The Truth About Anxiety (Personal)

When I was prescribed an anxiety pill a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was completely unnecessary. I had gone to the doctor about a completely different problem, and the fact that he thought it was also necessary I drink an anti-anxiety, antidepressant pill for a month seemed like just another inconvenience. Initially, this pill made me really drowsy, spaced out and gave me migraines; one week in, and some of the side-effects are still pretty strong. However, I have made the rational decision to drink this medication for the next three weeks, and fight through the side-effects as much as I can. So why the sacrifice?

I know that a good percentage of my generation complains about anxiety. This is such a widespread problem that it has pretty much become a meme and a joke. It almost seems as though everyone suffers from anxiety – many self-diagnosed – and I definitely didn’t want to be part of that group. Since I wasn’t having full-blown panic attacks, I dismissed the possibility of me having this problem and just went about my daily responsibilities. Little did I know that my life would come to a point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

Following a series of health complications during the last couple of years or so, I started to develop hypochondriac tendencies. Even after the doctor told me that I had nothing serious, I was convinced that I was detrimentally sick, and continued to experience symptoms of sickness even after I was supposedly “cured”. I was told that this was normal, and if I looked after myself my body would go back to the way it was in a few months. Instead of coming to terms with this, I began to feel terribly anxious that I would stay sick for the rest of my life and that there was something the doctors were missing.

Fast forward one year, and I went to get checked again. Aside from some minor imbalances in my body, the doctors didn’t find anything and basically gave me the same answer – just look after yourself, don’t worry and you will eventually feel better. There is nothing seriously wrong with you. By this point, I felt shaken up and reluctant to believe that I wasn’t heavily sick. I would experience terrible anxiousness from every minor symptom, and was convinced that I had developed all of these problems when numerous tests showed the opposite. I didn’t even have the motivation to “look after myself properly”, believing that it wouldn’t help anyway.

During my last check-up, my doctor decided to call in a neuropathologist and have him check me. It only took him a minute to figure out that I had bad anxiety, and he ended up prescribing me a medication that I was going to have to take for at least a month to calm my nervous system. I was surprised. After all, weren’t all my fears legit? How was an anxiety pill going to help with complications after a sickness? Well, I was wrong.

Anxiety pills are no joke. The side effects are sometimes unbearable, especially when you first start drinking it. However, I began to notice some positive changes, and decided to continue no matter how drowsy I felt. One week later, and it’s still a struggle not to fall asleep during the day. Sometimes I am tempted to stop, but what pushes me to carry on are the strange positive effects it has on my body. The pains and discomfort I used to experience are significantly better, and I no longer feel so anxious about never getting better. Although I am sleepy, it’s almost as if I can think more logically.

This got me thinking about whether or not this was a much deeper problem than just something I’d developed over the last couple of years due to sickness. I remember having horrible anxiety as a child, which is something I dismissed as the typical case of shyness. Now that I think back, it was definitely more than just that. However, as I entered my teen years, this anxiety began to bother me to the point that I forced myself out of my comfort zone so many times that it probably just went into “remission” on its own, and never looked back since. I didn’t want to think back to those years of my early childhood, let alone analyze them, so I just continued living normally up until a couple of years back.

I don’t want to go into too many details, but I got pretty sick in the summer of 2016. What made it worse is that it took the doctors about half a year to figure out what was wrong with me, and I was given an unpleasant (but definitely not fatal) diagnosis in December of that year. I took a couple of rounds of pills, but the symptoms just kept coming back. Every time I would feel a slight pain, fatigue or hint of nausea, I convinced myself that the sickness was back and I needed to go get checked. Moreover, I didn’t believe the doctors when they said that nothing was seriously wrong and that I would get better it time – according to my perception, I would be chronically sick for the rest of my life.

This began to take over my life, since I felt physically unwell nearly every single day. However, I had no idea that my mental state was affecting my physical one – I simply thought that I felt bad mentally BECAUSE I was not well physically, and didn’t consider that the first could cause the latter. When people told me to stay strong and positive, I looked at them as though they were crazy – how on earth was a change in attitude going to help me get out of this? My hypochondriac tendencies were completely normal in my eyes, and I felt as though nobody understood what I was going through.

Fast forward to now, and I am a hundred percent sure that I will finish drinking the whole monthly prescription of this unpleasant medication. Maybe I feel drowsy and get nasty migraines from time to time, but for the first time in my life I can acknowledge that I definitely experience symptoms of anxiety and probably have for my whole entire life. This pill is supposed to help me feel better and give my body a chance to cure itself without all of the nervousness that stopped it from doing so before; once I’m off it, I’ll be much more aware of whether my fears are logical or just something stemming from anxiety.

A lot of the time, we do not see the link between physical and mental health, but there is actually a really strong connection between the two; positive, passionate and mentally strong people are always the ones to get out of health problems the quickest, and is something I dismissed up until now.

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