Light At The End Of My Tunnel?

After the storm: Clouds part and sun returns :: WRAL.com

I have always heard how after a Tornado the sun will shine, I have always thought what’s the point? You have this massive roaring tunnel that comes to steal and kill, after all this damage has been done, who cares if the sun is shining. Although it doesn’t make much sense to me, if you stop and think about it, it does signify something rather satisfying, the end of a storm, the end of fear, pain, a dark place.

I like to compare this scenario to my own battle with Mental Illness. I have been battling with it for so long it is hard to imagine, every year that is starting to pass me by with hardly any relief, I fear that I may never see the sun.

I have hit some milestones that keep me positive still, I am able to do many things, things I wasn’t doing or even able before. I have found that I can do lots of things when I have my comfort blanket with me (My daughter or My mother), I am able to tell myself, you are able to do these things with them present, you could do them by yourself. I haven’t seemed to believe it just yet though, but I am hopeful.

I haven’t found my Sun after the storm just yet, but I am still holding on to hope that I will, that we all will. Everyday we get through is one step closer to redemption. There has to be a light at the end of our tunnel, it may just take some of us a little longer to find it, and that is okay.

“Broken Crayons Still Color”

I feel like all my posts consist of all the ugly and negative parts of my life. I was reading over all my blog posts and I myself was saddened, It seems like my life is just one big ball of misery. Don’t get me wrong I have my every day struggles, but I’m alive, I woke up this morning, someone else didn’t have that luxury.

I have stated in one of my previous posts, that I do work a Full-time job, which is very challenging for me. However, it is a job I was comfortable with, it’s actually the job I had before all this even happened, not to mention my mother works in the same building as me, which is an extra level of needed comfort.

Having a job makes me feel like I actually have a place in this world, I make my own money I’m able to support myself and my daughter again, It makes me feel like I’m “normal” even if just for a little while.

My weekdays are pretty stressed filled, just being at my job, I explained all that in previous posts, but my weekends are pretty fulfilling, my most comfortable state is when I’m in the comfort of my own home, so being able to be home and be my own crazy and not have to worry about who’s watching is a weight lifted off my shoulder in itself.

Having anxiety controls my everyday life, but it doesn’t STOP my everyday life, I have fears, yes. But, I am able to calm them especially with my medication, I am still able to do things I enjoy, like shopping or looking around in stores(not by myself just yet, but working on that). I like to chill out and watch Lifetime Movies, I go out to eat with my sister or mother and Grandma, I live just very very carefully.

My life isn’t all hell, I love those supportive of me and I love the value of my life, because without it I wouldn’t be able to be a mom. Sometimes I don’t feel as though I’m much of one, but my daughter will say something that reminds me I’m still doing the best I can, though she sees me struggle she doesn’t judge me, she loves me just the same.

I ran across this saying “Broken crayons still color” and it made me smile, we may all be a little broken or face hardships but that doesn’t mean we are ready to be thrown away and don’t matter. We still have purpose our life is worth something, whether you’re facing Mental Illness or any other problem, if you are still here fighting you HAVE A PURPOSE HERE!

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ENOUGH

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“Stay Calm, It will be fine, You don’t look like you have anxiety, just breathe, don’t stress over it so much, you’re crazy, is it really that serious, everyone has rough days, it’s not the end of the world, I found this on google, it says it will help with anxiety, others have it so much worse, you’ll be fine, life still has to go on, you’re a grown woman….”

I could go on, and on. Anyone suffering from this illness knows the statements all to well. These are things we hear at some point during our day. Things that make us cringe on the inside, at least for me it does.

Whether you realize it or not these are some of the most hurtful and discouraging things to say to someone dealing with anxiety, I understand many are just “trying to help”, but these words are not helpful to us, we have heard them time and time again, no amount of “encouraging pep talk” is going to help me out of my illness.

I personally am very well at hiding my anxiety, even during a Panic Attack, I could be having one internally and you would never know anything was even wrong until I hit the floor. I have developed this skill simply because I live in fear of letting people see my true Panic, I have been belittled by some of those closest to me, I am able to laugh it off but deep down I am crying inside. People read articles, or post about ways to help with anxiety and sure they may be helpful to some but at least 96% of people I would say get absolutely no outcome from it. I don’t know about you guys, but the LAST thing on my mind during a panic attack is “breathing” I’m just trying to maintain my posture and not pass out.

Having to hide who you truly are around people who are suppose to be your backbone and safe haven is so frustrating, it’s a shame we are belittled and made out like we are over exaggerating something we literally have no control over, I mean honestly if I could “just calm down” on the spot my life would be AMAZING, but I hate to break it to you, that is just not how anxiety works.

So for those who do not suffer from this illness, can we please vow to change our view on not just anxiety , but ALL forms of Mental Illness, because honestly, how can we judge someone else based off an experience that you’ve never even had. I know you may think you are helping, but you are not.

So next time you find yourself in the presence of someone with anxiety or someone who is having a panic attack try saying things like this ” Is there anything I can do to help, May I sit here with you, Should I call someone for help, I’m here for you, take your time, etc.”

Enough is Enough, let’s start making that a habit! Mental Illness is no joke, it can be very serious in most cases, and the next time you say “Oh you’ll be fine” may just be to someone at their wits end of being put down instead of lifted up in love and encouragement.

A day In the Life of ME

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A little meme humor to start off this Blog Post, because the reality behind what’s meant to be a joke is so far from it in my life. I often find myself thinking to myself ” but do I gotta get up” much like you would do as a child having to get ready for school in the morning. But, it’s the truth I don’t want to get up because I know what that means for me… MISERY.

From the time my eyes open until my eyes shut and I actually fall into a deep sleep, I am anxious. I often find myself dreading waking up every single morning because no matter what the day may hold, I know it will be miserable. I hate that I have that mindset because It’s always the thought of, I could have not woken up at all, or It could be worse which is true. But, It still sucks. I would like to invite you into my head, into my world and my struggles, my ticks as I like to call them. This is a day in the life of someone with severe anxiety, and panic disorder with agoraphobia.

Agoraphobia being defined as a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. So basically the fear of everything, so lets keep that in mind while we start my day.

So oddly enough a person who fears literally everything has a full time job( trust me I NEVER thought that would happen, especially a year ago, so If you feel stuck Trust Me you Aren’t) As soon as my eyes open my anxiety begins I first ponder on the thought of I swallowed something in my sleep (Swallowing something, literally anything is one of my ticks). I wear a hospital mask in my house at all times, even when I sleep, to prevent this fairly unrealistic fear from happening, as I begin getting ready for the day I must make sure that I am in my daughters or grandmothers sight at all times, whether they are watching me or not it makes me feel better.

During the process of getting ready I being tossing around the idea in my head that I’ve some how managed to touch an outlet or stick something into it and any moment I’ll be going into cardiac arrest from electric shock ( yes these are the thoughts that remain in my mind every single day), I have these thoughts even though every single plug in my house that isn’t being used is plugged with one of those toddler plugs so they won’t touch a plug, you know the ones. These thoughts toss around my head until I leave for work.

I do not drive by myself, I haven’t faced that fear just yet, but it’s definitely on the to do list. Luckily my mother works close by, and we are able to carpool to work everyday.

Once I get to work that’s where the real fear kicks in, because I cannot wear my mask, and their are not plugged outlets, and there is hundreds of things I could swallow or stick in an outlet. I am in constant fear all day long, I have to hide plugs so I don’t feel the need to look at them and have them taunt me, I have to record myself a lot because I’m by myself so much of the day there is no one to reassure me I haven’t done anything my crazy brain tries to convince me I’ve done.

Another major tick I have is the fear of medicine I don’t want to be anywhere around it. I will have clients that come in and all I can literally think about is if their is medicine in their purse. I hate going to gas stations or the grocery store because I know there will be medicine somewhere, even at home our medicine is locked up in a file cabinet at all times, and only my grandmother has the key and before the questions pops up in your head, yes, it is that serious.

So after a long day of stresses I am finally able to lay my head down, and let my anxiety run wild over the amount of medicine I may have been around, what I may have swallowed and why it’s taking so long to die after I was so sure I touched that electrical plug 6 hours ago and then eventually my most favorite part of the day occurs, sleep, or in my case ESCAPE…

I honestly debated even sharing this because this is one of those things that only those who live within my walls know about me, so the fear of letting that out just gets me anxious in itself, but this is my reality I can’t help it, even when I try to. This is who I am even with my medication, it calms the thoughts but they never really go away. So to understand me you would have to know this about me. I don’t let people in for that reason, I don’t want to share this with someone, I’m ashamed that my life is this way. But, I am learning that these are the cards I was dealt, and I can either sit and wallow in self-pity or make a life for myself despite my troubles. If I can do it, you can too! Please don’t ever give up.

I’m Still Here

I’m here, I’m alive, I’m Living. Not that anyone has even noticed my absence, I myself just hate to have strayed away from my blog. I love writing(well typing), it’s like an escape for me. All the words of my life story that are bottled up inside are able to be poured out of me. I don’t open up to anybody. So this is a way for me to say the things I wish I could without actually haven’t to physically talk to someone.

I also am going to try and at least do an entry a day mot only for myself but for someone, anyone else. I found myself browsing through Word press looking for anybody with the level of anxiety as me. I have yet to find a good blog to really relate to. Everyone has their own level of Mental Illness of course, but It’s nice to be able to feel as though you aren’t the only one out there. I have found several that give me a sense of relif but not yet a feeling of “I’m not the only one out there”.

Not everyone wants to share their story and that is totally understandable. I myself have fought back and forth in my own mind about sharing my blog link to people who actually know me, and I have not yet the courage to do it. I do however feel that it is a little easier spilling my crazy contents of my brain to a world that doesn’t know me, that didn’t know me.

I am embarrassed of my diagnosis, some of the closest people in my life have no idea the things I have been through the last two years nor the daily fight I am still battling, and I honestly don’t know if they ever will. I am not ready to share that with them yet, however if I can help anyone else, just make one person feel as though they aren’t alone I will be satisfied.

So I will try and be more consistent with my posts, because someone, one day, may just stumble across exactly what they needed to see, that is my goal and hope for the Blog.

To whomever may need to see this, you are not alone, you are not crazy, and you DO matter. I am here, I am you, and we are in this fight together.

Trapped Soul

I feel as though I have been trapped since the start of my Diagnosis, Visions of my “old self” play in my mind, I imagine a time when I felt I was ” normal “, now I am haunted by those memories, living as this whole new person that I hate with a passion. I have spent months and months trying to bury the on going downward spiral of my anxiety, I tried to regain bits and pieces of my life before anxiety, but I wasn’t aware at the time the old me would never be back, I needed to stop pretending.

I had spent countless months still looking for an answer that I wanted to hear, I still refused to except my diagnosis. I begin to head into the second of my many downward spirals, as my anxiety and panic disorder began to worsen, it started to stop me from doing everyday necessary for survival things, such as eating, drinking, etc.

As my body began to essentially deteriorate, I would just continue on with life like normal, I tried to not think about my feelings, or my anxiety at all. I pretended it didn’t exist. I was ill, mentally and physically. I went through a patch where I legitimately did not eat for 3 whole months, and I am not meaning this lightly. I would tell myself today I’ll eat, but never would, days turned into weeks, that turned into months. I would drink water, and an occasional meal replacement shake but aside from that I would eat nothing more.

October 2018 was a terrible month for me, I was entering month 4 of not eating, I was so weak, getting out of bed was an absolute struggle. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and not move. I could feel something wasn’t right, but I just ignored it. One day about a week or so into the month I woke up feeling awful, more ill than usual. I wasn’t able to get out of bed, just sitting up in bed I almost passed out, I immediately called my mother from work to come and get me and take me to the hospital. I had to have my step-dad rush home from work to help me get out of bed, and get my daughter ready.

We finally make it to the Hospital, I had an EKG first because my heart rate was so high via BP reading, I knew something had to be wrong when the tech asked “Mam are you in any pain, your heart rate is ridiculously high” having anxiety of course didn’t make the situation any better but that sent me into a full blown panic, we were sent back to the room to wait results, after what seemed like hours the doctor returned, stuck her head in and asked my mom to step outside, I was about ready to faint.. talk about a terrible way to handle that when your patient has crippling anxiety, but that’s a story for another day.

My mother returns with a blank look on her face, I immediately snapped and asked What the Hell was that, what did she say!? She explained that my blood work was so off the charts in a bad way they were shocked I was even still conscious, my potassium levels were in deathly low ranges, but that to me wasn’t what scared me the most, the next thing out of my mothers mouth still haunts my mind, ” They want to have you admitted into a Mental Hospital Celeste”

I was sick, in every way humanly possible I had spent months practically digging my own grave, I knew that this was a possibility yet I continued to tell myself I would be fine, a part of me knew I needed help, but the anxiety told me I was fine. I realized that my soul no longer existed, Anxiety was and had been the controller over my body and mind n0w. My soul was sinking further and further away, trapped behind a vicious monster.

This is NOT my fate!

Following my anxiety diagnosis I tried to get on with my life the best I could, I wanted to ignore all my problems pretend that they didn’t exist. I did well for a couple of months, however without even realizing it I was slowly deteriorating. I began counseling in hopes it would help, I knew I could fight this by myself, I didn’t need medicine, I didn’t even have anxiety, I could fight this, so I thought.. 
Counseling became an issue for me each session became a constant drilling to start my medicine, and she was so convinced that my “mental issues” came from the absence of my father, which has never weighed on me severely, he had never been apart of my life so there was nothing to mourn. After a few weeks I realized that this wasn’t for me, at this point all everyone (family, counselor, doctors) could talk about  was getting me to start some medicine, and I was sick of all of it, so I stopped seeing a counselor and switched my doctor. 
All the while I wasn’t seeing all of the signs, now that it’s been almost two years I see it so clearly, I was slowly becoming a hermit, I was not going out as often, I was still able to go places alone, but almost every time I would get dizzy spells, go numb, start sweating, and panic so I would have to leave immediately. Being in large groups of people began to panic me, I couldn’t go to the mall hardly anymore, church became a huge panic for me, things I so easily did before, how did I not see this?
Coming into 2018 I was miserable I knew I wasn’t myself at all, I still had constant dizziness, I was at a loss, I began seeing a new doctor, I felt like a broken record explaining my symptoms yet again, I liked this doctor she seemed to listen and actually want to get to the bottom of this. I started over for second time seeing specialist after specialist, taking multiple tests, like some sort of lab rat, to my surprise all tests came back negative, nothing was being found, nobody had any answers as to what happened to me. This really sent me into a panic, the doctor then introduced the thought of having anxiety again, I was hurt and frustrated, I felt people were beginning to think I was crazy, and maybe making all this up. She thought since the counselor hadn’t worked in the past for me, maybe a psychiatrist might be a better option, I was honestly offended. I left the appointment feeling confused, hurt and just numb, why was everyone trying to pin me as crazy, was I crazy, was any of this even real, was I really losing my mind. 
All these thoughts ran through my mind, I felt alone in this battle, here I was suffering from some mysterious illness, nor doctors or my own family believed there was anything wrong with me, all they kept throwing my way was, “you have anxiety Celeste”, could it be true, could a perfectly fine person one day wake up and now be the victim of crippling anxiety? No, no there’s no way. I just wasn’t ready to accept that as my fate.