, so I don’t have the ability to just call someone up. I don’t hold it against anyone. I realize how frustrating it is to hear someone freaking out and not have any solutions. Anyway, because of my pain and stress level, I’m missing out on seeing a movie with my kids this afternoon.
It hurts when having anxiety (and other health problems) means I miss out on things I want to do. I hate bailing on people and it’s hard for me to make too many plans. Practicing self care for myself often means I have to take something off my plate, even if it makes me sad to do so. The consequences of pushing myself too far, especially in public, can be bad. If I come to the end of my rope (and that can happen suddenly) I will freak out and act inappropriately. I don’t physically hurt anyone, but I can be super irritable and lash out verbally. I can write more about that another time if anyone is interested. Sometimes I end up extremely depressed over staying behind and end up crying over it. It’s self-pity, I know. I should try to get over it, but it’s all the more difficult when you already aren’t feeling great.
So that’s a little taste of what it can be like for me when my anxiety gets the better of me. It’s not fun, and it’s not fun to admit to or talk about. I wanted to put it out there though, in case it helps anyone else understand what I (and people like myself) go through sometimes. It’s a tough road to go down and any little bit of understanding goes a long way.