Our next guest post is from Mystie. I met Mystie through Hot Momma’s Hip Hop in the summer (this girl can DANCE!). So while I was completely intimidated by her moves, I was also blown away to find out she’s a TWIN MOM (#hero).
She recently posted on her IG about her struggles with Anxiety and I really wanted to share that with you here. So please read her post, giver her a follow and let us know your thoughts below!
There’s been a lot of talk around stress and anxiety and it’s had me thinking and pondering how I could share my in-depth story, the stuff that some of my closest friends don’t even know, but I’ve been stuck. Stuck wondering how I could put my wacky world into words and make it relatable for all of those who suffer with anxiety.
I decided that sharing MY anxiety details and going from there would be best. I say MY anxiety with emphasis because EVERYONES anxiety presents differently, happens for a different reason, lasts a different length of time, causes different personal issues, thoughts and ways of coping in life.
So, here’s my story. I was in grade 8, sitting on my friends bathtub ledge while she did her hair and got ready to go meet the boys we had crushes on, when out of nowhere I felt slightly dizzy (vertigo – but I didn’t know it at the time) and then I blinked, shot up to standing and it was gone. However, that small, millisecond of dizziness threw me into a panic. I didn’t understand why it happened and so I started to freak out. I was then in full panic mode. My mom picked me up from my friends house and tried to tell me that I was okay, but I continued to feel extremely anxious and stressed for some time.
A few months later and I was in the kitchen washing my hands at the sink when I spun around to grab the T-towel to dry my hands and it happened again. This time the panic made my left arm numb and tingly and I actually gave myself a legit fever. I stayed home from school the next day and just tried to calm my racing thoughts and anxious heart beat.
Fast forward to many years later – my anxiety presented itself in new ways- I struggled to be in crowds, malls, class, grocery stores, out for dinner, far from home, the movies, basically everywhere I went I was having anxiety. Sometimes extreme anxiety and sometimes just slight moments of anxiousness. It took me a long time to come to the conclusion that my anxiety was now a fear of getting anxiety. I didn’t fear the produce in the grocery store (lol) or the clothing stores in the mall, I feared being out somewhere and having a panic attack.
So, just like that, it started to happen. It happened in line at the grocery store (because I felt like if it happened I couldn’t just leave my stuff on the conveyer belt so I started to panic just as I set my stuff down).
It happened on a bus driving in Moncton for Argos cheer events, it happened on the train going to the many concerts I later enjoyed (thanks to liquid confidence – more about that another time – and no don’t drink to solve your anxiety issues but if it’s a night out and it helps that’s not so bad) and it happened laying in bed while at the many sleep overs I took part in.
See, it’s important to note that when I wasn’t anxious I was having so much fun, so I didn’t stop doing fun things entirely but the more I ran into anxiety during these times the less I wanted to go to things.
Fast forward to meeting Andrew, I hid this from him for a long time. I would avoid all meals with his family, all events that involved crowds (blue jays games etc) and I would go incredibly quiet and awkward during things we’d try to do together (ie. taking the train to go out down town) I left him at a bar while I ran out to cab home because I was anxious, I went home early from many dates due to anxiety and I wasn’t myself with him because anxiety was a huge part of who I was (and still is).
I was prescribed Ativan, now let me get something straight – I am not pro nor anti anxiety medications, I just personally work to avoid them. With my Ativan in the 12 years I’ve had it, I have taken it a total of 5 times. I call my Ativan my security blanket. Just knowing I COULD take one if needed would ease my anxiety enough to function. I used to not be able to go anywhere or do anything without carrying Ativan. I even made Andrew put Ativan in his pocket for me on our wedding day and I carried it in my bouquet at EVERY wedding I’ve been a bridesmaid in (those friends may not even know this).
Then, after going through many panic attacks, missing many events with friends and developing a heart condition directly related to the stress and anxiety, I became pregnant. I did puzzles during pregnancy to try to shut my brain off and be as relaxed as possible. I faced many days with anxiety – a mix of your standard hormonal anxiety, my typical anxiety and holy shit I’m going to be a mom anxiety, but I knew at this point that Ativan was not an option. I was not willing to take it pregnant (even though I didn’t take it anyway, I couldn’t convince myself all was good by just carrying Ativan) so I stopped carrying it altogether.
Now, today, I still have anxiety on and off, depending on many factors – my stress levels, situations I’m in, my monthly cycle and many others. But for the most part I have fought those fears and put it behind me.
Anxiety is a HUGE part of who I am and how I got to where I am today, I’m proud of that, but now my sole focus is my boys and when I start to feel my typical anxiety I remind myself to be strong because I have to be strong for my boys, and that works for me (most of the time anyway)!
Ultimately for me to tell you every detail this would be a novel, so in short, I hope to help those with anxiety, especially those who really don’t know the trigger of their anxiety and don’t understand it. It’s ok. Keep your head up. Fight through it, you ARE stronger than the silly things your mind is making you think.
I’ve always been a social butterfly so not many would know how many times I’ve been in a conversation thinking about how I couldn’t breathe and having a panic attack in my mind.
So my anxiety never made sense to me, and it probably never will. But I know it makes me, me and for that I am thankful! I’m a firm believer of fighting your anxious fears and counting all the times you get through a fear successfully.
What does that look like? For me it was going into the grocery store and buying one item, it was going to the mall and going to one store… I went little by little and promised myself to be proud of all the things I was accomplishing and not dwelling on the moments that my anxiety crept in. Anxiety can tackle you down but you have the strength to get back up and show it what you’re made of. Deep breathing, and soothing distractions of interest (ie. reading, puzzles). Lots of water. Healthy eating. Exercise.
And believing in yourself. Heal your anxiety don’t dwell on it. ❤
Lisa’s Note – if you’re struggling from anxiety/depression, there are so many places you can go to seek help. Please don’t suffer alone.
Anxiety Canada – https://anxietycanada.com/
Depression Hurts – http://depressionhurts.ca/en/information/resources.aspx
The Lifeline Canada Foundation – https://thelifelinecanada.ca/resources/anxiety/