30 Jun

On Anxiety.

Oh hey. My name is Holly, and I have anxiety.

 

now-im-a-superhero

 

You probably all know that I do, and you probably aren’t that surprised. I appreciate that.

I think I’ve always had anxiety, but I think it manifests itself most strongly in two ways:

  1. Sweating. I’m not talking a few sweaty, sticky palms once in a while.  I’m talking uncontrollable, outrageously embarrassing sweat. I sweat so profusely it looks like I’m currently showering in my own sweat. (Want proof? Here’s a pic of me sweating on commencement day. Nothing was even going wrong at that moment.) And it’s not limited to commencement. I sweat when driving (even on back roads), going to meetings, going out for lunch for friends, even when trying on clothes! My life is lived like a woman going through menopause- I have to wear clothes that will hide as much sweat as possible, and I carry a towel in my purse to wipe off my face. I have to drive to work in a tank top (and pants, of course) and then finish getting dressed before I get out of the car. It’s not fun living life through one continuous hot flash.
  2. Sleeping (or rather, not sleeping). I toss and turn all night, thinking of everything that could and will go wrong. I often punch Fernando (lovingly) because he’s one of those people that can take a deep breath as soon as they hit the hay and BOOM! One-way ticket to Sleepytown. He has since started letting me fall asleep before he even comes to bed, poor guy. I didn’t sleep more than two hours a night for three weeks when I coordinated commencement for the very first time. I was sick, exhausted, and overwhelmed.

I made the decision a while ago to try taking medication to see if it would help; I would love to live a less sweaty life full of regular sleep cycles and the ability to merge onto the freeway without feeling like this. Friends of mine that also struggle with anxiety have had positively life-altering results when going on medication, so I figured I’d see if it would do the same for me. It didn’t.

  • Medication #1 made me so tired all the time I fell asleep as soon as I got home from work almost every day. My mom witnessed an unfortunate incident in which I attempted to talk to her on the phone while out of it and I slurred as if I had been drinking all day. (I hadn’t.) I switched to a new kind.
  • Medication #2 made me so nauseous that I could only eat saltine crackers for six weeks, leaving some of my coworkers to jokingly ask if I was pregnant. (No.) I switched to a new kind after two months.
  • Medication #3 created similar effects to #1, making it nearly impossible for me to stay awake at work. I lost interest in doing most of my activities and ended up hanging out on the couch mindlessly watching TV and snoozing for hours instead of crafting, reading, exercising and cooking. When I’m too tired to cross-stitch, I know something is off.

A few weeks ago, I was so fed up with living this frustrating life, watching my life pass me by, that I decided to stop taking it. While all three medications solved my sleeping issue, none of them did a thing to curb the nasty sweating; if anything, it worsened. Yesterday I took my last dose- huzzah! I’m bummed that I can’t just magically drive on the freeway, and gutted that I still sweat like there’s no tomorrow. But I’d rather live with those issues than spend my life on the couch watching Netflix for lack of energy to do anything else! (Though Netflix is a wonderful thing.)

I’ve made it a goal to try to get 10,000 steps in every day (thanks to my handy step tracker on my dorky smartwatch), because I know exercise is 1) good for everyone and 2) especially good at reducing anxiety. I’m also (gulp) considering trying yoga, even though I’m pretty terrible at it (how in the world does anyone do downward dog?!?!?!). I’m also trying to cut down on sugar (especially chocolate 🙁 ) and trying to turn off my computer and phone well before I turn in to reduce screen time (I even installed f.lux to mimic outside light and reduce blue light when it’s late).

Does anyone else have any great remedies for anxiety they’d like to share?