How Anxiety Became A Part Of My Life In The Blink Of An Eye

I’ve been a little MIA over the past week or so. I took a step back from both offline and online worlds, and I’m ready to share why…

Natalie

The first time it happened was around Christmas, I was walking through Winners looking for a stocking stuffer. I walked near the back of the store and then I felt this weird feeling wash over me, my eyes felt as if they were closing and the room started to dim. My heart started beating really fast and I started to feel nauseous.

I was freaking out! What was going on? I didn’t want to faint in the store! So I started to breathe and talk to myself as I walked slowly back to my car.

I sat in my car and put my head between my knees, then I sat up and just watched people in the parking lot for about 10 minutes. I wasn’t near my home and wasn’t sure I could drive.

I took one step out of the car after I thought I felt better and the weird feeling came again. What was going on? Did I eat something out of the ordinary? What the heck was wrong with me?

I call my Aunty who lives nearby and happens to be a nurse. She comes to get me and drives me back to her place. As she talks me through my symptoms she tells me perhaps I needed a bowel movement as sometimes the vagus nerve can cause fainting symptoms.

That had to be it. What else could it be?

After about an hour at her house and a cup of tea I drove home without issue and chalked it up to an isolated incident.

Fast forward a few days, my in-laws (who were staying with us for a week) and I took a walk to the nearby store. As I enter the store the same feeling washed over me, my eyes started to close in and my heart was beating super fast. I excuse myself and tell them I need to use the washroom. I sit with my head between my knees wondering what is going on, how can this be happening again?

After a few minutes I talk myself through it and finish up shopping with the inlaws. I knew that the very next day, I was going to the doctor.

At the doctor I tell her my symptoms and she says that perhaps I’m a little stressed. Me? Stressed? Yes, perhaps having the inlaws was a lil stressful, yea, let’s go with that. She prescribes me Serc (betahistine) and tells me to take it as needed to deal with the dizziness and lightheadedness.

For months I don’t have the weird feeling again until this past week. This week I was literally driving home during rush hour and my eyes started to close, my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest, and I felt like I was going to faint. I start to breathe deeply and talk to myself. This is not happening in the middle of York St with nowhere to turn off and calm myself down.

What the heck triggered it this time?

I calm down enough to make it to my son’s school and I’m feeling better, but just in case I run to a nearby store and use the washroom.

I pick up my son and start to head home. The feeling returns while I’m driving on the highway with my 3 yr old son, alone! Why is this happening? At this point I try to sing songs with him and breathe deeply all the while thinking to myself that I just want to make it home with my baby safe and sound.

As soon as I pull into the garage I breathe a sigh of relief. I take my son in the house and tell my daughter to watch him as I felt ill. I go upstairs to my room shaking and crying. I lie down and don’t get out of bed until the next morning.  Migraine symptoms ensue and I truly just feel awful and miss a couple of days of work because of it.

Earlier this week a lot of people around me have died or are dying. Not only am I dealing with death at work (clients/employees), but even people I’ve met online who have died too soon. The worst news? My closest cousin’s dad has been given grave news. Perhaps, and I’m speculating, this is all related to my own grief about my mom? Almost two years later? Too much death in a matter of days? I’m not really sure.

I’ve been to the doctor, and physically, I’m one healthy woman! The only additional test the doc suggested was an EKG, which I am optimistic will also come back normal. So what’s the verdict from the doc and in my own personal opinion?

Anxiety.

It’s the only thing I can think of and it’s now something I never thought I’d need to manage. How will I do that? Well, I immediately refused the Ativan the doctor offered and instead I will do the following:

  • Continue to eat healthy foods, and only put good food in my body. Drinking herbal teas, lots of water, and keeping the coffee and wine to a minimum.
  • Get way more physically active. Walking just isn’t enough. Golf isn’t enough. I need to carve out time to start running again, get that cardio going, and utilize the workout space in our home. The doc also suggested that I take up yoga, so I’m on the lookout for classes close to home.
  • Keep taking my B100 complex vitamins. There was a noticeable change when I started taking them again at the beginning of the year.
  • Stop being everything to everybody and remember NATALIE has to be taken care of first.  I need to get a little selfish and stop being super generous with my time, at work, at home, with friends and family. I need to know when to close the door, not answer the phone and just say no, respectfully of course.
  • Sleep! I really don’t sleep enough, I really don’t. We (fiance and I) are working really hard at this one, which means I may have to sleep alone in a separate room for a while.
  • Take time to speak with a professional. I will never be embarrassed or ashamed to use counselling services etc as needed, especially when they are offered so readily at work. I’m clearly still grieving and need to continue to talk through my sadness.

It was very important for me to share this with all of you, as I’ve been the energetic, hunky-dory, positive, motivational crazy woman in your lives for a while, so I felt you deserved some reasoning for my absence. I’m still that woman, always will be. It helped immensely to write this post, to see it written, to give myself reminders, clarity and to know that I am not invincible even though I am seemingly superwoman day in and day out.

I want to see my babies graduate, I want to be around when they get married, heck, I want to get married! My optimal health and wellness is key to all of that, (not that it hasn’t been before); however, these recent episodes have jolted health and wellness to the very front of my priority list.

I know many people around me suffer from anxiety and other types of mental health conditions, so if you have some tips, natural methods and/or remedies you’d love to share with me and anyone else reading who may need it, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all for reading, thanks for sticking with me, and thanks for just being there.

Much love,

Natalie

17 Comments

  1. lori3kids
    June 8, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    I think anxiety is more common that one would think. Thanks for sharing your personal experience and I hope all is well.

  2. Susan Patterson
    June 8, 2015 / 10:32 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. Best of luck on your journey to wellness. I suffer also and I know it is so hard to push ahead, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

  3. Tammi L.
    June 8, 2015 / 10:21 am

    I spent years struggling with anxiety, to the point of becoming extremely debilitating. It is such a big thing that people are now able to talk openly about it… and I love seeing someone say they are not ashamed of getting help. There is still a stigma attached to it that we need to get rid of – and you are doing your part. Thank you.

  4. Andrea L
    June 4, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing and for being so courageous. I love that you’re talking openly about mental health and how important it is to pay attention to it. I struggle with anxiety too and it’s a daily struggle to manage it for sure. Thanks for the tips too!

  5. June 2, 2015 / 9:44 am

    Sorry to hear that you are dealing with this right now. Several years ago I was dealing with death of several family members. Of which a couple were completely unexpected. Although I didn’t realize it at the time my was become anxious, and “waiting for the other shoe to drop”. It took a couple of years to get back to “normal” after those losses.
    I am happy that you recognized your symptoms, and are making changes to help you to deal with them, and your feelings.

  6. June 1, 2015 / 8:45 am

    Sometimes we don’t realize we’re under stress until real symptoms start to show. I’m glad your anxiety wasn’t so extreme that you blacked out. Taking a break from blogging and other normal routine things can help destress ourselves and help ground us. A few minutes of meditation can do wonders. I hope your anxiety has lessened. Feel better soon.

  7. Lisa
    May 25, 2015 / 8:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing…I know it couldn’t have been easy, but your strength in writing about your anxiety helps others to see they’re not alone. This is something many people suffer from and each time someone shares their experience, the stigma surrounding mental health issues decreases. You are so brave…be strong and take care of yourself. {hugs}

  8. Judy Cowan
    May 25, 2015 / 1:02 pm

    Hugs. I really don’t have any advice other than to take time to put yourself first. Hang in there and I hope you get it sorted out soon.

  9. Lori L.
    May 25, 2015 / 9:44 am

    I have had my fair share of anxiety attacks over the years & they are similar to yours. It’s so difficult to stay calm, especially when you are physically unable to stop what you are doing (driving in rush hour downtown)

    I have had success with Rescue Remedy drops and pastilles (you can purchase both at Superstore) http://www.bachflower.com/rescue-remedy-information/ and when I start to get anxious I immediately cut down on my caffeine intake & that seems to help as well.

    Good for you for taking care of yourself and putting yourself first. This can be SO difficult when you’re a busy working Mama! *HUGS*

  10. May 25, 2015 / 9:42 am

    Hugs to you! Thanks soooo much for sharing! I look forward to hearing how you are doing and what helps! I’m helping my little girl cope with anxiety/panic attacks. It’s so great that you shared!

  11. May 25, 2015 / 8:36 am

    Hi Natalie, thank you for sharing. We don’t talk about this topic enough so you doing so is going to help others do the same. We all experience anxiety and it can get the better of us if we don’t work to try and make it more manageable. Great suggestions on how to deal with it! First on my agenda is sleep.. Toddler life and snoring husbands make it tough. Have a beautiful week!

  12. Soozle
    May 25, 2015 / 7:47 am

    Thank you for having the courage to share your story with us!

    While I have never personally suffered from an anxiety attack, I have suffered with some severe stress that showed itself physically – beyond the fatigue and mild depression like symptoms, I developed eczema on my face (I had eczema as a youth but never on my face so double the odd sympton) along with a stress related insomnia…

    I think the best thing that I did, that anyone can do – is TALK about it to a professional, friends, family.. That is definitely the first step to getting better.

    Take care!

  13. May 24, 2015 / 11:03 pm

    Take care… And we’re all here for you. *hugs*

  14. May 24, 2015 / 10:47 pm

    First of all, big hugs. I know all too well what you are going through and am here if you need a virtual shoulder or to vent. Any time, day or night, I don’t mind.

  15. Shannon
    May 24, 2015 / 9:01 pm

    Big hugs to you my friend. Take care of Natalie. We will all be here. XOX

  16. Suzi
    May 24, 2015 / 9:00 pm

    I’m sorry you are experiencing this Natalie! I was diagnosed with anxiety about 4 years ago. It drives my husband crazy as he says I have a schedule of things that cause me stress (sadly it is true) but I’ve found that doing the things you suggested – minus the B100 as I don’t know what that is – really help! I’m also on medication now and it makes a HUGE difference! Hang in there!*hug*

  17. May 24, 2015 / 8:50 pm

    Oh Natalie! Thinking of you and sending BIG big hugs your way. You’ve definitely had so much happening all at once, and I can only imagine that it’s a lot for one person to take in, which would result in the anxiety you’re experiencing. I know you’re a strong woman and you have a great support system…I hope things get better and I’m always here if you need to talk! xo

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