Today I wanted to share something about me that’s a different side of me. I don’t share it to a lot of people, but I still think it’s worth talking about because I know I’m not alone.
I remember the first time I had my first anxiety / hypochondriac episode.
**For those who may not be familiar with what a hypochondriac or having hypochondria is, the definition is: abnormal anxiety about one’s health, especially with an unwarranted fear that one has a serious disease.
The first start of anxiety
We were still living in Hawaii, in my husband’s family’s house. I had ate a piece of left over salmon for lunch and shortly thereafter, I had felt like I was getting itchy and as if my throat was getting tight.
In panic, I told my husband to take me to the ER. When we got there, they gave me a shot to counteract it. The shot affected me in a quick second and I could feel the affects causing me to get drowsy immediately.
I then had a panic attack and started to have cold sweats and told the nurse that I was about to pass out.
A few days at the follow up doctor visit, they ran allergy tests on me and found out that I was NOT allergic to the two types of seafood. The doctor assumed that I had a reaction possibly because it was a bad piece of fish.
I have since then, maybe ate seafood 5 times in those last 3 years. Even though my doctor then said that I could have any seafood as my hearts desire, I still worry.
Then and Now
It’s been 3 years since that episode and I’ve had anxiety and a mild case of hypochondria ever since. Most of the time they correlate, but sometimes they don’t.
Mind over matter and anxiety always gets the best of me.
Not long after that, we packed up and made the big move to Las Vegas. I left all of my family and the life I knew for 30 years. Here I am, with us now being a family of 5, and I am still struggling with all of it.
There are many forms of anxiety. Mine stems from a lot of stress, over-worry, and probably not a lot of self care.
My hypochondria is just as bad as my anxiety, if not worse. I always assume that something bad will happen, and that is a HORRIBLE way to live.
If I start to feel light headed or dizzy, I get anxious that I might pass out. If I get any type of chest discomfort, I immediately think I’m going to have a heart attack. If my throat seems to be a little stuffy or tight, I assume that I’m about to have thyroid issues. That is my hypochondria kicking in.
It’s embarrassing, consuming, and frustrating.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could go back to my “old” life, the life before all of this came about. Where I could go about my day and do things on my own with the kids BY MYSELF and not worry. Not worry about something bad happening to me or them, or over thinking a situation.
It’s to the point where I have forgotten what it feels like to NOT have anxiety.
A little over a year ago I talked to my doctor about it and she offered two suggestions: a daily pill (BOY are they QUICK to offer drugs here in Vegas), or seeing a counselor.
I tried the pill once and I did NOT like the way it made me feel, whatsoever. It made me feel a little loopy (is that a word) and reading the side effects were downright scary!
I also saw a counselor for a few months and although it felt nice to talk to someone, I don’t know if it was helping me any and it was costing me a LOT of money. So I had to stop.
Ways to cope
It is truly an ongoing battle that I fight every day. If you deal with anxiety or are close to someone that does, you know that it’s not something that you can just “turn off.” I’ve been incorporating some of my own methods that are helping me to “deal” with everything and I’m going to share some of these suggestions with you.
I think the first step is acknowledging it. I find it easier when I accept things as they are, and acknowledge that it will NOT go away over night. Anxiety is a REAL and a serious condition. I believe you are almost setting yourself up for failure, when you try to “brush it under the rug” or downplay your emotions.
Realize that YOU ARE HUMAN. You are allowed to be imperfect and to have flaws. We can’t expect ourselves to be so put together ALL the time. Know that what you are dealing with is common and you are not alone. By understanding that part of you, you can then move on to things that you can do to better equip yourself on how to handle it.
Keep yourself (somewhat) busy
When I found out I was pregnant with Keira, I was completely overwhelmed. I worried on a daily basis on how I was going to handle 2 little ones being so far away from my family. And even though I do worry and have these moments were I stress about things, I know Keira was also a blessing in disguise.
I say this because having two little ones keeps you BUSY. The girls are a great distraction. A lot of the times, I spend so much time making sure that the girls are taken care of that I don’t have time to let my mind wander. I find that the more time I have to think and stress about certain things, the worse I get. Give yourself a to-do list to keep things to do. Even if the tasks seem mundane, sometimes something like re-organizing or cleaning helps. Just don’t overdo it.
Find some time for yourself
Make sure that part of what keeps you busy is doing things for yourself, doing things you WANT to do. Reading, walking, or go the nearest Starbucks to grab a coffee and people watch. Whatever the case maybe, find something that you get to do by yourself that you enjoy.
Recently my husband and I had agreed that twice a month I would get a couple of uninterrupted hours to myself. He likes to relieve his stress/tension playing Xbox so he doesn’t have the urge to get out of the house like I do. But every month, going to get my nails done and shopping at Target by myself is an amazing re-charge. I also take walks and read during breaks at work when I can.
Surround yourself with the people you love & be grateful
You are who you hang out with. This is a 1000% true. It’s very hard for me with most of my family being away, but I spend a LOT of time face-timing them. I do it on a weekly basis and honestly don’t know how I would survive without it.
Look at your social and work circle and analyze. There may be people that may not be the best type of people to associate yourself with. Look for the positive ones that uplift your spirits and don’t weigh you down. Talking about it to others can help. The good ones will listen and be there for you in any way that you can.
Do good for others
For as long as I can remember, doing things for others gives me GREAT joy. Listen and really be there for others. I find that even though I don’t have much to give, I do what I can, when I can. Imagining the joy on other people’s faces when I do something that reminds them that I am there for them makes me feel good. Doing good for others (in my opinion) helps heal your soul.
Stay away from the negative
If seeing or reading about all the bad things (and there’s a LOT) on the headlines freaks you out, don’t even bother. Granted, sometimes its unavoidable and there are things that we should stay current on. But reduce your time. Don’t watch it every night. Sometimes not knowing is better.
We also spend a lot of time “scrolling” on social media. Who do you follow? Do their posts bring you joy? Or do they make you question how you are living your own life? Do you find yourself comparing what others have to what you don’t or wish you did? When you are with people who thoroughly enjoy life and cherish the wonderful things it has to offer, it allows you to appreciate yours that much more.
Again, I don’t work in the medical field and some of these tips may not work for others. But these are some of the things that help me deal and cope with my episodes, and I hope that it will help others. I’m fortunate enough to have a great support system around me and I try to keep them as close to me as possible. Find those few that really GET you and push you to be your best self.
Never think that you are alone in this journey, you are NOT.
Do you have things that you do to help you your anxiety? If so I would love to hear them in the comments. Thank you for reading and have a blessed day!