I’ve only posted here once. I wish things were different. I’ve had anxiety since adolescence—I’m 33 now. My anxiety manifests itself in worries over my health. I have high blood pressure, and a family history of early heart disease. I’m very overweight… it’s so stupid. Such a changeable thing that might even reduce some of the anxiety. But I stress eat like there’s not going to be a tomorrow.
I recently had a baby, and was diagnosed with post partum depression. I’m sure the diagnosis is accurate—until very recently (my daughter is now seven months old), I have been unable to bond with her. Most days I grieve for the life I had before all the dirty diapers and spitting up and crying… but I love her. I want her. Sometimes I have to remind myself—but I really do want her in my life.
In any case, the depression has somewhat settled. And the anxiety predated my pregnancy by over a decade. Right before I got pregnant, my anxiety started to flare up again. I went to the Emergency Room time and time again for suspected heart attacks. (Shortness of breath, jaw and neck pain, muscle fatigue and weakness, tightness in chest, and utter mindless terror).
During my pregnancy, the anxiety got out of control. Right around six months in, I was convinced (CONVINCED) that I had malignant melanoma. Pregnancy does weird things to existing moles, and even makes new ones. Some of my moles were changing color… so I made an appointment with a dermatologist. While waiting for my appointment, my worry absolutely consumed me. I did nothing but think about skin cancer. I googled pictures of what malignant moles looked like and became certain that mine looked the same. A few days before the appointment, I was in such a state of agitation, that I just left the house. I wandered down the street crying and praying and fearing… The doctor thought my moles were fine when I was examined, but on my insistence, she still removed three. All of which were fine.
Lately I’ve gone back and forth between gastric issues and heart health concerns. I’ve had multiple EKG’s at the hospital. I’ve had a cardiac CT scan, and two cardiac ultrasounds—all of which were “normal”, though what normal is was never really explained.
Every single day I feel fatigued and light headed. I’m exhausted after very little effort. My stomach hurts any time I eat anything… but then again, what I’m eating is mostly garbage. Things that make me “feel good” for the moment, but have me on a heating pad hours later, groaning. (Or running to the bathroom on a consistent basis).
Today during my shower, I became extremely short of breath. It was a shower—I wasn’t running a marathon. I worry that my body is trying to tell me that something isn’t right. I watched my Nanny (grandmother) die. She fell right on her living room floor and never got back up… heart failure at 59.
I see a therapist weekly. We talk a lot. Sometimes we do yoga. I take clonazepam daily. I don’t sleep without medication—and I have to be pretty drugged, because the night is the absolute worst for me. That’s always when I feel like I need to go to the ER. That’s always when I start obsessing over the pain in my head, or in my arm or in my back or neck or wherever. My husband stays awake until I fall asleep, always keeping vigil… over what, I’m not sure. It’s not like he could ward off a heart attack if I had one.
Every thing I’ve read says the only way to face this fear head on is to be WILLING to have a heart attack, not go to the ER, and miss it. How am I supposed to be willing to have a heart attack? I’m simply not.
Last week, my husband took me to a super fancy four star hotel downtown to watch fireworks. I’d never done anything like it in my life. Room service, and spa treatments. Little hand towels that you throw into a hamper rather than paper towels in the bathrooms—(and TV’s in the bathrooms, as if you might miss something important)… employees at every corner handing out bottles of water and helping you carry things that really don’t require help. It should have been an amazing trip… only, that evening I took my usual sleeping pill. It got stuck on the way down, and I literally spent the rest of the trip worrying that I’d aspirated the pill into my lungs. (As if I wouldn’t KNOW)… I mean, if I can wonder if maybe I’d inhaled a pill, probably I didn’t inhale it. But that bit of logic meant nothing, and I spent hours on Google… (Dr. Google, as my husband calls it) asking what would happen if I inhaled a Unisom.
I don’t know how to stop this. I feel isolated, because no one immediately close to me understands this. They know I have anxiety, and it’s sort of a running joke when I think there’s something wrong based on mild symptoms… but it isn’t funny. It’s lonely and terrifying and sometimes I’m just so tired of it. I want to feel healthy and normal. I don’t want to be afraid. I don’t want obsessive thoughts of death ruining the moments I have—because tomorrow might now come anyway. And I’m wasting today worrying…
I’m having a “am I having a heart attack” night tonight. So I thought I’d write a bit to see if it helped. I’ve taken my clonazepam and my unisom. I’m drinking water, and maybe I’ll have a bath. Then again, maybe I’ll go to the ER… I just want these thoughts OUT OF MY HEAD!
Is there anyone out there who feels this way? I wish I knew how to make it go away for good… but I don’t. So here we are.