I am a 40-something year old woman, married, no children, who has experienced differing levels of anxiety all her life. As an adult, I suffered an illness that heightened my anxiety–most especially about my health–and I have been dealing with that for close to 15 years. It was at that time I went through my very first panic attack, which included the whole schmere of hyperventilation, racing heart, chest pain, tingling in my fingers, arms, and legs…feelings of doom, feeling that I was going to die. I had to call 911 and make my way down the stairs alone to let them into my house.This was the beginning of my heightened panic and anxiety. I did not use medication at the time.
I have since dealt with panic and anxiety on and off over the last 15 years. In the past several years, I’ve started learning more about myself and the world of mental health. With everything going on now in our society, I’m hoping to be more open about my own struggles with mental health. I feel pretty comfortable talking about it with those I know, so I thought it might be helpful to me and others if I opened up to a broader audience.
I still deal with anxiety on a low-level almost every day, but it is manageable. I see a therapist and I speak freely with my family so they know what is happening with me. I don’t want to hide what I am dealing with, as I think it is detrimental for me.
I am here to share my story, like so many others are, in the hopes that something I might say will help someone else. Even if it means only showing others that they are not alone in their challenges.
Editing to add on 11/30/2016
In March of 2014, my mother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of endometrial cancer. I spent two years going through her journey with her–some of it as her daughter and support-system, some of it as one of her direct caregivers–which I have written about in my blogs at length. In 2015, I was diagnosed with a very common form of endometrial cancer, unrelated to my mother’s cancer. I had surgery for my cancer–a full hysterectomy–and am now in the five-year watch plan for potential recurrence.
In March of 2016, my mother passed away from cancer after it spread throughout her body, despite many many attempts at keeping it under control with chemo, radiation, and the like.
In addition to my anxiety and mild depression, I talk a lot about my mother’s cancer journey, my cancer journey, and how I’m dealing with the loss of my mom. We were extremely close and it has been a huge change in my life. I also talk about my father, who suffers from anxiety and several physical illnesses. I write about caring for him in my mother’s absence, and how he is coping (or not).