on dealing with anxiety

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It was only 9 a.m., and I had already screamed at every single member of my family and had just broken down in tears. I could see in my husband’s eyes that things had gotten bad.

“I see the way you look at me, like you don’t like me very much right now. I don’t like me very much right now either, but I don’t know how to feel or do any different. I feel out of control all the time.”

He wrapped his arms around me as I cried and cried. And then he gently told me that while he knew I had an appointment in a week or so to talk to my doctor about my anxiety, but that he thought maybe we should talk to her about doing something NOW. I could only agree. I talked to my doctor on the phone, and after I described how I’d been feeling, she gently suggested that I start taking medication that night, so I could be on it for several days by the time my appointment came around.

As I took that first pill, I felt more hopeful than I had in a while, even though I knew it might take a while for the medication to begin to help.

The last few months have been very hard for me. I am not generally a person who yells at people or regularly breaks down crying, and it had begun to happen a lot. It was like I was walking around all the time at stress level 8, and every small setback, even things like my kids refusing to put their pants on or my inability to parallel park, would trigger explosive rage or tears as my stress level hit 10 again and again. My whole body vibrated with tension. My muscles in my head, neck, and face were so tight, my teeth hurt. And I was having to take melatonin every night just to slow my racing mind down enough to fall asleep.

I know it’s normal for people who are preparing for a big life change like a cross country move to feel tension and stress, but my feelings had become overwhelming past the point of my control. I felt awful most of the time, unable to find bright sides or hope, unable to feel anything but scared and angry and sad. Not a good way to live.

Within a few days of taking the medicine, I was sleeping much better, but still feeling very easily triggered. We have eased my dose up a little bit, and now that I’ve been on it for longer, I feel maybe 70% of my normal self? I hope to get to feeling even more back to myself as I am on the medicines longer, and my doctor says if I’m not feeling 85% or so in a month, to let her know. Already, I’m not screaming at my family constantly. I haven’t cried in days. I am so glad I had people in my life who encouraged me to get help.

And I’m sharing this with you because we don’t talk about this kind of stuff often enough. First, you feel bad because of the anxiety, and then you feel bad because who wants to admit that they keep finding themselves yelling at the people they love most, blinded by rage and fear, falling apart at every turn? But that stuff wasn’t ME. That stuff was anxiety. And for me, this anxiety was a sickness that needed medicine.

And I want to talk about this so that anyone out there reading who is feeling awful most of the time, who is feeling panicky and fearful and rageful and wired, knows that it’s not just you. You don’t have to keep feeling terrible all the time. You don’t have to be ashamed to ask for help. And you deserve to feel better.

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8 thoughts on “on dealing with anxiety

  1. I’m a fellow anxiety sufferer, and just wanted to applaud you “going public”. Anxiety is a very hard thing to undergo, but I think being open about it can be even harder. But how else can we help others like us? Because I know that realizing you aren’t alone is HUGE when your mind is crazy. So thanks. And I hope you feel better soon. That’s all.

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  2. I am so happy that your husband knows what you are going through, and is trying to do anything to help. I pray that you find healing, comfort, and grace in this medication. I am so glad you shared your story with every one. It’s not easy at all.

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  3. You are tight, we don’t talk about this stuff often enough. Stress, anxiety, depression, can be completely paralysising. I am glad you have a husband and a doctor who understood and helped and hope you feel yourself (completely) soon. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. “It’s OK to not feel OK.” Someone told me that once and now I’ll pass it along to you.

    Anxiety is terrible. I’m sorry you’re feeling like this and hope better days are in the very immediate future. I’m so glad you have a supportive partner in J.

    Sending you love from NYC. Jen

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  5. Well done for speaking up about this! You are not alone and it’s good you’re taking the medication, certainly helps make sleeping a lot easier. Hope you feel better :).

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  6. Thank you for being brave enough to talk about your anxiety! I also struggle with anxiety and depression. I am going to a therapist that has helped me tremendously. I am so glad you were able to get help! I hope you’re back to feel like yourself 100%!

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  7. I hope you continue to feel better and better. I’ve always experienced anxiety but after the birth of my baby, I developed severe post-partum depression & anxiety – – and the day that I had the thought of how much better everything would be if my baby and I were dead was the day I saw my doctor and started taking meds. For me, it was also important to pair the meds with regular counseling and the combination has helped a lot. Baby and I are now almost 9 months post-partum and we are doing great! I still see my counselor every 2 weeks but I’ve tapered off the meds (though, I still take melatonin every night because sleep is critical). Take care of yourself – – and now that I’m a mother, I know how hard that can be but it’s so important. You cannot take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first.

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