There are days I struggle. Struggle so hard with depression and anxiety that my life feels like I am on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree spinning round and round but without all the laughing. Days where getting out of bed is a struggle. Where putting my thoughts and words on paper seems impossible. Days where I don’t feel like being funny or cheerful. Where just breathing seems like it is all I can do. Sometimes I just want the ride to make me happy and sometimes I just want to get off.
Lately, the days filled with anxiety seem to be getting more and more frequent which to me is odd or maybe I just didn’t notice them before. Maybe I was content to be quiet and by myself and didn’t seek out situations that forced me to be uncomfortable. My job both as a writer and as a nurse make me step outside that world and learn to be more interactive with people. And let me tell you, it is hard. But you know what? It’s ok. It is ok to feel uneasy and anxious. Meeting people at book signings is so hard. I don’t ever want to let people down because I am awkward and weird and laugh too loud and say inappropriate things like a 12 year old boy. Trust me, you can as my co-workers how many times I have said “That’s what she said” in a meeting. I am the worst.
I was recently told I was intimidating and I laughed. Me? Intimidating? I am the biggest softie around. But then I stopped to think about my RBF and my standoffish attitude sometimes. I could see maybe how that could be misinterpreted as intimidating when in reality, it was me being anxious or unsure of myself. It made me pause and think about how I want to live my life.
There is a sweet spot in my life when I wake up to face my day and the weight of the world has not come crashing down on me. Where it is quiet and I can think about mundane things like what to wear or if I need to pee. It is in that time that I think about how my day will go. Will I let anxiety run me? It is just like the time right before you step on the ride and decide if the ride is going to scare you or be fun.
Let’s decide to make it fun.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I decided to enjoy my spinning out of control life and just live. I am the Fat Girl Running and I LOVE Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. The experiment continues…
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…