February 4th, 2008
Read Part I first here.
The anxiety: it’s overwhelmed me, made me laugh, ruined relationships, made friendships, and inspired my writing. It’s funny, really, that this is one of the first times that I’ve called it out: I never refer to what I have as anxiety in so many words. Although, surely that’s what it is. Just this past Saturday night, as I lay on the couch watching a movie, I experienced an hour of pounding heartbeats. For no reason. The Rock had to tickle me out of it, his last-ditch relaxation inducer.
My theory is that my emotional anxiety has jumped to the physical plane, and I’m experiencing anxiety symptoms, whether I’m actually anxious or not. Or, perhaps, the anxiety is now out of proportion to actual events. Like, I’ve undergone it for so long, that the simplest catalyst galvanizes the symptoms into action and they attack full force with little provocation. In the case of the movie, I jumped at an unexpected scene, and after that, the heart started pounding. And wouldn’t stop.
So after I went to the doctor several months ago, and she speculated I had anxiety, and then sent me on my way with a prescription for Lexapro, I decided to declare war on anxiety. I didn’t want to take medication for it. I wanted to understand it. Know why it’s there. Its triggers and origins.
I’ve been to therapists before, and it just hasn’t worked for me. My theory is that I don’t really have a problem: I’m making it a problem. My life is great: I have good friends, loving, stable, Rock-like husband, wonderful house and healthy, goofy kids. There is nothing wrong. And what’s tended to work in the past is for me to talk myself out of the anxiety. Strip it of its power. Give gratitude for what I have. Open my eyes, be aware. Get over it.
Now, I know this is a namby pamby way of handling anxiety for many people. Anxiety is a very real disease and some people can’t even leave their house or have a “normal” life because of it. I’m not trying to minimize its impact. But for me and my brand of anxiety (do I need a trademark symbol here?), the best approach has been to stop fearing it and knowing that I am stronger.
So, it hasn’t always worked. Some of my symptoms (and again if these are markers of a neurological or nerve disease instead, boy am I going to eat my words) are so intrusive that it’s hard to function: the most bothersome of them all has been the “internal” shaking and electricity coursing through my system sensation. This brought me, finally, to a kinesthesiologist, as I’ve found traditional medical doctors tend to send you on your way with a prescription, but no insight into your condition. I figured an “alternative” medical practitioner would offer some other treatments and a more holistic view of my anxiety.
I was sort of right.