I am not exaggerating when I say that over the past few consecutive weeks my life has been as scattered as a jigsaw puzzle.
It began in early January (but even in the fall a bit too) with general feelings of malaise, unease and dark clouds above my head. Somewhere along the way in mid-late January I found myself very unusually and chronically fatigued; I could not shake this strange sleepiness even when I would go to bed at 7pm. Each day I felt like I needed to go to bed at 2 in the afternoon. I was plagued with some serious sadness and my drive and upbeat enthusiasm for life was clouded beyond belief. I was the epitome of apathy. For the first time in my entire life I admitted to myself that I was feeling really depressed.
This was only the beginning.
One evening around 7pm I went out with my brother to the store and while driving I slowly began to feel as though I was going to fall asleep. Then I started to feel as though I had virtually no energy to hold the steering wheel, let alone drive. At this point I began to panic - what was happening to me? I was finally able to park and I stayed in the car as my brother ran in to get what he needed. I started crying frantically and essentially found myself having the absolute worst panic attack I have ever experienced. My legs, hands and face went numb and my right hand was all cramped up, which I later discovered occurs when you hyperventilate. I was certain that I was going to die if I didn't get help in time. When my brother came back he called my mom and her and her boyfriend came and took me to the hospital.
It gets worse.
I was mostly calmed down upon arrival at the hospital and decided I simply must be iron deficient. I was told I was iron deficient last year, my levels simply must have gotten worse. In a nutshell, the doctor basically told me I should go on medication for anxiety. I felt terribly misunderstood.
When I got home I felt awful. I felt like I was going to faint constantly, I couldn't stop crying and this depression felt a hundred times worse. The next day I got a blood test and waited very anxiously all weekend to find out the results on the Monday. They'll tell me I'm anemic, I'll get my levels up, and then I'll feel much better.
On the Monday I went to the doctor's only to be told my blood work was perfectly fine. Shit. Furthermore, I was told once again that I should be on medication for anxiety. My family doctor told me repeatedly that I have had anxiety for many years (which is true, though never like this). I felt so incredibly alone and terrified. I was trying to explain to him that something must be causing this anxiety. This doesn't just happen. But he only nodded and told me medication was the way. My refusal made him frustrated I think.
Then things got really bad.
Each following day I was in a state of severe, agonizing anxiety from the moment I would wake until I would go to sleep. I did not know what was wrong with me, which was the foundation of the thoughts stirring through my mind. I would think endlessly, "What is wrong with me? Am I going to feel like this forever?" and I would just keep digging a deeper hole of mental angst. I was constantly feeling like I was on the verge of a panic attack. My heart was beating frantically all day and my stomach was burning with nervousness. I kept referring back to the one time in my life that I endured an experience just like this, two years ago. It lasted a few weeks and went away. Comparing my experience this time to that of two years ago eased my concerns of this lasting forever.
It actually got so bad that I completely lost my appetite for a couple of days and not only for food, but the thought of doing anything made me feel extremely nauseous. This was the worst part of it. Actually, I found myself thinking that the worst part of feeling so anxious was everything I was feeling. The mere thought of going for a walk, going to school, writing in my journal, talking to my mom or even listening to music, made me feel like I was going to throw up. You name it, it would turn my stomach. I developed insomnia, too, which was an added bonus. The state I was in was the prime epitome of our primordial fight or flight response (you simply do not want to sit and read a book when adrenaline is furiously blazing through your body). Everywhere I would go I wanted to flee. Except, you see, that which I was trying to flee from was my mind. Yes, this was very uncomfortable.
There is a difference between panic attacks and anxiety attacks. Panic attacks are typically short lived yet extremely intense and anxiety attacks intensify over a period of time accompanied by excessive worry and can last for hours. What I was experiencing day in and day out were anxiety attacks. They would last for hours and hours.
For over a week or so I was having continuous anxiety, and then it began to dissipate and would come in waves or strides. I was finally beginning to gain some control of myself where I could think clearly for longer periods of time. I could even eat again. Last week I was actually feeling more like myself, which was monumental, as I was terrified of this feeling lasting forever, though I would still have bouts of anxiety. I was able to begin to help myself by using herbal tinctures such as Valerian and passion flower and magnesium supplements to relax. I discovered a wonderful tool called Emotional Freedom Technique that really decreased the nervousness in my stomach. I have also found talking things out really helped too.
Everything has just been very overwhelming.