Still alive but I’m bearly breathing…I think.

Despite being out of town for a few days, visiting family, the holiday and a 6 hour car ride back and forth from my hometown, my anxiety was manageable. I didn’t have a panic attack I couldn’t keep under control. I was happy. I enjoyed myself. I even let my hair down a little bit and had a few drinks!

Then today happened.

4 days of anxiety hit me this morning. I woke up with a throbbing headache and an increased heart rate. Dizzy. Shaking. Cold sweats. As soon as I opened my eyes I knew it was going to be a rough day. I had plans to run some errands and I was determined not to let my anxiety get in the way.

I took a shower and tried to leisurely get ready for the day, hoping that it would pass. Nope. Leaving the house was a challenge and I just wanted to get it over with. As soon as I got in the car I began to tremble. I didn’t let that stop me from pulling out of the driveway towards my destination. I stopped at Starbucks and got a coffee, thinking the caffeine would help my headache. That was my first mistake.

I ended up using the coffee as a distraction and drank it way too fast. My stomach was already upset from the anxiety and the ibuprofen I took for the headache and that didn’t help. The caffeine hit me like a ton of bricks and suddenly I’m standing in line at Home Goods with arms full of merchandise feeling like I want to throw it all and sprint out of the store like a bat out of hell crying. It took every ounce of my being to make it through the checkout.

As I was throwing my items in the car I realized that I needed batteries for the wreaths I bought which happened to have little white LED lights on it. Shit. Now I have to go to Target. I used a vacation day today because I decided that having an extra day off after a busy long weekend would make for a calmer start to my work week. I’m usually at work Monday through Friday. That said, the crowds I’m used to in the stores I frequent on the weekends move a little faster. I was speeding through Target (because you can never just go in there for one item) and I kept hitting road blocks. Kids running through the store screaming. An elderly woman with her cart in the middle of the isle. An employee stocking the shelves. It was torture. I finally make it out of there and head home. Phew, I made it.

In my former life I was a hair stylist. I enjoy doing hair from time to time but overall I’m very happy I changed careers. I do a handful of “clients” still (by clients I mean family members that are too cheap to pay to get their hair done) but I really do not do it anymore. My sister came over and I colored her hair. When I got home I began doing some holiday decorating to distract myself and get out of my head. Her visit was a welcome distraction.

My sister and I didn’t have the best childhood and we both struggle with different forms of mental illness. I strongly believe that while having certain disorders is hereditary, your upbringing also plays a huge role in the person you become when you are an adult, mentally and physically. Sometimes when we spend time together we commiserate about what we’ve been through and what is currently going on in our lives. Today when she was venting to me I felt strong. My anxiety was at bay. I listened and gave her my advice. It wasn’t until after she left that I fell apart again. Truth is, I’ve always been strong for my friends and family in need. People seem to generally feel comfortable confiding in me about their personal issues. I like to think I’m a good listener and that I give realistic, practical advice.

The problem with this is that I am also an empath. I can walk into a room and tell you how each individual around me is feeling to some degree. I’ve always been hyper sensitive. Not only do I pick up these emotions but I carry them with me. Not good for someone who has issues of their own.

I feel like this feeling is never going to go away. I feel like I want to escape myself. I feel like there is no hope for me. I feel like this world is not a good place. I feel alone, even though I’m not. I don’t want to feel anxious anymore. I feel like giving up.

But I will not. I’m going to cry. I’m going to wish I was someone else, somewhere else. I’m going to have dinner and watch mindless TV and try not to stress about what I’m about to return to when I go back to work tomorrow. I’m going to apply my essential oils for anxiety. I’m going to keep a smile on my face, and I’m going to pretend that I’m ok. That I am strong. Because that’s what I do.

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