While I will be honest in saying I am a little apprehensive about divulging the information I am about to due to how personal it feels to me, it may be somewhat of a release for me. And if throwing caution to the wind helps someone else going through what I am, then even better.
With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future.
I live now.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I made an appointment last week to see my doctor about the severe anxiety I have been experiencing. It has really begun to eat away at me. At first it started out only in situations that would warrant a bit of anxiety, but then began to creep into my body at times where I was feeling nothing but peace the moment prior. There were times where I could be relaxing on the couch watching tv after a long day and I would feel my stomach start to tense, my hands begin to tingle and shake, and my heart beat faster. It would get to that point that all of my internal panic would manifest itself in agitation and bitchyness towards my husband.
I always know when a panic attack is coming. It creeps in slowly at first, starting with something as simple as my dropping a fork on the floor. A small amount of frustration (or none) for most people, but you have to realize (as most mothers can agree with) at that same time I drop the fork I am in the middle of preparing lunch for two children screaming on the top of their lungs and banging tiny firsts on my glass table top. My frustration and nerves build like a small volcano. I can physically feel my blood pressure rising. I had to learn quickly at quite the young age to bottle my emotions. It has now become natural and habitual to hold in all of the feelings that are fighting to burst through me. It makes the anxiety attack that much harder on me, I used to use crying as a release but there is not much time for crying when you have so much to do for two other humans. So I continue to let it build and fester.
If an attack is happening I will most likely leave the room in search of a quiet place and breathe, quickly, often while battling off the many random thoughts going through my head. I have the hardest time finding a quiet peace within myself, I never have been good at it. I calm my shaking hands, and jiggle my arms and legs in hopes that the heat and tingling I am feeling will go away. Usually it doesn't and because of that this odd fear comes over me. I feel like my body goes into flight or fight mode for no reason.
All of this makes the every day chores of being a mother harder than they should be.
Especially since I hide how I am feeling 80% of the time- from everyone.
Recently though an addition has been made to my ever constant anxiousness. The annoyance and overwhelming feeling of being around crowds of people, it ranges from being in a grocery store, to WalMart or even friend's homes. I enter a confined area and feel the tension begin. I look around at all the strangers that I don't know and for some reason they begin to aggravate me. If someone is walking too slow in front of me I get angry, if someone is swearing around my kid (even though I myself am guilty of that. shame on you mama!) I want to scream. I hustle through whatever store I am in, grab my items and get out of there. My body feels like a ticking time bomb of stress and I push my poor family through the door and out of the place before we have even had a chance to enjoy being away from the house. That is usually the whole reason for going out to begin with, to get me out of the house. And once I get out all I want is to go back in and hide from how annoying I percieve the world to be. And like I had said before, I never used to be this way. I was such a social bubbly happy go lucky person. Strangers didn't bother me, I paid no mind to the amount of people in one enclosed area. Now it is all I pay attention to.
I have been missing out on alot of great opportunities because of how I have been feeling inside and it really bums me out. I complain continually about not having places to go or friends to see but the truth is- I do. I do have opportunities once in a while and half the time I agree to these plans and then the day of back out. I used to think it was just because the effort of putting myself together and gaining the energy after a long day with the kids was just too much (and to a degree this is true). But I now believe it is simply because I cannot handle "the outside world". I honestly refer to anything outside my dwelling as "the real world" due to how little I am actually out in it.
After explaining all of this to my doctor she smiled and asked if I had ever heard of agoraphobia. I had but would have never in a million years placed myself to be someone who was afraid of people and confined areas. I was not fully aware of what it actually meant, and once I did some research of my own I realized, yep that's Kelly. While mine may not trigger fear it instead elicits a great deal of irritation on my part.
I have made excuses for my isolation, it takes too much effort to get ready, I am too tired, I don't feel like it, I don't want to be around that person, etc...
This was not me a few years back, I never made excuses to get out and have a good time. And I wanted to be around everyone! But I am restricted now, and I am happy to say that starting tomorrow I will be going on medication to hopefully fix this problem. I need to gain my life back and this is one puzzle piece in the whole picture.
I am frustrated by the fact that once again I need to be on medication for one thing or another, as I have been on some sort of antidepressant or extension of it since I was very young, I know it will be for the best. I find myself constantly saying, "I wish I was normal. I wish I did not need medicine to balance myself." But I never cut myself a break and sit back and realize there are some damn good reasons that I have had the feelings I did and still do to an extent. Ones that maybe down the road I will feel comfortable sharing but as of now I know that I am not my anxiety. And I know I am not my past. I know the things that occurred in my life where outside my realm of control. These things did not happen because of anything I did so I need to let them go and realize that my past does not make me. And I have really made leaps and bounds in that area. I have let go of so much hurtful baggage. Only up until quite recently did I feel that closet doors inside my soul lay dark and filled with skeletons that sent me to horrible places. But I decided to put my foot down and not be the victim. I have made great strides, and I continue to do so.
Here is the face of the seemingly calm, collected, clean freak
who on the inside is hyperventilating over every little thing.
Soon this will simply be the face of a mother deeply in love with her children and the everyday battles they bring. I will see their hissy fits as challenges I have overcome that day and award myself with the knowledge I did not let it get to me.
Eff you anxiety.
I am Kelly, and I will kick your ass!
I am Kelly, and I will kick your ass!