Anxiety has become a common disorder in the society we live in. With the demands of fast paced living, it’s hard to keep our bodies in a state of calm. I have always suffered from anxiety; although, I didn’t know there was a name for what I had until being diagnosed with it after my divorce.
I had my first anxiety attack when I was seven years old – to this day, I remember every moment of it. I assumed I was just a worrier. Assuming that I was so different from everyone else, who seemed to be in control of their lives. My worries often consumed me, and I turned to anything that would make me feel in control of my life. I’ve had eating disorders to control my weight, a smoking addiction to calm my nerves, drugs and alcohol to relax me, and exercise to release stress.
When I turned 30 years old, my marraige ended and so did any control I though I had of my life. I completely broked down; I couldn’t sleep and working was next to impossible considering I couldn’t stop crying. I was afraid of everything – What if I lost my job? What if no one will ever love me again? What if my car breaks down? What if all my friends hate me? These and so many other “What ifs” ran through my brain 24/7. It was exhausting and I didn’t know how to turn it off.
Feeling hopeless, I made an appointment to see my doctor. To my suprise he told me I was suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. He prescribed me Paxil for the anxiety and Trazadone for sleep. He then recommended I read “Feeling Good” by David D Burns, MDbefore sending me on my way. After a couple of months I was feeling better, or at least I thought so. Having a diagnosis for the way I felt gave me an excuse for my craziness. I had a mental disorder, so how could I help the way I acted. It wasn’t long before I was back to using my previous coping mechanisms with the addition of my happy little pill Paxil.
The next 5 years I battled with my anxiety, and before long I felt completely out of control again. By now I had switched my medication, since Paxil was taking away too much of my “normal self”. I was now on Cipralex, which didn’t help with the anxiety as well, but at least I was able to feel other emotions. My life seemed impossible. I had a job I hated, a boyfriend would was manipulative, and I was running a side fitness business that was exhausting me. In search for something, anything, that would make me feel better, I called a psychologist.
Little did I know that this was the first step to actual recovery. It didn’t happen right away; in fact, it took me four years to get to where I am now. Each session I had with my psychologist made me see myself differently. I began to feel like maybe I wasn’t so different from everyone else. It took work and a lot of courage, but I was able to leave a secure, but miserable job, leave my abusive relationship, and begin to learn who I was.
TRUST ME when I say, it was not easy. I made/make mistakes but I feel I have come to a place where I can manage my anxiety. It isn’t gone; I still worry, and I don’t think that will ever change. However, I make better decisions now and I take more chances in life. I shed the things (and people) that make me upset, and I tackle issues with courage and strength.
I don’t believe there is a cure for anxiety, but I do believeI have the power to manage it, instead of letting it manager me.