Side note: I’ve actually been working on this post for the past 2 months. I’ve struggled with knowing what to say. Each time I would start to type it, I’d get stuck. Processing through all of this has been hard and it’s taken time. Now, I think I’m finally at a place of really working through everything and learning how to handle it all. I’m learning to accept my mental health for what it is. So, here goes nothing.
I have anxiety.
It’s something I’ve known for a long time but only recently got an official diagnosis for. GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER. I am living with generalized anxiety disorder.
I’ve honestly spent so long feeling like I’m suffocating. I constantly feel anxious and on-edge and as if something just isn’t right. It’s been that way for years. Something has always felt off and I can’t think of a time where it hasn’t, but in the past few months it’s gotten really, REALLY bad.
I honestly hit the lowest of lows with my mental health late June-early July. The beginning of the end, as I like to call it. The start of my anxiety REALLY spiraling out of control.
I crashed and burned so hard. I basically hit rock bottom. I was hurting. I was confused. Why was this happening? I had almost always struggled with some degree of anxiety, but never like this. Why was it getting so much worse now? I had exciting things happening in my life. I was finally in OT school pursuing my doctorate (a goal I had been working towards for the past few years). I had just moved to Texas (again, something I had REALLY been wanting). Although it was some major life changes that were kinda stressful, it was overall very exciting things. Somehow, even though everything seemed to be so incredibly great, it wasn’t. I hit my breaking point, I was hurting, I was struggling every single day, and I needed help. I just didn’t know how to get it.
My grad program offers free counseling services…3 sessions per year…
That doesn’t exactly get you very far. It’s better than nothing, but still. After those 3 it’s you insurance that has to cover it. I went once and it was horribly uncomfortable and awkward. Partially because I had never been to therapy before and partially because I didn’t mesh well with the therapist. I haven’t been again since we get so few sessions.
I’d honestly love if I could make therapy be a consistent thing because I feel like with the right therapist it could be very beneficial. Unfortunately, that is not an option. What am I to do when those 3 free sessions run out? My family has insurance that COULD cover part of it but I know my parents wouldn’t go for that. My parents aren’t exactly on board with the whole mental health thing. I’ve tried talking to them about it so many times for several years and they just don’t get it. My dad’s response is always something along the lines of “I’m not going to deal with you when you act like this. You can talk to me when you calm down” and my mom’s response is always something like “I’m sorry sweetie. Stop stressing so much.” But it’s not stress, it’s anxiety and I can’t just “calm down.”
October 28, 2019. The day that I finally screamed for help (metaphorically speaking. I didn’t actually scream but I’m sure you get the point). I had another really bad anxiety attack. That time it was different. I decided enough was enough. It’s the day I decided that I couldn’t keep living like that and needed to do something. It was time I took some control. So, I made a doctor appointment and HALLELUJAH I was able to get in that afternoon.
Honestly, I was terrified. I knew deep down that so much good could come from speaking up, but I was still scared. What were they going to think when I said that I was struggling with anxiety at the appointment? Would they think I was being dramatic? Overreacting? Attention-seeking? Making it all up? All of the above? Nonetheless, I knew I had to follow through. I knew I had to go for it.
And I did.
Generalized anxiety disorder. That was the diagnosis I left with that day. I finally had an official diagnosis. I finally had answers. I started on a prescription SSRI to take every morning and another prescription to take when panic attacks occur.
The first SSRI did NOT work. My anxiety actually got worse while on it. Not sure if it was just a really bad side effect or if my anxiety was just getting worse in general. Anyways, after over a month of things getting worse, I had a follow-up. My medication was switched to a different SSRI and the dose on that one was soon doubled. After that, things started to get a little better.
Right now, I am starting to see some improvements. I still have my share of hard days where the anxiety is all-consuming, but overall they have greatly decreased. I feel like I’m starting to manage things. Life is finally feeling better.
I know it’s definitely going to be a continual process of learning how to manage this mental illness, but I finally have hope…hope that everything really will be alright. “Everything will be alright” kind of became my mantra in the midst of my anxiety being at its worst. It became the thing that I would speak over myself, hoping that I would eventually believe that it’s true, that everything would be alright. Now, I’m finally believing that it’s true, that everything WILL be alright.