Confessions of an Anxious Brain

Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Bipolar Disorder, Anorexia, Bulimia, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I’m 18, why are these relevant to me? Well, they are all mental illnesses.

Why are mental illnesses relevant to me you ask?

They are very close to me because I am almost positive that I have an anxiety disorder. I have several friends with various problems and talking about our problems has helped us all connect on this deep level. I want to use one page on this blog to talk about anxiety and other mental illnesses. I would love to form a community of people where we all lift each other up through our struggles. Trust me, I know the struggles of living with this.

It all started when I was 13 or 14.

I don’t remember the exact date. I would get nauseous, I don’t mean ‘Aww, my stomach hurts a little.’ I mean, ‘My throat has this feeling that I’m going to vomit all over and I need to run to the bathroom.’ The feeling is always in my throat. I didn’t know what caused it. I began to connect it to stuff. The first connection I made was when I would watch ‘scary’ movies I would wake up 2 hours after going to sleep and be nauseous. I would sit in the bathroom for hours. I remember watching random YouTube videos to distract myself.

Slowly, it began to take over my life. I remember when I was 14 I went to a friend’s birthday party (it was a sleepover). I woke up in the middle of the night and was extremely nauseous. (We didn’t watch anything scary or do anything anxiety provoking. It was weird.) I remember pacing up and down their hallway for hours. Around 6 in the morning I had some dry heaves. Eventually, everyone woke up and we started doing stuff and I was pretty normal once I got my mind off of it.

I told my family about the nausea but that was it. Eventually, I just stopped saying anything because I didn’t want to be annoying.

Finally, in July or August of 2016, I found a description of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) on Pinterest and that’s when it clicked. ‘What I have isn’t abnormal, there are thousands of people around the world like this.’ Eventually, I explained it to my parents a couple of months later.

After finding out what was wrong with me I began to make connections and realize just how many panic attacks I had lived through. I can’t count them. I remember some and it’s terrible. I have so many happy memories of doing things with my friends and family, but pretty much every memory is tainted by a panic attack or a less severe anxiety attack.

This was a secret I kept for 4 years. For 4 years I would live through panic attacks all the time and just didn’t tell people. I couldn’t. I didn’t know what they would think of me afterward. Finally, at the beginning of March 2017, I opened up to my 2 closest friends. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. As hard as this is. It is a million times easier to live with when there are people you can talk to about it.

In March of 2017, I went through this phase of writing about anxiety. I have only shared this with my closest friends. Bear with me, it was pretty emotional to write these and it’s hard to share them. But I want to share this with the world.

 

I woke up one morning and was just inspired to write about anxiety, this is what I wrote:

You want to know what hell on earth is? Anxiety. I want to be with people. I want to travel. I want to experience the world. I want to help everyone. I have so many dreams. I want to end world poverty. I want to write a book about anxiety. I want to become an entrepreneur and millionaire. I want to be a philanthropist. I want to finish my novel. But some days I struggle to get out of bed because of anxiety. I have a to-do list a mile long but all I want to do is sleep.

I feel confined to the four walls of my room because when I leave it I’m miserable.

What’s hell is until recently I felt like no one cared. I’m glad people care now. But it’s still hard. I want everyone to know how torturous it is to have anxiety. I want to write it out in a way that they can feel every single physical reaction I have during a panic attack. I can’t change that I have it and I wish more people understood that. Anxiety and mental disorders aren’t something you choose. They choose you. I don’t tell people for attention. I tell them so they know what they’re dealing with when they want to be my friend.

Anxiety means vacation is torture. Parties are torture. Having company is torture. Anxiety has made me asocial and I hate that! I love being with people. I love being with people in general. I love laughing but anxiety depresses me. I want to talk. I need to find my voice. I am not the only silent sufferer. People need to know. Mental illnesses are a daily battle. You have to fight every day of your life. It’s so tiring to go to bed after fighting a war in your head. Only to wake up the next day and have to start all over again.

People have no idea how hard it is for me to leave the house and do anything. Going to something like the grocery store takes so much courage. It’s torture to go out of the house. Going to hang out with friends is so hard. I have the best friends ever but I can’t do anything with them because it’s torture. I’ve become a hermit and I want out. I want to experience the world. I want to live a normal life.

I want everyone to know and accept us: The silent sufferers of mental illness. They need to understand how hard it is to leave the house. I used to be an extroverted social butterfly. Now I hate being around most people. People don’t understand how much I desperately want to be with them and experiencing stuff with them. But every time I try I’m miserable.

People have no idea how hard it is to leave the house when all you want to do is sleep because that’s the only place you have true peace. But your body wakes you up an hour early with uncontrollable shaking or nausea and you can’t go back to sleep.

No one knows how many bad days I have. No one knows how few good days I have.

This is something I wrote about the physical side of a panic attack. This is my life. Warning, it’s very descriptive.

Symptoms are scary. I hate them. One minute I’ll be sitting there laughing with friends and the next my body is freaking out over nothing.

 It’s a tossup if I’ll feel the elevated heartbeat or nausea first. It’s scary. One minute everything is normal. The next my heart is pounding so loud and hard I feel like it’s trying to escape. It becomes so intense that I can feel it in the rest of my body. It feels like my entire body is pulsating. I’ll get waves of nausea that slowly intensify. It’s terrible because it is so hard to tell if I’m actually going to get sick or if it’s just a symptom. I never know if I should wait it out or run to the bathroom.

My abdomen starts hurting all over. It feels like my organs are tying themselves in knots. I’m not over-exaggerating. That’s literally what it feels like. Some people say they feel like they get butterflies in their stomach. For me, it feels like my organs themselves are twisting themselves around and trying to braid themselves together.

I get a lump in my throat. My mouth goes completely dry and it feels like my throat is begging to close. I can barely swallow even my saliva. My lips instantly dry out even if I’ve had 70 ounces of water. It’s an odd feeling to be sitting there and your throat just starts closing. it feels like my esophagus is squeezing itself shut. Like someone is holding it in their fist and squeezing it tighter and tighter.

I shake. My legs and hands will just start shaking and I have to physically restrain them so people don’t notice. Have you ever exercised really hard and your muscles are so tired they just shake? Well, imagine that happening randomly for absolutely no reason. That’s what it’s like.

My body temperature starts to fluctuate drastically. My fingers and toes will feel so cold I can barely move them. Meanwhile, I’m visibly sweating out of my armpits. My face is so hot it feels like it looks as red as a tomato. I feel like I’m blushing uncontrollably and I can’t do anything. It doesn’t matter what I’m actually doing or thinking. I’m not doing stuff that will make me blush. It’s terrible. I feel as though everyone is looking at me and can see me blushing uncontrollably.

My legs go numb. I feel like they’re not even there. I can’t use them. Have you ever felt like you were glued to a chair and just couldn’t move? That’s kind of what it’s like. They also tingle. It feels like my legs and feet just fell asleep but they didn’t. Sometimes I get Goosebumps all over my arms and legs.

My tongue feels tied to the roof of my mouth and my lips are glued shut. I physically can’t open my mouth and make a sound. I can’t even whisper. That is absolutely terrifying. I clench my teeth so hard that it hurts to eat for a few days afterward.

I get random pangs of pain in my chest. It hurts and is absolutely horrific. The first time it happened I thought I was having a heart attack. I was like fourteen. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be fourteen and very healthy and then suddenly your chest just starts hurting like someone is stabbing it with a knife. I thought I was dying. Now I know that’s a pretty common symptom. I just ignore it but it still happens. I hate it.

I can’t focus on anything. It’s like my brain just shuts off all normal thinking and turns to physical responses. All it’s doing is trying to freak out the rest of my body. I feel like I just ran a marathon when in fact I haven’t left my seat in an hour.

It’s tiring to have your entire body freaking out. Absolutely exhausting. I will randomly get completely fatigued and just want to sleep. Sleep is an escape sometimes. But if something is bothering me I will wake up really early in the morning and feel really nauseous. Or I will wake up with uncontrollable shaking. It’s like I’m shivering drastically but I’m not cold. I can’t control it. I hate it when that happens because I can never go back to sleep. Then because of that small attack first thing in the morning I will ride the anxiety roller coaster all day long.  I’m so exhausted when I go to bed. I’m always tired.

I get depressed about it. I don’t like talking about anxiety because that can be a trigger or it just depresses me. I hate that. I’m a very happy, optimistic person most of the time. But deep down I’m scared. I’m scared I’ll throw up. I have a slight phobia of vomiting. I’m scared someone will notice I’m acting weird and ask if I’m doing ok. It is the hardest thing in the world for me to admit to someone that I don’t feel good.

 Sometimes I stress myself out so bad I start crying uncontrollably. I cried for four hours straight once. It was terrifying. I had no idea why I was crying. I had no control over my emotions. I hate crying in front of people.

Sometimes I get light-headed and dizzy. I have never fainted. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened some day.

I just want to say that this is probably the hardest post I have ever written. If you have any issues like this feel free to comment below, let’s start a community that lifts each other up through our struggles.

Please share this post with anyone you know who is struggling with an issue like this. I know how lonely you feel. It feels as though no one understands or can relate. But, finding someone to relate to makes it a million times easier to bear.

Question of the day, has a mental illness affected your life? How has it? Comment below, I’d love to know.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Heather

 

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23 Comments

Linda

“Eventually I just stopped saying anything because I didn’t want to be annoying.”
-this is me.
I don’t want to tell people because I think it scares them. They don’t know what to do or say and it makes them uncomfortable. I think if they know my struggles they won’t trust me.

Reply
heathersambitions

I know the feeling. Seriously, that’s been my biggest fear. This post was so hard to publish because I know a lot of people who follow my blog. I just didn’t know if it would change what they thought of me. Oh, and my email is in my contact list if you ever want to talk to someone more privately.

Reply
Matt

Wow, that sounds so hard Heather. I am so sorry you have to deal with this. One of the things that helped me with depression and anxiety was starting a regular workout routine. Workout classes are a good way to do this. The comradery and physical goals are a great help. And I’ll be praying for peace in your life.

Reply
Sheryl

Heather, I’m sorry you’re struggling, please know I’ll be praying for you.

Reply
Michelle

Anxiety is hard. But knowing how to handle it makes all the difference. Even just know what your symptoms are and knowing that you’re not really dying at that moment makes a huge difference. Also, great job writing about it. Being able to tell people about anxiety/panic attacks is (in my opinion) a huge step in taking control of them.

Reply
Following Him

I got a bit teary-eyed reading this, and please don’t take that the wrong way. You said, “finding someone to relate to makes it a million times easier to bear” and that’s true – and it’s also a bit emotional, haha. I didn’t expect to stumble across a blogger who knows exactly what it’s like. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone, but at the same time, I’m sorry that you have to know what it’s like. The people who don’t know don’t realize how lucky they are.

I’ve had those exact symptoms from anxiety so often, and in the last few months, it started to get worse. Last one was a week ago tomorrow, and I would consider it more of a panic attack than anxiety. And I was in a restaurant, so of course the smell of food really made the nausea go crazy. I managed to sit through the meal but then I just had to get outside in the fresh air – and the warmth because I was shaking and my hands and legs were freezing.

The not being able to eat thing – totally get that. It’s normal for me to not have breakfast.

Thank you for writing this post. I know it took a lot of courage and mental preparations to do so. I’ll be praying for you! ❤

Reply
heathersambitions

I’m so glad you could relate to this post. This comment means the world to me. Seriously. You are the reason I wrote this post.

That’s so true, it is emotional when you find someone who totally gets you and your issues. I will forever be grateful to my friends who have helped me through the past few months. I’m always available if you need someone to talk to. My email is heathersambitions@gmail.com and I have that email on here so people can have someone to talk to if they need it.

I’m so sorry you have to deal with those symptoms. I know how hard they are to live with. People who don’t have these issues have so much to be grateful for. Restaurants are one of the hardest places for me to go to. I’m sorry you went through that but, I’m so proud that you made it through it. It’s hard to get through stuff like that but I know I always feel so courageous and confident afterward.

Aww, I’m sorry. Eating is such a struggle with it. Somedays I’m good, somedays I’m not. My opinion is they’re just days, life goes on.

You’re so welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read it. This was the hardest post I’ve ever written. But, every comment or email that I get from it makes it worth it. I wrote this post so that people like me would know that they’re not alone with this issue. That was the hardest thing for me, the lonliness of it. I felt like a freak with it. I don’t want anyone to go through that. Thank you so much! I’ll be praying for you too. Have a wonderful evening. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need someone. 🙂 <3

Reply
Following Him

Aww. 🙂 ❤

I’m so glad that you have such good friends to help you through the hard times!

Thank you for the email. 🙂

For some reason, today has been pretty good, considering. Maybe it’s because I started an exercise routine?

Me too; I rarely eat in public because of the reasons you stated – I feel weird, like I’m being watched. It’s just uncomfortable. I always get a to-go plate so I can eat it later.

Yes, that is true. I’ve been told that the more you get through it, the better it gets. But that was about getting used to being around people (I’m quite isolated most of the time – home about 6 days a week) not about getting through anxiety.

That’s a good way to look at it. Life goes on. 🙂

I plan to read your other posts in this category, so I’ll comment once I get to it tonight. 🙂

I’ve felt like a freak too.

Thank you! ❤ You have a wonderful evening as well! 🙂

heathersambitions

Hey! Sorry, it’s taken me so long to reply. Hurricane Irma preparations have been in full swing around here.

Yes, I’m so very thankful for all of my friends and family who have stuck by me through the hard times.

You’re welcome.

That’s great! I’d say that exercise probably has something to do with it. I noticed back in February I think it was that exercise helped my anxiety drastically. It really helps me to be able to focus and burn off any extra adrenaline and the rush of endorphins has done wonders for my mental state. And, the physical benefits have been a wonderful plus. Actually, I’m planning on doing a post all about my fitness journey in the near future!

Yeah, I feel you there. I usually don’t eat because I’m nauseous, but then it feels like everyone is watching me and judging me on how much I’m eating and such and that just makes it worse.

Yes. Pushing myself slowly has helped a lot. I feel you with the isolation. I’m a homebody through and through. My home is my safe place. It’s the one place in the world that really calms my anxiety. I ‘work’ from home right now so I’m here most of 6-7 days a week. I’ll run errands pretty often and have choir and church stuff. But, that’s about all I do. Sometimes I’ll do stuff with friends, but not super often.

Thank you. It’s really helped me to get through the tough stuff.

Freakness has been my life and not just from anxiety. I’ve truly felt like I fit in anywhere. I’m a really odd person.

You’re welcome! <3

Following Him

Hi! Glad to hear from you. 🙂

So, you are in the path of Irma? I hope the preparations go well and that you stay safe! That must cause you even more anxiety. And now, since you shared your email, I’d like to share mine with you if you need to talk: peneloperoyalpayne@gmail.com 🙂

I’m so glad that exercise has helped you so much! I’d love to read about your fitness journey! 😀 Mine is just starting. I expressed that I wanted to start working out a bit and my parents reaction was kind of like, “This won’t last.” But my uncle decided to make a custom barbell for me as an early birthday present while he stayed here the past couple of weeks. (He had evacuated Texas because of Hurricane Harvey and just returned this week. Thankfully, it didn’t look like his place was affected.) And he also gave me ankle weights and small dumbbells, and showed me how to use it all without hurting myself.

Yeah. I didn’t say anything for the longest time because of that, but finally, I had to say something, because they noticed I wasn’t eating my favorite foods when my mom cooked it and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Most things, I can get through, but eggs are the worst. I don’t know what it is about them, but when I get nauseous, I can’t stand them. One thing I’ve found though, is that sometimes I can at least sip on a homemade smoothie if the nausea isn’t too bad. Mango, papaya, peaches, pineapple, banana, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, flax seed, and a bit of cashew milk – mmm! 🙂

Exactly. 🙂 If I may ask, what kind of work do you do from home? It’s really nice that you are able to work from home.

Ah; haha, we only go for groceries once a week (we are in a rural area). You go to church? I watch sermons on TV and listen to them online, but I don’t go to church. I’ve been twice to my grandma’s church and to put it nicely… it wasn’t my kind of place. It was too loud and the preacher screamed a lot. Not good for the nerves, haha. I’m sure I would like a different church that is a bit quieter though.

I feel the same way. I never fit in anywhere. At some point, I quit trying. So what if I like to dress like a 1960’s hippie? Go ahead and stare if you want to. 😂 Or at least, that’s what I tell myself… 😅

heathersambitions

Hi, Penelope!
Sorry, it has taken me over a week to reply to you. Yes, I was in the path of Irma (LOL, all of Florida was, it was kind of hard not to be.) Thankfully, I live on the East side of Central Florida so we didn’t have a direct hit. But, we were on the side of the storm where the winds are the strongest.
I am so thankful to God that we didn’t have any damage or our house. We just lost a few branches off our trees and nothing too big at that. Yes, Irma caused me a lot of anxiety. A lot of that was because I didn’t have time to work out. I really realized this week just how important working out is for me. I can’t wait to get back on track.
Thank you for your email. Seriously, email me at any time if you need someone to talk to.

Exercise has given me back my life and I will forever be grateful for that.
That’s really exciting! Your Uncle sounds really nice. I just work out at home with a few dumbells or I go to the gym with my sister.

I really only said anything because I was having a really bad time about going on a trip with my Youth Group. I ended up staying home from it the anxiety was so bad. Eggs have bothered me for years. They’ll give me a stomach ache which in turn will trigger me and set off other symptoms. I usually just don’t eat them. Smoothies and protein shakes are a lifesaver for me when I’m having bad days. I actually just posted a recipe for one of my favorite protein shakes. (https://heathersambitions.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/green-peanut-butter-protein-shake/)

I don’t exactly have a job. I walk dogs for a neighbor and I write this blog. I’m working towards setting up this blog to earn money from it soon. I call blogging my job but I don’t actually make money from it yet. LOL

Yeah, I go to a Reformed Church. It’s kind of old fashioned but I really like it.
Aww, that doesn’t sound fun. My church is pretty quiet and relaxing. I’m in the choir there, that causes me some anxiety but it really helps me get out of the house and around people.

I’m kind of giving up trying. I believe in the saying that you need to ‘be yourself and others will be attracted by your vibe’ or something like that. I’m glad you like to be yoruself. We need more people like that in this world.
<3

Following Him

Hi Heather! 🙂

I understand; I knew you were busy and I hoped you weren’t hit too hard and that your house is okay. Glad that broken branches was the worst of it. 🙂

Ooohhh, you’re in Florida. Yeah, I see what you mean; your whole state was in the path. 😅

I hope that you are able to get back on track with the workout! 🙂

Thank you! ❤

That’s great. 🙂 I work out at home too. I think I would be intimidated at the gym. 😅 Glad you have a sister to go with!

Aww, I’m sorry that you had to stay home, but I understand why.

I’m with you there; most of the time, I avoid them too.

That smoothie sounds really good! 🙂 The only thing is, I’d have to leave out the peanut butter powder… because I’m allergic to peanuts. XD I’m sure I could substitute with almond or something, though. 🙂

Oh, I see. 🙂 Walking a dog is really great though; you get exercise and earn money at the same time!

My blog doesn’t earn money either. (If only!) Writing for me is so much fun though, I don’t consider it a job. It is a lot of work to write a novel, but it’s fun work.

Old fashioned and quiet sounds awesome. 🙂 I’m glad that you get out and around people by being in the choir.

Yes. 😀 **high-five** God created us all different for a reason. So what if we don’t fit into this vague concept of “fitting in” and “being normal?” What is that, anyway? It’s so overrated. 🙂 Trying to fit in actually caused me more anxiety than being myself did.

Following Him

** I wasn’t done, I didn’t mean to send it yet. 😂

I hope that if you do give up trying to fit in, that you find some peace in it. ❤

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