Is it Really Embarrassing?
There are a couple of topics that are really embarrassing for me to talk about but since I want this blog to be inspiring for others, there are a couple of topics and stories that I need to share with you all. I decided to make these posts before even going live with my blog because I feel it is important to know this about me in order to get the full effect of this site and see who I really am.
As you are reading this, keep in mind that I am still working on myself. If you are still working on yourself, don’t worry, I am here with you and we can work through this together.
This topic is about my anxiety and panic attacks as this has been one of the biggest health problems that I have had for a long time. This is really hard for me to talk about so just bare with me.
Anxiety & panic attacks…
Mental health is no joke and let me tell you, anxiety and panic attacks are physically exhausting as any illness is. It just wipes you out, physically and emotionally.
2014 – the year I started to fall apart.
It all started in 2014 for me. I just graduated high school and I was unsure about college life. I decided on going to Northern Illinois University since it was close enough to home (45 minutes away) without being too close and they had a great nursing program (yes, I really wanted to be a nurse). Starting school was better than I thought. I was across the hall from my boyfriend, joined a sorority where I met some great friends (still talk to a few as I became close to them during my time at NIU), and I switched my major to pre-physical therapy. A couple months in to my first semester, I realized that I started feeling very overwhelmed to the point where I would hyperventilate, cry, blank out, and not be able to focus at all. These feelings made me skip class as I just was not interested in going (because again, I was just EXHAUSTED). I got super sick as well with a upper respiratory infection, had swollen tonsils (tonsillitis), and a really bad cough. This mental illness started weakening my body so much that I was always sick. I ended up getting really bad grades and failing my chemistry class which was just unheard of for me. I never failed a class in my life (I ended up retaking the class and received a C which was a lot better by the way).
Searching for help – the first time.
Fast forward to first semester the following year where I realized that I needed help. I heard about a school psychiatrist that would be able to help me (at this time, I didn’t even really know what was going on, only that I needed some help as I really could not stop being so worried and panicking about everything in my life). Meeting the psychiatrist led me to finding out that I have generalized anxiety and suffer from panic attacks. I was put on Lexapro for this. Everything was the same for a few weeks, after that, it all took a turn for the worst. I started having really bad side effects. It would make me have really bad stomach cramping, nausea, and headaches. All of this made me really irritable and again, would make me miss classes. I know, the next part is really bad and I wish that I could go back and not do this but I stopped the medication on my own. I didn’t want to go back to the psychiatrist as I felt he was doing nothing to help. I just stopped all together, which is REALLY BAD. NEVER DO THAT! I cannot stress this enough, never take yourself off medication without talking to a doctor. I never went back to him and decided that I needed a break from all of this. Through this time, however, I realized I wanted to switch majors again and go into organizational communication to be an event planner. This is where I started interning for a wedding planner.
Searching for help – the second time.
Around two years later in first semester, I decided that enough was enough and that I needed to get help again. I also changed my major again in this time to marketing and had another internship for events and marketing. I, also, started going to a psychiatrist near my parents’ home as I started going home on weekends and it was a little easier with working part time in Rockford. Through my time working with this psychiatrist, I tried many different medications for my anxiety and started taking Xanax for my panic attacks.
My worst year EVER (and no, I’m not being overly dramatic).
2017-2018 was where it all got worse than it ever was. I started this year being the Vice President of Marketing for my sorority and I was excited for all that meant. I would be able to plan the Red Dress Gala, run social media, run other fundraising events, go to conference, etc. I worked really hard to get to this point, the year before I was the director of philanthropy and got ready to take over as Vice President. Red Dress Gala came and it was a shit show. No one listened to me, I was blamed for everything, we didn’t raise as much as I wanted, people complained ALL THE TIME. How do people that are supposed to support you treat someone that way, I will never understand. First major blow to my self-esteem this year. However, I thought with the amount of support that I received from the majority of people (there were a handful that actually really helped me) that it went well. We had new things brought into the event but I’m not going to get into all the details, let’s just say I was “ripped into” for weeks after the event about everything that was “wrong.” Now, let’s focus on social media.. every time something was posted, someone complained. “Why are you using their pictures, why aren’t you posting me, I don’t like that filter, you need more people in pictures, you need less people in pictures, put me into more posts because I’m graduating, you’re hurting my feelings not posting pictures with me in them, your being too judgmental with your pictures, who do you think you are posting that, that was rude for you to post this and not this.” Another blow to my self-esteem, nothing was good enough. Next point that I will bring up was the fact that a girl went around me to work on social media. She would harass me and tell me that I wasn’t doing a good job, so no, I didn’t want her working under me in the social media position but she just kept making me out to be the bad person and received the position anyway without me giving it to her. Throughout her time under me, everything was a fight with her. She wouldn’t listen to me, would harass me, and make me feel like complete shit. She backed out of the senior photoshoot leaving me to do it myself. The senior photoshoot by the way was another complete shit show. I would set a date, it would get close to that date and multiple people would text me saying “we need to reschedule, I can’t do it that day, please reschedule.” So, I would. Day of the shoot, I was left to photograph it all by myself, keep in mind that I am no photographer, hate coming up with poses but thought I would try to make it the best that I could. I went and bought big balloons, confetti, poppers, etc. All for basically no one to show up and most who did were really cranky with me. Back to the harassment, it became a daily thing for me to get a text from someone (mainly two specific people). It became so bad that I was getting paragraphs from them telling me I was horrible and why I was horrible (but I won’t go into anymore detail). I wanted to die. I had panic attacks every day, multiple times a day. I had horrible anxiety, horrible self-esteem issues, and didn’t want to kill myself but I didn’t care if anything happened to me. I was brought to the emergency room 3 times during this period because my panic attacks were to the point of me blacking out and not remembering anything I did or said during this time. I was scary during these episodes. I even started becoming addicted to Xanax and took it daily (I am a small person and I was at 50mg a dose). I would take it to go to sleep, to forget everything. I absolutely hated myself, I felt that I was nothing and nobody cared for me. I decided to drop my position. After this, I still didn’t feel comfortable in that environment and dropped the sorority. I also decided that NIU wasn’t for me anymore as I needed to leave the toxic environment all together.
Starting to make some changes.
I moved back home after Christmas in 2017 and decided to take a few classes online and go to work full time. 2018 was a year that I tried to better my environment, I transferred to Concordia St.Paul in May where I go online and where I have had a 4.0 both semesters that I have been there. I made a hard decision and decided to leave my job where I loved my coworkers, they were amazing and I loved the industry, all to start a career in marketing. I bought a car, moved in with my boyfriend into our house which we fixed up with and our golden retriever, got a cat, and rescued another dog (German shepherd/husky). However, even with everything that was good, in April I decided to stop with medications, nothing seemed to work and after going to the emergency room 3 times I was done again. Plus, I started getting syncopes which I got when I was little and brain zaps as I call them (but this is for another post). I got off my medication with the help of my psychiatrist this time and started on my journey of stopping/figuring out why I was having syncopes. Fast forward to a couple months ago where I decided to get more help with my anxiety and panic attacks again. I have found a medication that I can tolerate, haven’t been to the emergency room recently, and I am starting to get my confidence back. We also found out that I might have a mood disorder that makes the anxiety medication not work to its full potential. I will also be starting counseling as well to help get my anxiety and panic attacks under control. I have a panic attack pretty much 4 days a week right now.
What’s the point?
My point is, it is possible. You need to accept what happening in your life and not block it out. Once you accept it and get help and really try to help yourself, you will start to see changes. They will be small but small battles are still battles that need to be won.
You’re never alone!
You’re not alone! I can’t stress this enough. Your mind will tell you that no one cares but in reality, there are a lot of people that care about you. I’m one and I’m always here to help you, I’m just an email away.