I have always struggled with anxiety, but in the last few years, it has become manageable. I’ve identified most of my triggers and can control my anxiety because I understand it so much better. However, sometimes I still have those moments where it builds up and all comes crashing down. Now normally when it comes to the crashing part, I can feel it coming. Usually, I’m way too emotional and cry if someone is even too nice to me. However, the last crash was a bit different…so much so that I ended up in the emergency room.
Before we get to the gory details of the ER, let’s discuss what lead up to this incident. For two and half years I have been working at the same place. It was safe and had structure and I knew what to expect – music to an anxious person’s ears. And then I got a wonderful new job opportunity. I’ve never felt so sure and positive about a decision. Everything made sense for me to take this job. I felt ready to take on the change. The reason why I am telling you this is because even though I felt good and happy about my decision, doesn’t mean my anxiety felt the same way. Sometimes we forget that any change can be a big adaptation.
So after my first week at my new job we celebrated the Friday night. Now, I don’t know about you, but having a hangover always makes my anxiety symptoms spike. And these days, even one glass of wine can feel like a hangover. So there I am, all shaky and dizzy, on my way to a yoga class the Saturday morning. Needless to say, I never made it to the class. I started experiencing a tingling numbing feeling in my hands, arms and face. The tingling got worse and my hands and arms started pulling tight and contracting. So much so that I couldn’t even straighten my arms or hands. It started spreading to my face and my mouth and eyes started pulling tight. I’ve felt these symptoms in my hands before, but never like this. Of course, this caused a major panic attack and because we didn’t know what was causing the muscle contractions, we went straight to the emergency room.
It was like a movie scene. My boyfriend stopped in front of the hospital and pulled me out of the car in his arms. Somehow I landed on a wheelchair and was flying through the hospital to get to the ER. I kept thinking it was dehydration and that I just needed more fluids. But there wasn’t really anything they could do for me, and as I sat in the waiting room I could feel the spasms easing. It took about 3 hours for the tingling and contracting in my hands to stop.
Since that episode, I felt a major setback with my anxiety. It felt like all the progress I made was lost. But then I finally spoke to my doctor and she confirmed that it was, in fact, anxiety that caused the whole episode.
The point I am trying to make is that even when we think we have things under control, our subconscious might be having a tough time adapting. And that’s okay. It’s important to check in with ourselves on a regular basis. Delve deep and pinpoint our triggers. Once you understand yourself, everything gets easier to handle.
In the wise words of IceCube: “check yo self before you wreck yo self”.