My anxiety is not well managed AT ALL. Which leads to all sorts of fun things and by fun things I mean fear of doing anything.

When I think about how long it took to get my depression under control (11 years of constant effort, thank you) the thought of finding a way to control my anxiety leaves me kind of pissed off and grumpy. Thankfully my anxiety isn’t as debilitating as my depression, it’s just kind of obnoxious and annoying and ZOMG WHY CAN’T I JUST ENJOY STUFF ANYMORE? I used to love New York, how busy and loud it is. I loved walking through the streets hearing all the different sounds, smelling garlic one minute and sewer the next. I still love New York, but I kind of have to love her from afar. No Times Square, no Subways, no crowded streets…it’s all a little too much for me now.

Frosty

If you were to ask me to describe what anxiety is like for me I would tell you that it’s like sitting in a tiny glass bubble where you can see and hear everything going on but you can’t get away from it. It’s as though someone turned up every noise to the point it encompasses my entire brain, I can’t quiet it, I can’t escape it and I can’t even think because it’s so loud and RIGHT THERE. There’s also a sort of tunnel vision thing, stuff gets very dark and blurry around the edges. Maybe that sounds a little crazy, I can only assume it’s different for everyone, but for me it’s like I’m being surrounded by speakers I cannot control the volume on.

Once I make it out alive (I have every time so far! Go me!) I am drained. Like the kind of drained you would feel when your first boyfriend broke up with you but only after you swam the English Channel fully clothed. Mentally, physically, and emotionally DONE-ZO. Naps are really the only option. Naps and gentle reintroduction back into society.

I’ve been working on a way to control it, a lot of deep breathing and meditation. Thankfully I feel more powerful over anxiety than I do depression, perhaps because it’s such a new thing, or perhaps I’ve fought depression for so long my fighting muscles are really strong. Who knows. Regardless, I’m still annoyed by it but recognize it as a very real part of my existence that won’t go away simply because I want it to.

It’s also the reason I would rather go back to the Ohio countryside than New York City if you gave me the choice. (No offense New York, it’s not you, it’s me. I swear.)

Here we are 2013, you and me. I have to admit, I’ve been slightly pessimistic about you, being superstitious and all. But just maybe you could be even better than 2012 (which I doubt, but then again I said things couldn’t get better after 2010 so maybe I should just quit saying BEST YEAR EVER because things do indeed keep getting better.) Like Amy said, maybe there really is only one shoe.

Oh powder. I miss you.

Comments

  1. I feel the same way in the messy battle of depression + anxiety: anxiety is far easier to control, or to at least accept and deal with, yet it’s still…there. Annoyingly and sometimes overwhelmingly, achingly there. But I hope 2013 is nothing but good to you, and that it involves as little anxiety and sads as possible. Happy New Year.

    Casey Reply:

    @aly, I’m doubling up on the ol’ medication bandwagon, here’s to less anxiety and more copays in 2013!

  2. “Sometimes there’s only one shoe. ”
    That stopped me in my tracks.
    Maybe there is.
    Casey, your resilient nature and all the good you put into this world of ours will get you through, I have no doubt. xo

    Casey Reply:

    @Pgoodness, Dude, when the other girl said it in her comment I was all Keanu “Whoa”

  3. My anxiety is like that feeling you get when someone startles you but it never. goes. away.

    I’m going to start dealing with mine. Godspeed to us both.

    Casey Reply:

    @Nadja, YES. Like getting nervous excited but never actually enjoying it.

  4. I have a mixed bag right now. I’ve had flirtations with depression, but after my baby (my Vivi) was born this year, I was hit with PPD and PPA pretty hard. I find the PPA harder to deal with because I know HOW to deal with the depression. The anxiety just makes me want to crawl under my desk at work and rock. Thank you so much for your honesty – it helps to know that I can come out on the other side.

    Casey Reply:

    @akl, It’s tricky to walk out of the fog of PPA/PPD and into the so called real world of depression and anxiety, what’s left over? What’s going to stick around forever? WHEN WHY WHAAAT?
    So yeah, I totally get you there.
    xo

    Wendy Wainwright Reply:

    @akl, my psychiatrist would tell you to sit in the bathroom or wherever and rock away and try to breathe. He has me cross my arms over my chest so each hand is patting the opposite shoulder while I rock. ….. I told him I thought doing that made me feel like I look crazy ;). It does help though to take a few minutes and rock and talk yourself down a little. I do it all the time, why do you (talking to myself) feel so anxious? Did something happen? Is it the time of day? The weather? If its something then why? What would make it feel better. Is it possible or probable. I just talk myself back down to at least a slightly more rational state, it doesn’t usually relieve the anxiety but makes it easier to push to the back of my mind.

  5. I have struggled with anxiety my whole life but it didn’t become truly debilitating until after Grady was born (and I wound up with PPD, PPA, and a touch of PPOCD for added fun.) I like the idea of your fighting muscles being really strong. You are resilient and tough and I know that anxiety won’t get the best of you. I find anxiety somewhat easier to deal with because I find it more measurable than depression (personally, not generally speaking.) Like if I don’t feel like I’m going to scratch my way out of my own skin? I know I’m having a good day. I have high hopes for 2013. xo

    Casey Reply:

    @Hillary, Seems that very few people have a harder time with anxiety than depression. Perhaps it’s the chemicals involved?
    I want to simply flick anxiety away like an annoying bug…”GO AWAY. DO NOT WANT.”

  6. Mostly my anxiety is well controlled, well except that time I ended up in the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack. In my defense the arm going numb thing was a new symptom and I wasn’t sure soooo I wasn’t sure a simple xanax was going fix me. Luckily, it was “just” a panic attack and not some heart issue. Official diagnosis of General Anxiety Disorder. GREAT!!

    Anxiety in any form is no fun. I hope you find relief soon and have a happy and healthy 2013.

    Casey Reply:

    @Shelley, Yeah, when other parts of your body join in on the anxiety melt down you really can feel like you’re headed down and fast.
    (Glad you’re “just” generally anxious)

  7. Mine has never been as bad as it is now. It’s always been there but this fall it hit really hard and I can honestly say that I’m scared.

    I don’t know myself anymore.

    and then I see your words in my reader. Thank you for writing about your struggles and being honest.

    Casey Reply:

    @crookedeyebrow, I’ve been where you are.
    Oh how I’ve been there.
    Cody always says once I hit bottom it’s finally a chance for me to start heading back up, bit by bit.
    I have a very safe and warm place in my heart for you.

  8. I came out of a few trips to the ER with a new diagnosis. Somewhere along the years I learned how to talk myself down with CBT logic. I guess that degree paid off in one way.
    Keep on keeping on. Good things are waiting for you.

    Casey Reply:

    @Joules, I got a degree in graphic design and the only thing I got was realizing Comic Sans was terrible 4 years before everyone else. ;)

  9. Thanks for your honesty. I hope things get better for all of you.

    Casey Reply:

    @Nichole, Thank you. :)

  10. My anxiety used to result in my hands and then arms falling asleep. A few years ago when my husband was deployed it switched to tactile hallucinations…not really an improvement. At all. Depression is so much quieter.

    Casey Reply:

    @Wendy Wainwright, Oooh, yeah. Depression is too quiet for me. Anxiety is too loud.
    One of my anxious ticks is twirling my wrists, it’s very strange.

    Wendy Wainwright Reply:

    @Casey, that is a new one! I just find, with medication, I am better at fighting back with depression but anxiety just paralyzes me.

  11. No depression here but anxiety. I am going on month 12 of Lexapro – which I may have to stay on forever to help manage the anxiety. I just don’t do well on Xanax. But I did find that breathing in for three and out for three – rather than focusing on deep breathing really helped me a great deal more. I am reading a book ob CBT – still not sure what I’ll take away from it. But I have vowed to read it all the way through before I decide. I need to do more yoga, drink more water, and sleep more. Sleep really seems to help me keep my perspective. That and realizing no matter what I do there will be times when I feel the world closing in – even though it really isn’t. It’s just my body tricking me. Stupid body.

    P.S. I do hope your family vacation home has been a pleasure. Indy has actually been quite lovely this year!!

    Casey Reply:

    @REK981, Have you tried dropping violent and overwhelming media? (TV, books, movies) That actually helps me more than anything, my brain simply cannot process anger and terror.

    REK981 Reply:

    @Casey,

    Yes, I know I cannot watch or read certain things. I also tend to avoid a lot of media and news now too. It invades my dreams and it is terrifying!! Also the noise of it!! It is so LOUD and it is not quite a ringing and not quite a buzzing but it is there.

    Wendy Wainwright Reply:

    @REK981, I took Doxepin for anxiety for a few years. Everyone is totally unique but it worked much better for me than Lexapro. I was also on Wellbutrin with the Doxepin. I took the wellbutrin in the morning and the Doxepin at night. I feel they balance each other really well, for me at least. Now I am on Wellbutrin but switched from Doxepin to Amitriptyline for my per, during, and post natal life. It’s similar to Doxepin but had been followed more closely in pregnancy over the years.

  12. As I get older…anxiety takes the fun out of EVERYTHING. It’s remarkable sometimes the things I find to be scared of…things that were not even THINGS years ago. Let’s just say, I, too, would much rather join you in the Ohio countryside.

    Casey Reply:

    @Angi, Just the thought of being back in Times Square feels entirely different now than it did eight years ago.

  13. When I was a teenager and young-20-something it was just anxiety. And then I had my second kid, and PPD took over everything, and ever since then I’ve struggled with both.

    The depression is well managed with meds. Lovely meds.

    The anxiety? Not so much. It’s harder, because it’s as much a learned response to stimuli as it is a chemical imbalance, so it’s more difficult to treat.

    I can’t go to concerts, Walmart, or stores like TJ Maxx or Ross. Too many people, too much stuff. Stores where I have to search for clothes send me into a tail spin of anxiety so bad that I just have to leave.

    So. Yeah. I get it.

    Casey Reply:

    @Jess @ Wrangling Chaos, I have a hard time shopping now too, which is why I hope catalogs never go out of print. :)

  14. That is how anxiety is for me too…but those glass walls start to close in on me and I feel squashed and hyperventilatey.

    My New Year’s wish for you is no more shoes.

    Casey Reply:

    @Katie, And everything gets LOUDER as the walls close in. Oy.
    Same wish to you darling.

  15. I commented too early in the day earlier…it’s easier to talk about anxiety when you are feeling anxious. In the morning, during the day, I struggle more with depression, especially is it isn’t sunny out. It wasn’t sunny out and I was actually able to fall asleep to nap which almost never happens. When the baby (9 weeks) woke up I wanted so desperately for him to not be there crying, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and never move again. I got up of course and pulled out of it (maybe that sounds like oh, she’s not so bad, but trust me, I have been playing this game for a long time and I am on a lot of medication)…that was maybe at 11am…then around 5pm, and this is everyday, the baby’s crying makes my skin crawl. I don’t feel violent or angry or anything and he isn’t fussy or difficult to console, it just doesn’t matter. I feel like spiders are in my clothes crawling all over my body. I fight that off and on until bedtime.

    Casey Reply:

    @Wendy, Reading your words brings back a flood of memories with PPD/PPA and the sound of a baby’s cry.
    It’s terrible to miss out on so much of life because something uncontrollable and unseen in your brain misfires.
    Best wishes to you and you have all my prayers and love.

    Wendy Wainwright Reply:

    @Casey, thanks! I am doing pretty well. I see my psychiatrist for 45 minutes every week and am fully medicated. I stayed on my meds while pregnant so the post partum period has been much easier than I thought it would be. It’s all relative! I am formula feeding and so able to be fully treated and really, almost all the time even with the crawly skin I am actually having a lot of fun with him!

  16. Sorry to hear about your struggles. I think I may have emailed you before about getting extra fruits and veggies by taking Juice Plus+ (great for kids too). Here is a link to my website to watch a 10 minute video that explains the benefits from the phytonutrients in this whole food in capsule or chewable form. It really is worth watching and you can contact me if you want to learn more.
    http://www.kpiccolasharesjuiceplus.com

    In addition, we should all be taking Vitamin D (great for SAD), Vitamin B12 and an Omega from ALGAE or KRILL and not a fish source. Kids too- except fro B12 since they have plenty of energy!!!
    Here is a link to an article I just read in best health: 8 nutrients to help beat anxiety. Very timely!
    http://www.besthealthmag.ca/embrace-life/mental-health/8-nutrients-to-help-beat-anxiety

    I also started taking Hot Yoga. I was very hesitant to try but now I love it. It’s helped shed some long-overdue baby weight and it is a full 75 minutes where I think of nothing else but doing the yoga moves right.

    Take care,
    Kristen Piccola

    Casey Reply:

    @kristen, Thanks Kristen.
    (Hot yoga, not my thing. I get so smelly when I sweat. I prefer my gentle girly yoga.) :)

    kristen Reply:

    @Casey,
    Ha ha! THat is funny! I was actually surprised that I don’t smell! Well, I don’t think so but maybe my yoga neighbor does! I might have to try some gentle yoga for some more peaceful sleeps! Good luck to feeling better in 2013!

  17. A friend of mine had debilitating anxiety. She would describe it as waking up, realizing you’re buried alive in a coffin and can’t get out.

    Casey Reply:

    @Q, Oh, yeah. That’s kind of pretty much yep.

  18. My anxiety has always bowled me over much worse than my depression. I tend to fall apart and become depressed the more my anxiety takes over and less in control of it I become. Sometimes that loss of control feeling comes on rather suddenly, without warning. I wish that there were things I could enjoy more in life but I think I’m managing ok for now…

    Casey Reply:

    @Mel, It’s a very tricky line to try and walk, especially since it changes day to day and you can never know what to expect or what will set it off.

  19. I too am creeped out by 2013 but will also keep a positive outlook. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about depression. Wish my mom could’ve read it.

    Casey Reply:

    @Leslie, Someone told me to just add it up. 2+0+1+3=6. *shrugs* Hey, it kind of works.

  20. Still come visit me in NY — we can skip the City and I’ll take you exploring to some of the quieter, less bustling parts: like the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx; my old stomping grounds (caramoor.org) in the “country”, where we can drive past Martha Stewart’s massive country estate and thumb our noses are her, or sing her praises depending; or up the Hudson River Valley to stately homes and quaint byways en route to the CIA; or if you can bear it a tiny bit in the City, out to Governor’s and/or Roosevelt Island, where it’s a whole new experience, but with water and fewer people. I can skip Times Square too; I see it enough as it is. Please do reconsider, when you are centered again, and you feel it’s more manageable. You are always welcome – with open arms – to explore other parts of the Empire State. There’s more here than the Apple, there are airports north of the City, and other transportation options than the massive anxiety of mass transit.
    XOXOXOXO ME

    Casey Reply:

    @Auntie Nettie, Sold. Or you just come to quiet boring Indiana.

  21. Athanasia says:

    Boy does all this sound familiar. My struggles were not brought on by postpartum but have been a thread in the fabric of my life for as long as I can remember, even to toddlerhood.

    Five years of talk therapy and a maintenance dose of Zoloft has done the trick. I avoid those things that raise the anxiety as best I can and for those that I cannot avoid, I have learned to manage BECAUSE I avoid the stuff that I can. So going to the mailbox and answering the phone when it is my son on the other end don’t paralyze me anymore. It helps, too, that he’s gotten himself together.

    I see the anxiety in my adult daughter and wonder what she’ll face if she becomes a mom – something she wants very much to be.

    I can also say, as I’ve gotten older (age 53), what I found stimulating (going to the city) no longer is an interest. I much prefer quieter things – like a walk on the beach with friends. I also learned my “fear” of the shoe dropping is much more paralyzing that when the shoe does drop. My catastrophic thinking used to send me over the edge – but now I lean into it and conquer it before it conquers me.

    Your courage to face the day and what it holds – one minute at a time – is to be commended….all who have commented here. You are all excellent examples for your children.

    Hugs to all! <3

    Casey Reply:

    @Athanasia, Yes, large cities have lost their appeal, which is probably why none of my parents are packing up for LA or NYC.
    I have learned over the past couple of years to really pay attention to all the good, I’m sure some bad has happened but I didn’t let it burrow its way into my spirit.