Anxiety sufferer for 5 years
I think I have always been an anxious person. For as long as I can remember I would get very nervous at the silliest of things:
*when my mum would ask me to order a pizza over the phone,
*going out in public with a new haircut (even if I'd ony had a trim),
*going to a high school dance.
Back then however my anxiety would manifest itself as a red blotchy rash all over my chest and neck. My heart would race and sometimes I would start shaking and sweating. I didn't really recognise this as anxiety. I just thought I was a nervous person and needed to work on my self confidence.
Looking back this really affected the path that my life took. I would have loved to have become a teacher; however I hated driving due to nerves (and knew that being a teacher would mean having to drive). I'm not really sure how I even managed to pass my driving test (it took 3 attempts), but I hardly ever got behind the wheel of a car because it made me feel physically ill.
I went to university and met a wonderful guy in my first year. After finishing our studies we travelled overseas for almost 3 years and then returned to Australia to re-start our lives. Throughout this time I had the same nervous/anxious episodes on a regular basis. It only really affected me though (I don't think that others were aware). I am told that I have a wicked sense of homour and I think that this masked a lot of what was going on.
Five and a half years ago my partner and I bought our first house. This is the point where things started to get really bad for me. All of a sudden I felt nauseous all the time. My stomach would be in knots, I had constant headaches, was tired all the time, and had to make constant trips to the bathroom. Along with this also came that dizzy, floaty feeling, like you're having a out of body experience. I took myself off to the doctor.
After many tests, referrals to a physican, more doctors visits, naturopath appointments CT scans, an endoscopy, gluten free and wheat free diets, allergy tests etc, I was told that I may have had some sort of virus, possibly irritable bowel syndrome, a stomach parasite perhaps, gluten intolerance??? No one seemed sure. All I knew was that I still felt awful and it had been going on for approximately 3 years. I missed my 10 year highschool reunion, I never wanted to go out aywhere, I would cry often and going to work was very hard. Most days I didn't feel like getting out of bed, but my colleagues knew how much I had been through and were all very supportive.
In 2006 my partner proposed to me. At this stage we had been together for over 12 years. It was such an exciting time in our lives and while I was happy, I found it very hard to get motivated. All I could think was 'there's so much to organise, how can I do this when I feel so sick, why would he want to marry me when I feel ill all the time'?
I went to a bridal expo with my mum and 2 sisters one weekend. They were all giddy with excitment while I felt very flat. My mother was very concerned and told me she was making an appointment for me to see her doctor. This was the best this that could have happened.
I broke down at the doctor's surgery (my mum came in with me). I just felt so desperate for some answers: I almost wanted someone to tell me that I had cancer or some life threatening disease just so I would have an answer.
The doctor was fantastic: her words to me were: " I don't want to downplay anything you've just told me, but this is easy to fix" What???? "You have anxiety and depression, but I guarantee you'll feel better in around 4-6 weeks". She was right. After starting Lovan 20mg (1 per day) I started to feel better after about 3 weeks. In 6 weeks I was back to my old self again. I couldn't believe that I had gone on for so long feeling as bad as I did. Why did no other doctor pick up on this? This is something I'll never understand!
My wedding day was perfect and I enjoyed every moment of it. 2 years on I now have a beautiful 4 month old baby girl. I didn't take medication during my pregnancy (I think the prgnancy hormones made me feel pretty good), but I can feel myself reverting back to my old ways. The headaches are starting, fuzzy head, churning stomach etc. While that's not a good feeling, I am feeling positive because I know what I need to do to help myself.
I would love to believe that I wll one day be cured of my anxiety. I don't know if this is a realistic view or not. I'd like to think that there's hope for all of us.
If you've just read my story - thank-you!
If no one reads this I feel better just getting it out there.
Good luck to everyone.