Anxiety = Taboo
*Trigger Warning: the story below mentions throw-up*
Walking up the stairs I approached the sky lounge. I was nervous, palms sweaty, fingers tingling, mind racing with a million negative thoughts, body feeling tense and out of place. I'm terrified to get on the plane and lord only knows what other bag of s-- my subconscious was feeding my mind. I entered the lounge, I could see the light coming in the big windows and I could hear everyone talking around me in a muffled tone as if I was on the outside looking in. I sat down and heard a ding. It was a text.
I read the words on my phone and my body froze. I became paralyzed with fear. It said, ”Your son is sick. Can you take him to get a covid test?" Next thing I knew my entire body felt like I had just gotten out of a sauna and I was drenched head to toe. The tips of my fingers started tingling, my heart was racing so fast, I could feel it clawing out of my chest. My head felt heavy like a rock and it was pounding so hard I had to put my head down on the table. I felt dizzy as if I was going to pass out.
I heard my husband speaking in a muffled, foggy tone and I was trying to make out what he was saying. He said, “Steph, Steph! are you hungry, do you want food, pick your head up, you’re scaring me." I looked up and started throwing up all over myself and in front of me. I realized at that moment I had no control over my body or mind and I was running on overdrive. I was shaking and looking around to see if anyone saw what was happening. I got up to use the bathroom slowly so I could possibly calm myself down and regain my composure.
I stumbled into the bathroom and barely made it into the stall. I started throwing up again uncontrollably. I was resting on the cold tile floor. Finally, I stopped and mustered enough energy to stand up. I opened the stall door and slowly walked over to the sink to put some cold water on my face. I stood there staring at the mirror in bewilderment. This nice lady who was doing her hair next to me looked at me and asked if I needed anything (even though I could have had anything covid, flu etc…) I told her no and thanked her and went back to my seat to see If I could calm myself down.
After sitting there for 15 minutes, I realized I could not get on my flight and I needed to go home. My husband held me up and walked me to the store as I was shaking, to get me some water to see if I felt better. I found the closest wall to lean on and I was still shaking and weak as I could feel the gaze of people around me. This is when I knew I needed help.
This was my rock bottom anxiety attack which was frightening. Where I didn’t have control over anything in my brain or my body and realized I needed help. I’m sharing my story with you because I searched for so long to find professionals or anyone who could help me. Someone who didn't just tell me," don't worry it's just anxiety."
I did extensive research on strategies and medicines to find what worked for me. I looked for support groups for anxiety but did not find them around me. I found support groups for everything except anxiety. Every time I went to the doctor and asked what was wrong with me because I was dizzy, had sweaty palms or couldn't think straight they told me, "It was nothing big, just anxiety." I was horrified that when I had these episodes doctors treated this so nonchalantly. I was also discouraged there were no support groups for this and all of this is still so TABOO, especially with the thousands of people who have had similar experiences.
After doing this research, I realized there are many people out there who have some form of anxiety. When telling people what I was going through I realized that close family members had major anxiety issues, friends, and public figures as well. It felt good to know I wasn't alone. I wanted to share this with you to bring you on my journey of self-discovery and coping, so you know you are not alone.
I want you to know that you're not crazy, that anxiety and anxiety disorder are real and there is help out there for you through ADAA and many other forums. I found strategies that were taught to me by professionals that work great; breathing strategies that are life-changing. I have listened to recordings to feed your subconscious and researched medicine that worked well. I found what works for me and you can find what works for you whether it is strategies for dealing with episodes, breathing techniques, or medicine that might work for you. I am happy to talk to anyone so I can help them and they don't feel the hopelessness that comes along with having anxiety and severe cases of it.
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