Ok so that photo is a little dramatic, but it gave me a chuckle so I was hoping it would do the same for you.
I am going to be 100% honest:
2 weeks ago I was walking back from the store with 3 of my friends. I was swinging my grocery bag around and being a "typical Haley" by telling my story a mile a minute, probably not getting a breath it. I didn't finish my sentence when a buzzing sensation moved from my lips down, and my vision was blurry. Dizziness consumed me. I stopped dead in my tracks and just looked up and said, "whoa." My friends asked if I was okay. The feeling passed so I continued my story and kept walking, but was still a bit concerned.
Since then, this has become a "thing." I would be walking to class and it would start with a weird feeling in my face, and then I would feel lightheaded. Me being self-aware, and a psychology student immediately thought: anxiety. But no because I'm not anxious, that makes no sense. I've been dizzy from anxiety before, but it didn't feel like this. Me being a hypochondriac, yes..you guessed it...googled my symptoms. Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Brain tumor, etc etc. The list went on. Days continued and I would find my limbs going numb along with the dizziness. My entire arm was numb, it felt like there were bricks resting on the back of my neck when I was standing and so I did some more research, and increased my paranoia. "I don't know what's wrong with me." My suite-mates continued to hear me say. They offered to take me to the clinic, just to reassure me I wasn't dying. Instead, I curled up in a ball and let my anxiety take over me convincing myself I was experiencing early stages of paralysis..
At night..I've been having nightmares. The counselor I've been seeing here suggested I look for a "common theme" but nothing about my dreams are commonly related. Accidentally killing people with my car, getting attacked by a whale in a swimming pool, and putting out a fire in my house (childhood home) with a lighter? And even more twisted things.. My roommate tells me I've been whimpering in my sleep.
What the heck is going on with me?
I've been bringing a stress ball to class.
*Shoutout to the campus counseling center for providing those*
I couldnt make it to a mandatory event for a class because of an anxiety attack. (My professor was extremely understanding, and supportive..but still.)
Annnnd I've been needing emergency bathroom trips more often than I would like to admit. yay IBS yay
I see my counselor here every Thursday, but it was a Monday when I had my anxiety attack and by then the center was closed.
The next day, I brought myself to this magical thing the counseling center provides called "walk-in hours" and was ready to let out my problems to WHOEVER was available. Thursday couldn't wait.
With anxiety attacks, unfortunately, there is not much you can do in the moment to make it stop. You have to ride it out. And with me sitting there with a counselor like a confused Nancy Drew, trying to solve this mystery as to why the hell my body is behaving against my mind, I learn there is not much to solve with the missing pieces in Generalized Anxiety. Little bitch. Why can't I have a fear of spiders? That'd be easy to determine.
What I learned is that even though college has been going swell for me, it is still an adjustment and a change for my body. My body is telling me it does not recognize this change, and it is sending messages that say it's time to panic. I was reminded that this is still all very new and very different. I'm on a different schedule, I'm living with new people, eating new foods, and as okay as I feel about that, my body doesn't understand what's going on.
I'm dealing with this damn battle as I wait out these stubborn symptoms. After many panic attacks, tears, and showing my roomies my ugly side, I was able to calm down today. I find that I can reach air after counseling. I know anxiety is normal, I know I am not truly going crazy, but sometimes I just need to hear it. I needed to be able to sit with someone and tell them I've been happy, but my body isn't following that and it scares me. I needed someone to sit there and provide genuine empathy and apology that these feelings are scary, but reassure me as well that it is normal, and it will pass.
She used an example of self-talk that made me smile a bit. "Okay, Haley girl, it's okay to take a break." She stretched the importance of self-care during this time. My body is telling me it has reached it's limits when it sends me those uncomfortable signals. I need to respond by taking care of myself, instead of pushing myself.
I always say that change doesn't scare me, but now I think my subconscious does not agree with me. Anxiety effects can be residual, and very confusing. Anxiety and panic attacks can even create the same symptoms as a heart attack. Whaaaaat?
My anxiety disorder is a learning experience, and I am still learning just how it works. Not just with me, but in the general human body. I know I can not let my physical symptoms trick me. I am okay. I am safe. I am happy. Self-care is crucial for me, especially now.
The wrap up:
Listen to the cute little dinosaur thingy.
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.