I guess this is an invitation of sorts, an invitation into my world. My truth.
Living with anxiety sucks. Panic disorder sucks. Depression sucks. Mental illness sucks.
I had planned to do a post with a happier tone, one about chasing dreams and accomplishing goals…but this is supposed to be my reality. Right? So this is what I’m sharing with you. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit that I suffer from an anxiety disorder. I feel so silly at times saying it out loud, but it’s true…it’s something that I can never truly deny, at least not anymore. I’m not perfect and I don’t have it altogether, I am human…I am flawed.
Today it happened.
Out of nowhere it hit me. My heart felt like it was freezing in my chest, my breathing staggered, my legs felt wobbly, I was terrified. No pain, just thoughts of every worst case scenario flying at the speed of light through my mind. I felt out of control. I wanted to jump out of the car and run…somewhere, ANYwhere– I didn’t care. I just wanted to get out of the car and off the freeway. The familiar feeling grew bigger and bigger inside of me, I was having a panic attack. But why? What had brought this on? I had a good day, no stress, my thoughts were clear. It didn’t matter the reason. All that mattered was that it was happening, and I had to either let it control me or take control over it. My boyfriend tried to distract me, to help me return my thoughts to the present moment and I used every tool I had learned in therapy…I was able to conquer it this time, but will I be successful the next time it hits?
I was diagnosed with panic disorder back in August of 2013, I went through extensive therapy to help “cure me”…I lost friends, my job, my freedom…2013 – 2015 was a rough two years for me. And only my family knew what was going on, I felt so alone during that time. I hid it from the world, it was easier that way. Once the agoraphobia kicked in I actually preferred it that way. Being able to hide behind the comforts of home and my mothers bed, brought peace to my soul on those days I just didn’t think I would make it. I spent so many days and nights in and out of the emergency room, racked up thousands in doctor bills because I thought I was dying each time one hit. It rocked me to my core. I didn’t understand it, when I prayed all I could ask was “why me”? At times I didn’t want to live anymore, because I was so tired of people looking at me like I was crazy, I was so tired of having 5 panic attacks each day, every day. I was drained. I was afraid that I would never be normal again, that I would never be the girl I was before. It ruined me. It took what was once an independent, carefree social butterfly and turned me into an introverted homebody who became afraid of everything. I cannot begin to tell you what this was like….but one day I will finally share my story.
With time, a lot of therapy, even more prayer, and a huge leap of faith I am able to live again. I’m not free of anxiety, but I am able to cope much better than I was before. I still deal with panic every single day, it is exhausting how much energy I use each day to keep my hazardous thoughts at bay. But I cope, I make it work and shamefully I hide it from the world.
I look forward to the day when I feel comfortable enough to share my story, share how it is to live with panic disorder and how I find ways to fight through the hysteria. One day. But until then I want to tell everyone who deals with any mental illness or anxiety disorder to keep pushing, it will get better…you will overcome…WE will overcome.