Living With and Through Anxiety

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I know first hand how devastating anxiety can be. I have experienced anxiety and panic attacks. I have had a close family member experience it in an even more intense way than I did and I was right there, trying to help them get through it.  It often can be all-consuming. Day and night.  I understand now that every one experiences it in a different way. It can also be closely tied with depression.

While I didn’t experience the depression aspect of it, I did experience the hopelessness. For me most of this was a new feeling. I couldn’t articulate how I felt at the time, but it was fear and despair running in my mind. When it first occurred for me I immediately sought help from my primary care doctor. That is typically how I handle things. When I feel like there is something wrong with my health, I get  checked out by the doctor.

When I saw my primary care physician, she knew something was wrong as she had known me for years. She gave me a low dose, small amount of Xanax to use if I felt like a panic attack was coming on.  I was truly against using it. I had heard so much negatively surrounding that med. But…with my mind being utterly consumed and my body feeling on edge, I decided to try a half of a pill. For me, this didn’t work. It made me feel woozy and I didn’t feel like I was functioning well. I had to go to work. I kept the bottle but didn’t use it.

I read everything I could about anxiety and panic attacks to see if I could do anything to make it better. I tried changing my diet some, adding foods that are supposed to help, limiting others like caffeine,  engaging in  exercise, listening to soothing music and more.  Some of those things did help. I also got very deep into scripture and listening to different preachers that I like. That was soothing to me, but I was still struggling.

Each of us have different things that will trigger anxiety. For me it was traveling out-of-town, worrying about my kids health, among some others.

I wrestled with my faith and this condition. I was very hesitant to go on another medication. I had a visit from some friends from church that convinced me that it was okay to take meds if I needed them. It’s no different than if I was dealing with a physical illness and needed meds.

After about one and a half years of struggling, I was finally put on a low dose daily med that really helped me a lot. After a couple of weeks I really felt good. More like myself.  My family member that dealt with severe panic and anxiety ended up on numerous different meds. Some helped for a minute others made it worse.  Everyone responds differently to meds and to other treatments such as therapy.  You will likely have to explore a few options to find the right “things” or combo of things to help you.

Over the past couple years some very stressful events in my world occurred and I did have to increase my med and that has been going pretty well for me.  During those highly stressful times I was also introduced to essential oils. I was extremely skeptical about them. I was given a few blends to try for anxiety and after a few weeks I can say they did help me.  I continue to use as needed. I don’t know if it’s kind over matter or what…but it does seem to help.

When things would get really bad for me, I would have to remind myself that this feeling won’t last forever and I remember that each time anxiety or panic washes over me, it eventually does flee. I will feel like myself at least  for a little while.

I am now at a point in my life where I am mostly feeling good. I do still have moments where things are not great in the anxiety department but I know I have gotten through it before and will again. I still use a daily med, I pray, use oils and I have a cup decaf green tea every day. For me all this helps. For you it may be something else.

If you are struggling with anxiety I want to give you hope. I have witnessed first hand the severity of this struggle. I know the physical and mental pain that is all too real. Don’t give up! Pray, read, avoid listening to the news for a while (I feel like that can be a trigger for many), maybe disconnect from social media. Find the things that elicit a sense of calm for you or  that provides you with a distraction.   You will get through this!