March is always a stressful month.
- I celebrate my son’s birthday three times
- I celebrate my daughter’s birthday three times
- Our church has a carnival
- Easter lands in March sometimes
- Which means Spring Break is in March
My son’s birthday is March 14th and exactly two weeks later is my daughter’s birthday. Why do I celebrate birthdays three times?
- Birthday 1: My child’s birthday at school during lunch
- Birthday 2: My child’s birthday at home with family
- Birthday 3: My child’s birthday on the weekend with friends
I also sometimes go to Disney World.
I also sometimes host an Easter Egg Hunt at my house.
I also sometimes volunteer at the carnival.
This is never the plan. Every year I say the same thing! “Next year, I am going to do one party for both and that is it!” …but as soon as March gets closer, I forget the stress from the year before and start the madness all over again…
Well, this is 2011 and I have a SEVERE anxiety disorder. I have been on medication for this SEVERE anxiety disorder, for about two months, but according to my color coded medication chart, I still feel RED. Yes, I kept a color coded chart of how I felt. Every day, I logged it in and during March, it was RED, which was the worst color. It had been RED since day one. It was like CODE RED, or RED ALERT! Clearly, I wouldn’t do anything crazy like have 6 parties and plan a trip during this time, right?
Well, not exactly. Luckily, this year Easter was in April and I had the good sense to schedule the Disney trip in May. Also, my daughter hadn’t started school yet, so that would be one less celebration.
How did I get through it all? Xanax and Pexeva.
Everyone I talk to (and I mean everyone) says some variation of this:
I don’t need to take medication for anxiety. I just breathe and get through it. I exercise, meditate, smell lavender, take St. John’s Wort, drink chamomile tea, count to ten, look around and I’m fine. I will not take a pill for the rest of my life. You have to just be mentally strong.
I get it. I said the same things, before I knew better. There is a difference between just regular anxiety and an anxiety disorder. Key word: DISORDER. This is not your typical, every day stress. It is not something you can easily control without medication. You can try, but when it is not working, please be open to medication. See a psychiatrist.
I am not perfect, but I do consider myself to be “mentally strong”, confident, “tough” and all those things everyone thinks you need to be, to prevent an attack. I could not control what I was feeling. The more I tried to control it, the worse it got. The longer I went without medication, the worse it got.
An anxiety disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance. For me, it is Serotonin. Put quite simply, I do not have enough of it available. I could not stop a panic attack any more than someone could stop a heart attack, if they were going to have one.
Definition of anxiety in the Webster dictionary:
“(1) : apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill : a state of being anxious”
According to Psychiatry.org:
“…in general, for a person to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the fear or anxiety must:
- Be out of proportion to the situation or age inappropriate
- Hinder your ability to function normally”
My disorder went one step further to Agoraphobia: Anxiety Disorder
I would rather take a pill every day for the rest of my life and truly LIVE than not take one and live in fear. I would know. I have experienced both. – AV
Continue with my story here: