I’m publicly addressing this (as if it wasn’t obvious enough)…I have anxiety…MAJOR anxiety/OCD. (THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG!) Never have I ever experienced anything of the sort until this past January. While everyone else was shotgunning beers and then coordinating their “get fit 2012” plan of action, I was petrified of everything and anything…with no reasons as to why…which then lead to OCD.
It was as if a switch went off or I had visited a foreign country and been cursed with a constantly heightened state of nervousness. Not the kind you get before you go on stage or before riding the world’s tallest, fastest roller coaster. It was the kind you feel (I would assume) if you were really being chased down by Jason in a slasher movie.
There were probably several build-ups which contributed to my anxiety/OCD onset, but I’d rather not relive them here.
Instead, I’d like to give you some facts and ways to cope if you too indeed are experiencing the same prison of thought patterns and overstimulation.
If this is the first you’re hearing of anxiety, then just go back to your first day of Kindergarten or before you met a blind date. That’s a normal kind of anxiety.
Anxiety can be generally defined as: immense feelings of worry, fear, or nervousness. It becomes a problem when it begins to interfere and consume your daily life. There are several different types of anxiety but I’m not going to bore you with that either.
My anxiety is more OCD based. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a debilitating disease in where an individual constantly obsesses over or performs ritual actions due to a chemical imbalance within the brain. I’ll admit I’ve had certain OCD tendencies all my life (like perfectionism), but it’s never interfered with my daily life.
This is no joke. While some people struggle with anxiety all their lives, I never had until January. I still cannot overcome the fact that I have constant feelings of nervousness, fear, and/or sadness at times. It’s like an ongoing game of cat and mouse. I’m the cat, anxiety is the mouse. No cheese is able to lure the mouse in, because it’s lactose intolerant or something like that.
It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever encountered. It’s prohibited me from sharing my whole self with most I know, as well as limited me in terms of my friends/job hunt.
I never used to ruminate about the terrible, awful things occurring in the world. People die every day, wars are fought every day, natural disasters happen every day. I can’t even watch television or read a newspaper anymore because my brain is “hooked” on these types of events, which then provides fuel to the anxiety fire.
It’s pretty unbearable, but I’ll tell you what has helped:
1) Calming teas. ones that include nettle leaves, dandelion, valerian, chamomile
2) ELIMINATING caffeine. This was huge for me. I’ve never been a coffee drinker until Summer 2011 and by winter of last year it had exceeded 3 cups a day at times. Caffeine makes your thought patterns more intense, which makes sense as to why it would aggravate anxieties.
3) Therapy. I don’t even care how many people judge people that “do” therapy. It’s helped me to see why I am the way I am and how I got to that specific point. It hasn’t cured me of anxiety, but it has helped me cope a lot better than crawling under the covers and taking sleeping pills has.
4) Keeping busy. During the onset of my anxiety/OCD, I was pretty much jobless. While I still am jobless, I have found a multitude of tasks to keep my mind focused on the positive and not letting the wretched cat get the best of me.
5) Social interaction. This is an obvious point, but one worth mentioning. I basically lost my main friend set last year as I hit the big “24”. It was pretty earth shattering, but after a few months of pouting, I realized nothing would change if I didn’t allow it to. I joined a few outside groups and have also made several friends online. (I love all of you!)
6) Fish Oil & B Vitamins. Usually when someone has anxiety, there are obvious deficiencies. I never had officially gotten a test done for what I was lacking, but I experimented on my own (being the witch doctor I am) and found that when I took fish oil and B vitamins the world was marvelous.
7) Avoid any anxiety triggers. For me, this was anything to do with doom and gloom. I know that’s fairly impossible these days with most news focused on deaths, betrayals, and general evils, but I am able to shut most of that out right now.
8) Don’t take what the doc tells you as “The Holy Grail”. When I first experienced anxiety, I went to 3 doctors. I was convinced there had to be a why or a circumstance which had caused this. None of these doctors were of any help and prescribed anxiety drugs. If you know anything about me, drugs and me do NOT mix very well. I hesitate over taking a simple antibiotic! I did my own research and scared myself half to death with the bevy of side effects of some of these prescriptions. NOT FOR ME. I guess you can blame my OCD for that one!
9) Exercise & Eating right. This is another no brainer, but without exercise, anxiety increases tremendously. I’m lucky because I naturally crave endorphins! I wish I could bottle them up and breathe them in whenever I was feeling anxious! Eating well and often is a HUGE part of it too. If you’re surviving on cheeseburgers, it’ll just deplete your body further of nutrients. Remember, certain foods may act as drugs too.
10) Tell one person close to you about your anxiety. Anxiety isn’t something you’re willing to celebrate or yell from the rooftops. It’s something you want to lock away and throw away the key down the Mississippi. Certain people detected changes within my personality when this began happening, so it was difficult for me to even speak to them. I of course was conned as a “bitch” and wasn’t able to reveal the why as to the change. I ended up telling my mother and boyfriend. Without that, I don’t think I would be alive right now. (NO JOKE.)
Phew! Anxiety over writing this post…has now…subsided! I hope you all continue to accept me the way I am…a chocolate loving, endorphin craving fiend! 🙂
Have you ever dealt with anxiety? How did you overcome it?
Peace, love, and stay calm and carrying on!