Friday, March 12, 2010

Shaky Ground-Dealing with Anxiety

I don't think I have shared this before, but I have an anxiety/panic disorder. It is hard for me to admit because it is hard for me to believe sometimes. I was told for years that I have epilepsy. I mean YEARS-7 to be exact. This diagnosis was from at least 3 different doctors. So imagine my surprise when I ended up at Mayo Clinic and they said, no it's not epilepsy, it is psychological. At that point I was suffering so much, I was willing to accept whatever they thought it might be in order to get some help. I saw the psychiatrist and she said it was pseudoseizures, anxiety disorders, a panic attack. In other words, this is how my body responds to stress and anxiety-it shakes and twitches. So much so several doctors thought it was epilepsy.

When did it reach it's peak? When I knew I was infertile. When I knew the "old fashioned way" was not how I was going to get pregnant. Did I realize this at the time? No. I just knew I wanted a baby, even if my body was doing these funny things. There were times I was being taken down the stairs by paramedics, shaking like a leaf, and wondering and hoping if I was going to get pregnant this cycle. As I type this, it sounds sick and twisted that I would even think of getting pregnant in that state. But that's how bad I wanted it. Amazing.

Since then I have gotten much better. I think just knowing that it is somewhat under my control has been empowering. Knowing it is just anxiety. But this doesn't make it any easier when it still happens. It doesn't happen as severely, but it still happens, and it still effects my life. As I write this, it is late and I am not sleeping. My twitches have kept me awake, and this makes me cry. It is frustrating. And the funny thing is I just saw my doctor and told her I haven't felt this good in years. I have been sleeping well lately (this is part of my problem, SLEEP!), and a lot of my symptoms have decreased. Now my body is making me a liar!

For as much as I have gone through, I am grateful for what my recovery has brought me. I have learned to listen to my body. To make myself a priority--this one has been tough. My profession demands that I make others a priority, and so does my religion to tell the truth. So when I make sure that I have done what I need to do for myself at the sake of others, this sometimes makes me feel bad. But I am getting better at this. I have learned how to do things to decrease stress in my life. That wasn't easy when I was trying to get pregnant. I had to find other ways to release my stress, and this is still something that I am working on. Exercise certainly helps. Prayer helps. Positive thoughts help.

How do you release stress and anxiety?

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