On The Edge, But Not Of Glory

This is an unusual time for me to do a post. For starters I should be at work right now but I’m staying at home today due to something I feel the need to discuss.

Anxiety.

For the past few months, I’ve been experiencing a lot of nervousness. At first I thought it was because I was starting a new job and everything about working and earning my own way was new to me so that was really to be expected. But as the weeks went by, that feeling of nervousness and being on edge didn’t subside. The bus ride to work would be sheer torture because the whole time I would feel so anxious. But the moment I sat down at my desk, the anxiety went away. More weeks went by and slowly the anxiety started to last longer. It would last up until lunch time and then go away again. That was June and now in September, I’ve had my first major anxiety attack.

As I was lying in bed last night, my heart rate started to increase and I could feel my bed shaking with every beat. I have no idea what triggers these waves of anxiety but I am determined to figure it out. Basically, after some deep breathing and sitting up in bed I managed to doze off only to wake up feeling physically ill. I struggled through the morning, ate a filling breakfast (big mistake when you’re feeling nauseated all the time) and walked down the hill to the bus stop. The bus ride into town is the worst part. I had to get off at the first stop in town because I couldn’t manage staying on the bus any longer. I went straight for the public toilets where I sat there with tears streaming down my face wondering how the hell I was going to make it through the day.

I made it to work 15 minutes late, turned on my computer and tried to get to work. “Tried” being the operative word. I just couldn’t function. My heart was pounding, the nausea was getting overwhelming, my body was shaking and I was feeling so hot that I had to hold my cold water bottle against my forehead to calm down. Fortunately, I work in the same office as my Dad and when he asked me how I was, no words were needed in order to see how I was. Needless to say, he sent me home.

I haven’t told my family about these issues that I’ve been having. I find it difficult to be honest with my family about these kinds of things because I feel as though I’m disappointing them. They have never had any kind of expectations of me so I don’t know why I do myself but I just have never been able to have deep down conversations with them.

Today I opened up to them.

As soon as I got home I called my Mum who lives 4 hours by car away from me. You see, my Mum has had mental issues as well. In 2007, she had to leave work due to depression and anxiety and I felt most comfortable talking to someone who actually understands what it’s like. As soon as she picked up the phone I burst into tears. I opened up about everything stemming from my anxiety to my eating disorder to when she left her ex-partner back in late 2007. I can honestly say that I have the best Mum in the world. She talked me through everything. She told me that she will be here for me in a flash if I needed her. She explained to me for the first time ever what her life has been like due to her anxiety and depression. She then started talking about something that I think we can all relate to. That, my friends, is control. Even though we suffer from the same mental illness, she handled it in a different way to me. Instead of gaining control of her life by engaging in eating disordered behaviours (for the most past) like me, she handled it a different way. But the moment she started talking about control and how there  are just things in life that we can’t control and that we need to just accept it, I felt a connection to my Mother that I’ve never felt before. She gets it. She just gets it.

When I hung up the phone, I felt relieved and yet saddened to know that my own Mum has been through so much. I have a new found respect for her 🙂

I spent the day trying to take my mind off of everything. I watched Jersey Shore (no shame. Snooki got punched in the face), had a nap and went for a walk.

When my Dad got home, he had no idea what was going on with me at this point. He just thought that I had some kind of stomach flu. Now, my Dad isn’t your average Dad. He’s quite a softy. When my Mum left in 1995, he took over the role of both parents and did everything for me and my Brothers. It is safe to say that I am without a doubt a daddy’s girl. When I explained to him what I’ve been suffering through, he sat down beside me, grabbed my hand and held it tight. As he was telling me how sorry he felt for me he started to fight back tears in his eyes. I don’t mean to sound “up myself” or anything but I am his pride and joy and I know that. I’m his only daughter and we do everything together. To hear that your baby is battling an eating disorder and is currently struggling with anxiety attacks can be quite heart breaking.

We sat there in silence as he held my hand and looked at me. Then he said, “You know I am so proud of you. I will be there for you whenever you need.” Just being able to hear words like this from people who love you can make such a huge difference to your state of mind. I have been told that I must tell my parents whenever something is bothering me no matter how big or small it is. This is going to be hard for me because I have never really done that before but I think it’s the start of a new kind of relationship between me and my parentals, that’s for sure.

I’m going to discuss possible medication with my doctor this week. For an entire year they’ve tried to get me on anti-anxiety medication but I’ve flat our refused. Now, I’m desperate and am willing to try it just so that I can possibly get the anxiety under control somewhat.

I don’t have any answers for this or any clue as to why I am anxious in the first place. It is obvious to me now that this is the reason why I developed an eating disorder and not the other way around. Right now, covering up my issues by engaging into eating disordered behaviours is just creating even more problems on top of what I already have. Quite frankly, I can’t be bothered with that shit anymore. It’s time to tackle the real issue head on no matter how uncomfortable it may make me feel. The time is now.

Have you ever suffered from anxiety? 

Do you have any tips to calm yourself down during an attack?

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Posted on 13 September 2011, in Anxiety, Family. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. The best tips I can give you about over coming anxiety attacks is to not try to over come them. They WONT hurt you. They CANT hurt you. It’s just sort of like doing really intense cardio and your hurt it beating fast, nothing ‘bad’ can happen. Trust me, ive been assured by plenty of doctors and health professionals lol. Also, remember that you are not alone, people suffer from anxiety all over the world. You could be experiencing this maybe just because you stopped using your ED? who knows? I’m on a small amount of medication that I can or cannot take for my anxiety and it helps a bit, its not a “fix” the problem kind of thing though. Therapy has helped me the MOST and is cont. to help me (ive only being working with my anxiety specialist for a few weeks now but i can see a difference). It might be helpful to figure out what is causing them, if your anxious during the day and repressing it? There are lots of good books out there about cognitive therapy and anxiety and it really DOES help. But learning to sit with the feelings of anxiety will help as well, dont try to ‘force them away’. If you talked more about what you get anxiety over I could help give you more advice on the subject but im not sure what kind of anxiety your describing. It’ll be okay though hun, hand in there most of us are in the same boat with you. I think anxiety and ED’s go hand in hand.

  2. Hey Katy… I’m so sorry to hear about your anxiety! It’s a horrible thing to experience, especially when it seems to come from nowhere. I’m glad you are open to medication – not that you necessarily HAVE to, but remember that there is absolutely no shame in being on anti-anxiety or anti-depressants. At the end of the day, if it is your quality of life that is being compromised, that they exist purely to improve it – so they are only doing a positive thing.
    I get anxiety every so often in waves, since I have been recovering. I had a bad stage a few weeks ago where I just felt constantly jittery and on the edge of absolute panic, no matter what I was doing. I actually think it’s pretty normal/common to experience when recovering from an ED – as part of the readjustment to ‘real’ life maybe? I don’t know. Maybe for me it was the realisation of not having that self-assurance the ED gave me to fall back on?
    When I do get these feelings, I try to just be with myself, like I am giving myself a hug – self comfort. Talk myself through it in a reassuring way, like ‘It’s all okay. I am alive. I am okay. Nothing else matters. I am okay’ It helps to repeat these things over and over and you start to believe that it will be okay, you just have to acknowledge the feelings and let them pass in their own time, riding out the anxiety wave if you like. And self-nurture if you can, even in the smallest ways.
    I am like you; my mother has depression too, but she has been fine since she was put on anti-depressants. It sucks that they have gone through it but it makes them SO understanding. And you feel so less alone and crazy. Not that it really means much but I think things like this may even be hereditary – it seems to be in my extended family.
    Are you seeing a therapist at all? (I can’t remember, sorry!) Maybe would you think of seeing one to help you talk through these things? I don’t know what I’d do without mine during these times!
    Much love xx

  3. I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with this — anxiety sucks! I wish I knew what to do to make it better / deal with it, but I honestly have no clue… I can’t even talk about it, because everyone just thinks I’m nuts. It’s wonderful that your dad is so supportive and that you’re going to get help for it, though.

    ❤ ❤

  4. Ahh anxiety, I know it well. I’ve suffered from varying degrees of anxiety and panic attacks for as far back as I can remember, and I know how much of a pain in the butt it can be. I think it’s great that you opened up to your family, and that you have such supportive and loving parents that can help you get through it. Talking to your doctor and discussing the possibility of medication is another good choice – if something can help take the edge off and make life a little bit easier, then it’s worth giving a shot… at least until you learn how to cope with episodes. I’m so proud of you, though, for not turning back to ED behaviors… I totally know what you mean when you say that you can’t be bothered with doing that kind of stuff anymore. It may seem like a tempting quick fix, but really, it only makes things worse in the long run. A malnourished body and brain have a harder time fending off anxiety, which isn’t exactly what we want. One thing that really helped me deal with anxiety attacks was keeping in mind that they pass and that they won’t hurt me. I remember making my anxiety so much worse by freaking out that I was dying or that something was very wrong, but if it happens now, I try to keep a level head and remind myself to breathe, and that it’ll pass.

  5. Hi Katy! I have recently (in the past 2 weeks or so) opened up to my parents as well, and my dad also had tears in his eyes. It seems that I have a more distant and strained relationship with my family than you do, so you are so lucky to have BOTH parents being so supportive of you! It really does feel good to know that there is someone who tells you that they’ll always be there for you, no matter what. I get this mainly from my boyfriend and also from my therapist – I don’t know what I’d do without them!

    I also suffer from anxiety. Typically from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to bed. I can’t fall asleep unless I take my anti-anxiety medication (Clonazepam, commonly known as Klonopin) which knocks me right out. Of course I wish that I didn’t need medication to quiet my mind and put me to sleep, but I have experimented with the help of my psychiatrist and this particular med has a very short half life, and does not build up in your body (yuck!!) like some other anti-anxiety meds do. So I highly recommend this med if you are thinking of trying one – it also brings a lot of relief whenever I have had actual panic attacks.

    I had a panic attack about 2 weeks ago, right before I opened up about a lot of things that were bothering me to my parents. To calm myself down, I went outside on my front porch, sat down on the step, and put my head between my legs and my hands locked over my head and breathed & breathed & breathed. Something about being in that position is very soothing, so there’s my tip!

    I hope you figure out what is causing your anxiety!! Maybe it is work and/or school-related stress? Uncertain about the future, social life, romantic life, etc…? These are simply issues that I have realized trigger my own anxiety.

    Take care 🙂

    Alli

    • Oh, Alli, thank you 🙂
      I must write the name of that medication down and discuss it with my doctor tomorrow! Thank you so much for sharing your own story.
      I think work has a lot to do with my anxiety at the moment. I think the fact that I work with people mainly over 40 and that I don’t have a lot in common with them plays a part too.
      I will try that technique next time! Thanks again, hun!!

      xxx

  6. such a beautiful post ❤ This connection with your mom is truly special, and having family that understands so well truly is a blessing 🙂

    you can do this ❤

    Scott

  7. Your father and I share a quality – we’re softies. Or maybe it is better described as caring about you, loving you and wanting you to feel good.
    The post causes tears to stream down my face, because I know this. How all of a sudden your body tightens, your mind goes into a undescribable state. You see the world, the environment around you – they are there, but it feels like you are not entirely present. Often I wanted to scream when I suffered from anxiety attacks, but not a sound came out. Just an intense scream within. There has been a while since my last anxiety attack, but Katy- I feel you. It is not fun, it is scary and makes you feel vulnerable to forces that is – as your mother said – out of your control.

    However there was something else that made me cry now, and that was the love this post expresses. The strength you can find in your relationship with both of your parents. It is beautiful that you now feel more connected with your mother, a new sense of togetherness with her. And your father seems like he was made of some unique material, with a way of being in the world that helps people up and forward ( you have that gift too, btw).

    I am very proud of you for opening up to the both of them, it is a hard thing to do. There is something about sharing struggles that intimidates me. Like I open up my soul in a way I am not comfortable with all. Why are we so afraid to show people all of our true colours? Not just the bright colours, but the darker ones as well. They are nothing to be ashamed of. People who love you do not get disappointed in you. Why should they? Because you are beautiful, strong and trying to find your way in this great and scary world? If anything, their love and respect for you only increase.
    I am also so, so, SO proud of you for not turning to disorded coping mechanisms, because that only makes matters worse. You do the brave – but challenging thing to face these anxious forces. That you are willing to deal with them, be open about them and seek help to change , while still holding on to your healthy habits is truely awesome. Give yourself a big hug from me and one from yourself.

    Hope you had a positive visit to the doctor Katy,
    love you.

  8. Katy!!!! *HUG* I’m sorry that you’re experiencing such unsettling anxiety- you are not alone hon, I have been there so I know how difficult it is to deal with. I’m proud of you, though, for facing it without using ED behaviors and being honest with your family about what you’ve been going through- I know how much courage that takes! I’m proud of you as well for recognizing that your anxiety contributed to you developing an eating disorder. I can relate to that as well- the anxiety was the root of my ED as well as my depression and other self-harm behaviors.

    I am also familiar with panic attacks- ugh, I wish they didn’t exist! I haven’t had a panic attack in over a year now, but I used to get them at least once a week. Over the years I realized that what helped me most in the midst of a panic attack was deep breathing, grounding (focus on sensations- hearing, touch, smell, taste- to distract from the overwhelming feelings), and most of all, trying not to judge myself for being anxious or get angry at myself. I have found that when I let myself become anxious about being anxious is just makes everything so much worse! Accepting that an attack is happening, reminding myself that it would pass, not blaming myself, and drinking water and breathing helped me a lot. Anxiety medication helped me A LOT, too, as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. You are such a hard-working, courageous, strong, and resourceful person, so I know you can overcome the anxiety just like you’ve come so far in kicking your ED to the curb!

    If you ever want to talk more about this privately, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via e-mail or facebook message. I’d be honored to talk more about what you’re going through b/c I have definitely been there and I think the world of you and would do anything to be a support to you! You’re not alone. ❤

    Keep us updated and remember that you are so loved and that so many people believe in you!

  1. Pingback: An Update of Sorts « Have a Slice of Katy Pie

  2. Pingback: A Reflection « Have a Slice of Katy Pie

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