Anxiety: Good Days & Bad Weeks

As of January 28th, it has been exactly one year since I had my first panic attack. Since June 12th, it has been exactly eight months since my last panic attack.

Where I was a year ago was a very scary place. I still have not conquered those damn bridges, but I am learning everyday how to live with anxiety. I have my good days and I have my bad. Don't get me wrong, there are way more good days than bad. But sometimes those bad days turn into a bad week. This is my current situation.

Even though I have managed to control my anxiety enough to not have a panic attack, there is still more progress to be made. Like, the headaches, the feelings of 'what if' or dying. There is still the overwhelming feeling when I am stressed or the fear of getting anxiety that could possibly turn into a panic attack. Sometimes I get a stomach ache or I am so exhausted from the anxiety of a bad day I just want to sleep. But, this happens. I remind myself all the time, "Hey, you have anxiety, its okay, your managing it, everyday can't be perfect, everyday will be different, but you can do it." I spend a lot of time talking to myself like a child but it helps.

I mentioned having a bad week. Well, currently, I am on day six of my bad days. Each day hasn't been bad from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed, and I haven't had a panic attack. But, each day has been a challenge.

Starting with Wednesday, I got super overwhelmed about the snow storm we had just had. Never being scared of the weather before, this is all new to me. I still drove through it but it was nerve racking. Thursday I was okay, but exhausted from the anxiety the day before. Friday, I was still exhausted and could feel the tension in my neck. I also got a tad bit overwhelmed at work with the traffic we had. Normally, this wouldn't bother me but it did this day because of the bad days I was having previously. But, I knew I would have the next three days off to relax.

On Saturday, we drove to Cleveland. We all know at this point it is NOT my favorite drive. It was foggy and misty and I started to feel very...blah. We went to Rocky River, then to downtown Cleveland, then Lakewood, then Beachwood. By the time we got to Beachwood I was so exhausted from the anxiety that I slept on the way home. That night I had a huge headache so I mediated. I worked out, did yoga and went to sleep.

Yesterday, we went to the movies and I drove. It was so foggy, I couldn't see around me and I felt trapped. I hated it but I pushed on and drove anyways. When we got to the movie theatre I started to freak out, "what if someone shoots the place up like in Colorado", "Can they trap us in here", "It's really dark", "We're too high up", "I'm scared", "I wanna leave". But, I sat there, took some deep breathes, told myself  I was gunna be okay and watched the movie. Realistically, I was relieved to leave.

I didn't say much after we left and Sergio knew why. By now he knows whats wrong. He offered to drive but, I knew I had to. I drove home and when we got home I was so exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed and dizzy I needed to lay down. I took some ibuprofen and a nap. The rest of the day I was feeling under the weather from the anxiety-coaster I had been on. We went to bed and I tossed and turned all night. I couldn't sleep. I recall waking up at least four times. When I woke up this morning, I had a headache but I knew I had to workout, eat, and figure this out.

Currently, I am feeling better than I did the last five days. I am taking a break from my phone, cleaned the house, took a bath, did my hair, worked out, made some soup, took something for my headache, and now I am writing this. I will be okay. I am going to mediate, do some relaxation yoga and maybe walk outside. It's finally sunny and these gloomy, shitty days do not help my anxiety at all.

The moral of the story is you can have good days and bad, you can have good weeks and bad, but no matter what its okay. Everyone has them. Even people without anxiety have good days and bad. A year ago, I would have slept all day everyday, cried a lot and even had panic attacks. But knowing that I can keep it under control and stay calm tells me its getting better and in another year it will be even better.

Without me telling you this story, you wouldn't know about my bad days. I get asked all the time "have you gone over the bridge?", "No, I haven't". Bridges, airplanes and elevators are not my priority. My priority is living everyday and being able to manage my anxiety on my own. Figuring out my triggers, focusing on self help, learning to live in the present and not the past of future. Trying to differentiate anxiety and just being scared.

But, in the end, I know this is not a forever thing. I will be okay. I got this. I am strong and I will continue to push through. Never judge anyone on their progress when you don't understand their battles.

Signed Opinionated Fashionista

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