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Sunday, November 1, 2015

ANXIETY


Have you ever had an anxiety attack? They're the worst. But it's even harder to explain what is happening to someone who has never experienced an anxiety attack. Anxiety is a hot button word now. People throw it around. Stress and anxiety. People love to talk about them. Everyone has stress. Most people have probably experienced anxiety in some form: before a big interview, a meeting, an event, etc. But actually suffering from depression and anxiety can be completely dehabilitating.

Earlier this week I realized just how dependent upon my depression and anxiety medications I am. I've been on them for a little over a year. Going on them to begin with was quite an obstacle for me. At first, I felt as if I had failed for not being able to get through my life without the help of medication. I felt that I'd let myself down and not been strong enough. I struggled with and still struggle with that fact. But I've accepted that at this point in my life, that is what I need. 

I went to refill my prescription last weekend and didn't think there would be any problems. There were. My anxiety medication prescription needed a doctor's approval, since I had only just refilled it the week before. I went to try to pick it up on Tuesday, after just taking my last pill that morning, and the doctor hadn't sent anything over. When I tried to call the doctor's office, I was on hold for 20 minutes while sitting in a gas station parking lot. I finally went in and got my drink, and came back out to try the call again. The office was now closed. In the two minutes it took me to walk in. I was already starting to feel anxious. So I did what I always do in this situation: no pills, go to bed. I went to my bed and just tried to breath, turned on some "Grey's Anatomy" and just left myself be for a while. That night I took a bath, read some of my book, and went to bed early. My solution for basically any bad day.

On Wednesday morning, I went to the library at school and had a full blown anxiety attack. From the outside, I try to make sure that people can't tell what is happening. I sweat like crazy, my thoughts are swirling, I can't stop my mind, my skin feels like it's crawling. Everything is racing. I started peeling off the layers of my clothes that I could. I just wanted to go home and get in bed. I went home, showered to calm down, and changed into new clean clothes. That always make me feel better. I feel best fresh out of the shower, like I've been renewed and can start the day again. I had finally gotten a hold of my doctor to send my new prescription over. The receptionist, bless her heart, made me feel stupid for having to refill it again so soon. "You couldn't possibly taken thirty of these pills in 10 days," she told me, laughing. "Yes ma'am. My anxiety has been through the roof these past few days and I have refilled my prescription twice this month. I'm doing the best I can, and I'd appreciate you not laughing at that fact." Well, that's what I should have said. Instead I just told her that I really needed my prescription that day and could she fax it over. She said she would.

I headed over to the pharmacy where everyone knows me by name. I feel like that is either a good sign for their employees that they keep track of all their customers, or just means that I am there much too often. And once again, the doctor had not faxed over the form to refill my prescription. I almost started crying. I called the doctor's office again and had them resend it. The nice pharmacist woman said she would call me as soon as she was able to get it. I left and went to get a hot chocolate and read for a while, trying to calm my nerves and fend off the tears that were going to begin falling soon if I couldn't control them. This is what always happens when I go too long without the pills. I can't move. And I also cry a lot. About nothing and everything. It builds up and then gets let go. 

Luckily, a few minutes later while I was waiting for my hot chocolate, I got the call that my prescription was ready. I headed back to the pharmacy and I was so appreciative of them helping me out that day. I still haven't cried in their presence so I consider that a success.

This experience has lead me to the realization that I don't want to be so dependent on my medications. Surely at some point in my life, I'd like to go off them. Right now, I'm not ready, not even close to being ready. But in the meantime, I've decided to slowly wean myself back down to one pill a day. I also am focusing on myself and how my habits can change my anxiety levels. 

I've decided to make exercise a priority: I did a yoga sequence (begginners of course) tonight, along with my weight lifting. Hopefully I'll add some cardio to the mix soon. Cutting out so much TV. Trying to focus on what needs to be done to move my future forward. Changes have to be made in my life. I need to be able to deal with people better. Deep, calming breaths will be a mainstay. Candles, meditation, I'm willing to try anything. I will get through this. I am going to be okay. My life is going to be okay. I can only control myself and that is what I am going to focus on: me.

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