It’s been awhile, almost a year since I’ve last wrote. My writing was part of my therapy, part of putting my words, thoughts and feelings down on a screen. Acknowledging that this is my life now, that this is the real deal. I’m not dreaming, I am very much living in this nightmare. Still, after 3 years my life is just the same.
This is me – raw, not hiding or holding anything back. This is how my life is. This is how it is to live with extreme anxiety, and panic disorder. This is how it is living with a mental illness. It may look all perfect and great on the outside, but that’s only on the exterior. Trying to hide my illness is exhausting. Trying to pretend I don’t have anxiety is a whirlwind of emotions.
My anxiety has been manageable over this past year, until a few weeks ago. I managed to stay strong, and away from the Emergency Room for almost a year. Now, after having 2 extreme anxiety attacks in the last week I ended up in the ER.
It all started on my drive home from work, in rush hour traffic. My head started to hurt, an excruciating pain that started on my right side of my head. I tried not to panic. I turned up the radio, rolled down the window for fresh air and worked on my breathing. Then the numbness came, that started in my head that trickled down into my neck and arm. The burning and tingling sensation that started on the right side of my head that spread down the whole right side of my body.
I started panicking. I was stuck in my car, stationary in the middle of rush hour. No where to go. No exit, no safe space. My whole body started shaking, I couldn’t stop panicking. I tried my best to make it home. I called my mom, she told me to pull over. I was literally stuck in traffic, no way off pulling over safely.
I’m not sure how I managed to make it home, but I did. I went straight to my couch and lied down. I couldn’t stop shaking. My whole right side of my face was completely numb. My head felt like it was on fire, I couldn’t breathe. I started taking a few puffs from my inhaler, I closed my eyes. The room was spinning, everything became fuzzy.
I didn’t move from the couch for 3 hours. My body felt like it was shutting down. My mind was in a very bad place, a downward spiral I couldn’t escape. I for sure thought I was going to die. Die alone in my apartment, with my dog.
After 3 hours, I finally felt OK to get up. I hugged my dog and wept. I wept for hours and held him. This was only the beginning of what was to come.
Fast forward 5 days. My head still hurt for the new few days, I felt super dizzy and off balance. My face went numb on and off. I didn’t feel like me, I didn’t feel like the normal Aubrey. I went to work, coached and pushed through my pain. Then Tuesday came.
I had work, and then I had to coach. I woke up that day with an extremely sharp pain in my right temple. My mind felt foggy, my body felt weak and worn down. I still went about my day. I got through work, and then rushed off to coach. Once I coached my game, I started feeling very faint. I could barely sit on the bench. My body and head started to feel numb. I got the tingling and burning on my whole right side of my body. I knew I couldn’t stay for the next game.
I left, and the ride home I started having another panic attack. I called my mother, she talked to me until I got to my apartment. I’m not sure how I even got home, I barely remember the drive home. I was hysterical and my whole face went numb again. The pain in my head was so bad, I couldn’t even focus on the road.
My mom told me my stepdad was coming to get me, I just had to make it home. I made it home, and once I got out of the car my legs caved. They were shaking so bad, I could barely walk.
I ran inside and laid on the floor with my inhaler. My dog came and lied down next to me. I started hyperventilating.
My stepdad came and drove me back to my parents. My head felt so funny, a feeling I’ve never experienced before. I felt like I wasn’t me, I felt like I didn’t know what was happening. I was too nervous to not go in and get checked out, so they took me to the ER. I got rushed back for a CAT scan, and MRI. My whole right arm was numb, and I couldn’t feel the nurses putting a needle in my arm.
My legs were shaking, and I underwent a CAT scan and a hour long MRI. I have a brain tumor, a benign pea size tumor in the third ventricle of my brain. I had brain surgery when I was 11, and have yearly MRI’s to make sure everything is ok. With my symptoms, the doctor in the ER wanted to make sure nothing was wrong with my tumor. I also have a cathedar in my head, in case I need brain surgery again. They wanted to make sure there wasn’t an infection or brain bleed.
The whole time I lay on the bed in the ER, my body couldn’t stop shaking. I thought this was the end. After 3 long, horrible anxiety filled hours in the ER, the test results came back fine. I got diagnosed with extreme migraines, something I’ve never had before.
Another symptom of my anxiety. Another physical aliment I have. Another reason it makes my everyday life so hard to live. I’ve been staying at my moms, I haven’t felt okay enough to be alone.
This is how my life is, this is what I go through. It’s unbearable to live like this. I’ve tried everything. Numerous medications, meditation, therapists, psychiatrists and still I’m like this. Still after 3 years, I’m right back at the bottom.
I’ve worked so hard to get better, I’ve worked and struggled every minute of the day to not let my anxiety control my life. And now it’s back, and the worst it’s ever been. How am I supposed to live like this?
You’re not in pain anymore Austin, I understand that. I never wanted you to be in pain ever. But since you left me, I am living in hell. I am in pain, physical pain – pain that’s so bad. Pain that makes it hard to do normal things. I can barely function and manage my anxiety anymore.
I know my brother wanted me to keep on living my life, even without him. He didn’t know what leaving us would do. He didn’t know how hard it would be for me to live without him. He didn’t know I would struggle so bad, everyday of my life.
I’m hoping I can help make this anxiety go away. I’m hoping my physical symptoms well lessen, and I won’t feel like this anymore. I’m hoping I’ll be able to breathe without my chest hurting, without having numbness or losing feeling in my face and body. I’m going to try. That’s all I can do.
I’m going to start writing once a week, it does help. I want other people to understand how bad anxiety is, how challenging it is to live with a mental illness. It should be talked about, and not covered up.
Thanks for all who continue to read my blog.
Until next time – so it goes.