It is a normal day. Nothing exciting. I can feel my heart starting to race. My breath quickens. The feeling of dread comes over me. My chest feels tight. I start to bounce my leg to alleviate that feeling of wanting to flee. This is all too familiar and comes on without warning. I know exactly what is happening and I cannot stop it. It will control me even if I don’t want it to. Hello anxiety my old friend. Thank you for showing up unannounced and bringing your friend panic attack with it. Anxiety and panic attacks are no stranger to me, unfortunately, but what happened this time around was different. This time around, I suffered from severe vertigo. Someone stop the ride. I want to get off.
I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks since I was a teenager so when I feel that anxiety starting, I just try to use my breathing techniques or a quick walk outside to calm myself down. But the vertigo? Where did that come from? The first time I got it, it was sudden and violent. I stood up from bed and my whole world spun so quickly that I had to grab the wall to not fall down. It was terrifying and I was immediately sure I was either having a stroke or I had a tumor. There could be no other answers. Also, would the paramedics come in and find me naked on my floor? All I could think was please let this stop so I could at least not be naked. The vertigo left as soon as it came and I was dumbfounded. When it happened again the next day at work, I thought maybe it was an inner ear thing. But when it kept happening? For almost 2 weeks? That is when I went to the doctor. Only to be told to go to the ear doctor because of course, there was nothing wrong that my primary doctor could find. That must mean a tumor. I was partially convinced I was going to be told I had months to live when I went to the ear doctor. After a round of some testing, I was told the one thing I was not expecting. The vertigo was stress and anxiety related. Excuse me? Wait. That could not be it. I left thinking the doctor was full of it. It had to be a tumor. There is no way this is stress or anxiety induced. I was frustrated. The vertigo disappeared and I was left wondering if it was all in my head.
Then this past weekend, I was sitting at home minding my own business when I started getting texts about work. The room started spinning. What the heck? I was totally fine all day till I started feeling anxious. I sat there and realized I did not have a tumor. I had anxiety induced vertigo. Ugh. So that is a fun new level to my anxiety. I thought about what the ear doctor said about lowering my stress and I want to laugh. Not possible right now but thanks. So now to monitor these symptoms and see how to handle them. Anxiety and I are old friends and it can show itself in weird ways. I know I am not alone.
I write about stress and anxiety and panic today because I want you to know if you suffer, you are not alone. Most of us do not talk about it and we should. We should tell people how we feel. We should reach out when we are not ok and get the help we need. It is ok to tell someone you are sad, depressed, stressed or anxious. I went through a period in my life that the anxiety was so bad, it cause me to not want to leave the house and going to any social situation was so painful I just could not. I would throw up before going to work because I had to leave my house. But I would plaster on a smile and nobody knew I was suffering with such debilitating anxiety. I should have said something. I should have reached out. But along with the anxiety came some crippling depression and I felt like I shouldn’t tell anyone. I want all of you out there to understand something. IT IS OK TO FEEL LIKE THIS. This was a hard blog to write, but I am always honest with you and if this can help someone else realize it is ok, then that is the purpose. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I almost had to be found naked by paramedics and thought I was having a stroke or a tumor but I didn’t die. I am Fat Girl with anxiety induced vertigo Running and I am not alone. The experiment continues…
I have the same issue…I have always had anxiety (my first real panic attack was driving home from college for the weekend my freshman year, and I thought I was having a heart attack while driving on the highway, so I pulled over and called my mom to send an ambulance). The vertigo set in about age 40. Of course, so did my divorce, and that stress set it off. I can now feel it coming, and when I do, I take homeopathics to calm it before it gets severe. Sometimes I’m down for a morning, too dizzy to function, but I’ve been able to mostly eliminate that.
Just wanted to say I feel you! Keep up the great training and as a bigger girl who sometimes feels like giving up running because I’m too slow, I really appreciate your inspiration to keep going.