Friday, December 30, 2016

Overcoming Anxiety: My Story

As the new year comes closer, I'm constantly thinking back to this year and past years of when my anxiety took over my life. It's hard to remember some of those memories because of how much they took a toll. I wanted to share my story- not only to help move on, but also to help others. Remember, you are NOT alone. There are people who have dealt and are currently dealing with an anxiety disorder. If you need help, check out the Helpful Anxiety Links page at the top!

I don't know when my anxiety truly started. It could have began in high school, where I was pretty much anti-social, except for the few close friends I had. Perhaps it all started a few years ago when I had a stalker, and it would be the time when I was too scared to leave the house alone. He would show up where I would be. He even drove by the house a few times. I never left the house without someone with me. I didn't know what this man was capable of. I worried every second of every day about it. The dreams I had would only exacerbate that... Yes, I was scared. Needless to say, I avoided the places I frequented so that I wouldn't always have to look over my shoulder. This did go on for a few years, but luckily I had family and friends who would be the support I needed.

What happened to the stalker? I don't know. One day he just stopped, and that was a day I was both nervous and elated. It took me a while to come down from it, and I still had dreams- but those slowly went away. I was eventually able to get out of the house again and live.

For years I labored under the fact that anxiety was going to be "forever," that it was the one thing I could not shake. Day in and day out was filled with anxiety attacks, worries, and even insomnia. I think my family would have called me a "human zombie;" human enough to talk, but zombie enough to need caffeine to survive the day. I didn't sleep. I was up until 4 in the morning going over things I could not control. That had become my life, and while I had gotten use to it, I couldn't keep going on like that. The anxiety attacks were becoming much more numerous, and it was taking its toll on my mind, body, and spirit. I had become a shell of a person, which also brought on some depression. How is it that the mind can fire back on a person, leaving them unable to cope with things thrown their way?? It's hell on Earth, and something I would NEVER wish on my enemies.

Every day I went through this, my family was the biggest support system I had ever had. My sister felt helpless anytime during an attack, but stood by me. My mother gave me the shoulder to cry on. My father pushed me to overcome a lot of obstacles that stood in my way. They never pushed me to do something I wasn't comfortable with. They were patient, which made it much easier. Fortunately, I also had a friend help with overcoming the anxiety. He knew what I was going through and never judged me. The biggest thing about all this? Without all of these people in my life, I wouldn't be able to walk out of the house and smile. I wouldn't be able to say "Hey, I've got uveitis. This is okay, and I will be okay." I am okay, and things will be okay.

How did I start suppressing this evil beast?

Simple. One day at a time. It doesn't happen overnight- and certainly not in just a few days. It took a lot of big steps, a lot of climbing obstacles to get to this point today. I still have some anxiety that lingers, and that will be something that may stay forever.... But, I can take solace knowing that I no longer have a dark cloud hanging over my head. That I no longer feel as if the sky is falling. It's a really good feeling. I'm laughing again, I'm enjoying life again. Somehow, I never thought I'd see this day coming.

I'm glad it did.

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