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Archive for the ‘anxiety’ Category

Anxiety & Me

nekonoai on Jul-31-2009

I’ve really discovered that I don’t take easily to change. Nearly every new thing stresses me out and gives me anxiety attacks, which are neither funny nor fun. The interesting part is that I can appear completely calm on the outside most of the time and nobody knows what’s going on inside of me. I have no idea how I’m able to pull this off.

Inside of me

Level one is an irritable bowel.

Since it’s always fun to be up all night with the runs and not get any sleep, this always seems to happen between 11pm and 4am. It’s been known to happen for up to a full week before the event that caused it is to occur.

I haven’t found a way to prevent or avoid this yet. It is completely stress related. I must secrete some enzymes when I’m stressed out that cause things to loosen up majorly. When it starts, I’m generally going back to the bathroom about 2 minutes after I came back to my room. Usually I just sit up until I can be fifteen minutes without having to run back. Then I get back in bed and try to sleep. This is really irritating when I have to go to work the next day.

Sometimes it happens during the day as well, but I really don’t mind that as much as I do the night time jaunts. I just deal with it.

Level two is nausea.

I get sick to my stomach. Easy as that. I eat nothing or very little to keep the feeling from getting worse.

I used to take Pepto whenever I’d get this symptom, but over time I’ve realized that I could just have the taste of pepto and I would be fine. Thankfully they make wintergreen mints in several brands. I keep a little box of the ice breakers version on hand to suck on when I get to this point.

A lot of deep breaths and music to get my mind off of it helps too.

Level three is perceived trouble breathing.

I’m not actually having trouble breathing, but I get the feeling like my air is being restricted. I’ve been told that it’s similar to what claustrophobic people feel when they’re in small spaces (like an elevator when it gets stuck).

When I’m at this point, I can’t stand for anything to be around my neck. Necklaces have to go, and I better not be wearing a shirt that goes up my neck like a turtle or mock turtle neck. Sometimes even t-shirts bother me in this phase.

In this phase I tend to do a lot of open mouth deep breathing and yawning in an effort to get more air. If you see me doing this, you’ll know what’s going on. Don’t yack at me, because the added talking starts to sound very overwhelming and can actually make the situation worse. If you know me well enough to be allowed to touch me (ie. If you’re a friend), you can rub me on the back if it’s not obstructed by a chair or car seat. Music also helps, so turn the radio on. The rhythm helps me to focus my breathing so it becomes more even, and also helps to ease my mind and gives me something to think about.

It’s kind of like hyperventilating, but for pete’s sake, don’t hand me a paper bag. 😛

Level four is gaggy feelings.

I start to feel like my tongue is too big for my throat or something. I get very gaggy and sometimes even retch or dry heave. This is when you know things are getting really bad.

At this point, a bottle of water or some other beverage would be great. I need to take a sip every time the feeling comes on until it goes away. If a beverage is not available, hard candy or my wintergreen mints will work in a pinch.

For pete’s sake, don’t ask me if I’m ok every few minutes. No, I’m not. Stop asking. Just get me the drink and turn on the music. LOL Music helps a lot for most of these things. Just something calming to focus on. Especially if it’s familiar music.

Level five is actual vomiting.

This has only happened during one situation before, thankfully (Feel special, Yaya!). I hate vomiting when I’m sick, so when it happens when I’m stressed, it’s even more distressing. Especially when some gets in my windpipe and I can’t breathe for reals!

 

I generally can make it to the bathroom or another appropriate vomiting location (I had to yarf in a parking lot once, which was not pretty as I couldn’t get rid of the stuff after, which makes me feel like going another round), just don’t get in my way.

 

Please bring me either a clean cup to get water out of the sink, or a bottle of water, and sometimes a wash cloth. Not for my face, but to put on the back of my neck. I’ve found that cool water on the back of my neck will stop the yuckies. And the drink helps too. Once you’ve brought me this stuff, GTFO. Your presence doesn’t do any good. Just leave me to my business and I’ll come out when I’m calmed down.

 

What causes this shit?

Really it’s any new situation. Going to a new doctor. First day of a new job. Going somewhere new on the bus for the first time. Taking the cats to a new vet. Meeting a new person. Sometimes even going someplace I’ve never been before.

 

I don’t normally get to level four, so you’ll know it’s extreme anxiety. Level three can be pretty rare most of the time. There have been times when I’ve skipped level three and gone straight to level four.

 

Why don’t I take drugs or something for it?

I hate taking pills. Everyone’s so used to having stuff pushed on them. I went to a doctor to discuss this and she gave me a prescription. I don’t want to take meds. I want ways of dealing with it. So I have learned little things that help along the way. I know myself pretty well.

 

Why am I bringing this up now?

For the past week, I’ve been in level one and two, and this morning I entered level three for a little while during my trip to work this morning. No, it’s not related to work. It’s related to something that is happening today that I am very anxious about. I’ll give more details either tonight or some time this weekend. I don’t want to jinx it and I’m trying to calm down over here. 😛