The Beast Known as Anxiety
Google describes anxiety as:
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
In fact, in looking up anxiety on Google, you can find out some very interesting tidbits about it. The word’s origin comes from early 16th century French/Latin and it’s peak usages include right around 1825 and then in 2010 and beyond. So it’s apparently not something new that has afflicted us. It’s been here for quite some time. Nowadays it’s considered very common and afflicts over 3 million people, hitting every age bracket but especially those who are 14-60 years old. Wow.
Anxiety has not only been around for well past a century, but has afflicted many people with little discretion of age.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I personally have lived with some form of anxiety since back when I returned to college, nearly 13 years ago. I didn’t know that it was anxiety back then, but I faced the torturous sensations of it all the same.
As I was procrastinating studying for an upcoming exam via watching TV on the couch, I got myself so worked up that I felt my body start to go out of control – feeling as though I was going to hyperventilate, my heart was going to beat out of my chest, hot pin pricks on my arms like insects crawling all over me, my brain just would not stop spinning – and so I jumped in the shower with ice cold water streaming over me, fully clothed. That, back then, snapped me out of it. I had one more incident like this during college, but nothing for many years after.
After getting married in 2008, I started feeling that anxiety rise again. During one such time I was sitting on the couch with my husband, watching TV and relaxing (clearly TV is not stimulating enough to entirely silence my mind) when I felt my heart start racing. I questioned if this was all in my mind, so I asked my husband to listen to my heart. He agreed that it was beating faster, so off we went to the ER. Now I’d learned, by this time, that ice cold water or going outside during a cold day would stop the panic “attack” that I felt. But of course, once I told them in the ER that I was nauseous, they would not allow me to have any ice cold water.
It was really quite a horrible experience at the time, being forced to stay in the waves of that panic attack for what seemed like forever. Finally they gave me something through an IV (as I was slightly dehydrated so they gave me fluids as well) and I felt better. I had no idea what it was, was simply told that I was not having a heart attack and was released. They did not tell me anything about anxiety, that it was likely that I had it or that they’d given me Ativan, a benzodiazepine (benzo for short), in my IV that quelled my sensations and calmed me down.
After consulting Dr. Google several years later, I figured it all out. Of course, this came after another harrowing ordeal with anxiety at a Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concert that my husband had surprised me with tickets to. Unfortunately, after arriving there and realizing that our seats were in the middle of the aisle, I worried myself into a storm about needing to get up and use the restroom and bothering those watching the concert on either side of the aisle…so we left the concert and I cried the entire ride home, feeling utterly broken as a person for ruining such a sweet and wonderful surprise.
YOU ARE NOT BROKEN.
Now that all happened in my life before my “experiment” with SSRI’s and my pregnancy (and subsequent battles with the lesser known sister of PPD – Post Partum Anxiety). So there was more rough waters ahead for me that were to be far worse than any that came before…but take heart:
IT WILL GET BETTER.