Written by JL
My day was hectic as usual, nothing abnormal other than being tired from a very long period of work weeks of 12+ hour days. It only took a few people, first thing in the morning, asking me questions all at the same time that my space seem to constrict and my vision started to blur. Great, I was going to pass out! I didn’t but WTF?
To that day, I felt invincible and all my successes were a result of working hard, efficiently, and to the best of my abilities. This came with great rewards and personal satisfaction. I always had something to prove not just to myself but others.
The incident resulted in what I thought was a burn out. I had burnt out once before but this was different. So I thought stress. True stress would cause this (I thought) but it wasn’t like what I had experienced in the past as being stress.
After a few days off work and a visit to the Doctors’, I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. A “disorder”! That couldn’t be true. I was fearless! I am young! When revealing my history to the doctor things did come into light. What I was feeling most of my life was forms of anxiety. Here I thought they were symptoms of my feeling out of place, shyness, nervousness, and some levels of stress. These were more prominent in my younger years up until I went to University. During that time I had several episodes of severe chest pains which again I attributed to stress.
Prior to my first diagnosed anxiety attack, none of the anxiety symptoms stopped me from accomplishing and/or doing anything. That was to change to some degree after the diagnosis.
I became more sensitive to my surrounding environment and experienced difficulties with driving, elevators, flying, waiting in lines, large and small crowds, small spaces, watching movies, strange odors, unfamiliar tastes, unsuspecting sounds, and more. These became potential triggers to which I always had to plan my escape route in the event of an attack. Needless to say, I didn’t venture too far from home for a while.
After a few years, with medication, I have my anxiety under control. I still fear attacks in certain situations which cause some slight anxiety which I normally can accept. The attacks themselves are down to a few a year vs. a week.
Image credit: JL