I may or may not have had anxiety all my life. What I do know is that I’ve had identifiable anxiety symptoms since my dad was diagnosed with cancer while I was in high school. (It will now come as no surprise to you that my anxiety, at it’s base, is health-focused.)
At first I didn’t know it was anxiety. I was diagnosed with ‘stress,’ asthma, and ‘have you tried prayer?’ over the years. It wasn’t until college that I learned the magic phrase ‘anxiety disorder.’ Turns out, having an overactive amygdala runs in my family. I got myself into therapy (thanks free college shrinks!) and my wonderful, supportive general practitioner gave me a prescription for Lorazepam. Between the two, my panic attacks, anxiety attacks, and general anxiety were brought down to manageable levels, so my diagnosis faded into the background. The occasional panic attack still occurred, but once that I knew what they were I could ride them out.
However, my laissez-faire approach backfired fairly spectacularly almost two years ago. After an extremely stressful engagement, I spent the first six-eight months of marriage gripped by a major depressive episode. I spent days unable to get off the couch, hating myself and convinced that Kevin had made a terrible mistake in tying himself to a useless lump like me. Panic attacks, anxiety attacks, depersonalization, insomnia… all of it was up for grabs.
Since then I’ve had to take a much more proactive approach to my mental health. Some of what I’ve learned is ‘common knowledge,’ some are, I think, pretty unique. Here are a few of the things that I have found helpful, I hope someone else will get some use out of them two.
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