Life Lifestyle My Journey

Has anxiety been exploited?

I’m writing this mainly because I have felt misunderstood for so long. One thing a lot of you may not know about me is that I struggle with anxiety, OCD, and panic attacks. It’s been my normal since I was a young girl and my life has been accustomed to it. Although I have felt alone, I truly believe anxiety is something we all struggle living with.

Each one of us is so unique, that the way we deal with things or the way we show our anxiety is completely different. Even the ones we look up to and the happy ones in this life deal with anxiety. We all have a vice, we all have our own way of dealing with things, and we all have a certain genre of people that we fit into. My racing thoughts have never made much sense to me until i decided to put them down on paper. I’m thankful for my struggles and my hardships as they have brought me to where I am today and without the lessons they have taught me I wouldn’t be as content as I am in this moment.

“The cure for the pain is in the pain.” – Rumi

No doctor, medication, cream, exercise, or anything has helped me get rid of my panic attacks. I truly believe it is something you can’t heal from but something you have to learn how to overcome. In my experience, anxiety is something you need to reverse your mind and your body from. It’s a state in which your body feels most comfortable at with the pace your anxious mind has conformed to. Our minds are extremely powerful and they have the ability to forcefully forget certain memories, mostly trauma. But our bodies won’t and will never forget and it shows in various ways all the way from sickness, panic attacks, hyper vigilance, OCD and a constant state of anxiety to localized but unexplained pain. Anxiety is crazy in its many forms.

Mind over matter doesn’t always work for people like me.. my panic attacks were so bad at some points that no matter how bad I wanted to stop violently shaking and stop throwing up, stop hyperventilating, I couldn’t make it stop. Mind over matter didn’t work. Simple anxiety techniques didn’t work. No matter how hard I tried I was still suffering and needed help. When you are in a state of panic, it’s hard to describe to others what you are feeling and no matter how hard you try to seek help, no one can help.

For years I have felt hopeless.. like this was my normal that I had to adjust to. I wasn’t depressed and I had to do everything I could to convince my doctors! So many doctors, specialists, nurses, all told me over and over again that I needed to recheck myself and to look into SSRI’s to help me. They had done multiple blood draws, tests, x rays, SO many cat scans.. and the best they came up with was Gastroparesis. I still don’t believe in that diagnosis. If you look up the symptoms, it’s nothing close to what I have been going through and If you do have gastroparesis, I hope and pray frequently that there will be a cure someday soon because It’s truly a heartbreaking disease, and there needs to be more awareness for it.

I have never and won’t ever need an SSRI and here’s why you may not either:

SSRIs are another word for antidepressant. Let me tell you why I feel the way I do about medications but specifically antidepressants.. when I was a young teenager I was suffering from gastric issues like I do now just not so intense (at the time thinking I had allergies), I tried taking an antidepressant to see if it would help- per multiple drs request. I knew I didn’t need it but figured I would try anyways. Worst mistake ever. I had never dealt with such evil thoughts before. I never wanted to take my own life, not once. And I had never felt so tired, drained and just over all “over it”. After all I have ever been through, not once did I feel that way prior. But these “happy pills” made me want to end my suffering immediately. And not in a good way. It was scary and it was like I had no control. I stopped taking them that very next day, and although I went through withdrawals, it was way better then I felt when I took them. I will never trust them again. After all, how can you trust synthetic chemicals entering your bloodstream and altering your brain. I will never agree with a doctor prescribing an antidepressant to cover up anxiety. It does absolutely nothing but mask the problem, and that’s just for a small amount of people.

PTSD and EMDR

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. I was part of the 63% suffering and refusing to be treated. I truly understand what it feels like to tell yourself daily that your fine and that you don’t need help. After years of battling with myself and finding the right therapist for me, I was diagnosed with PTSD. Crazy right? I thought PTSD was mainly for those heroes of ours fighting to keep us all alive.. although it would make more sense, it’s a misconception.

My therapist introduced me to EMDR therapy and it has literally changed my life. Literally. EMDR has actually helped me. If you are wondering at all what this is, look it up right now and then finish reading. It will make more sense. When I first started the therapy I had absolutely no reaction to it at all and I honestly thought my therapist was a little cray cray. I believed in wanting to help myself so much that I obviously gave it another try. After my second session I had an enormous amount of negative thoughts that I couldn’t seem to shake, and it overwhelmed me so much during the process that it made me physically hurt. My third and fourth time were very similar to my second, and it seemed as if every time I tried to tell myself something positive, my body was fighting it. My heart would race, my palms were sweaty, knees were tense and I felt like I could vomit. The “process” as you call it during your therapy session, can carry on for up to 48 hours after your session, and the first few times it affected me this bad, it affected me until the next day.

I started really believing in emdr therapy when I noticed I was able to rely on myself and bilateral stimulation techniques that I had learned previously to prevent myself from going to the ER in a state of panic again. I noticed I started to have more control over my thoughts and it’s like my brain has been unclogged from a lot of shit. From the first few times that I did EMDR therapy I went from being evaluated at a 10 with my negative core belief when he is the worst.. to The last time I did EMDR therapy where I was easily at a 1-2. This process is different for everyone and results can but don’t always happen overnight. I’m thankful for jesus, for my therapist, and thankful for my own intuition which led me to seek help for myself beyond my doctors understanding. I could be in a much scarier, darker, more alone place right now if I never found the help I did. And now all I want to do is help encourage and inspire others to do the same and to find their tribe that they feel they belong to. We all belong somewhere.

Anxiety has been exploited.

Too many undiagnosed or misdiagnosed people are walking around looking for a cure to something they don’t even have. You wonder why your body never heals, or why your sick all of the time. You wonder why you never sleep, or maybe you sleep too much. Why you eat or why you never eat.. all of these things that obviously cause other health related issues. And to solve it, doctors are treating these completely invisible diseases that aren’t even there in the first place. The medications alone that they prescribe to you for all of this crap, is complete crap in itself. You have to learn how to be your own advocate, how to speak for yourself, because you know yourself and your body better than anyone else does. Don’t let your doctor change you, find the change within yourself.

Maybe that’s in the from if confronting your past like it was for me. Confronting the things you have been in denial of. Accepting the hurt and being thankful for it can take you so much further then you think possible. It all starts with grace. Grace for yourself most importantly.

The term anxiety has been extremely abused over the years. Leaving hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering afraid to say or do anything about it. We don’t want anyone to feel sorry for us. We all want to believe we are happy. We all want to pretend like nothing has never harmed us before. But the truth is that we are all suffering. Every second of every day. And maybe if more of us felt like we weren’t alone, and we could actually acknowledge these things without fear of being shamed for them. Maybe this world might not be a better place to live but for sure an easier one.

Our society has become so sensitized to every little thing. It’s hard for anyone to be real anymore. Reality is something we all refuse to face. People lie too easily these days anymore, whether it be to protect themselves or someone else they love. It feels like no one has any accountability anymore. People tend to ignore those with scars that are hurting in fear of confronting their own. Did I also mention how It really blows my mind the things people get offended by these days? That alone can be damaging.

We all are going to have to face reality someday. Whether or not you already have, you start to realize that nothing in life that’s worth being grateful for is never easy. Facing a harsh reality is hard for some of us to believe and maybe it’s so hard because we don’t want to believe it.

I know this was a long post and some of you may not understand what I’m writing at all because anxiety is something you have never dealt with before. Maybe you can use this to help someone else you know and/or love. You never know what your experience can do for someone else when sharing it until you actually just share it. Some things I have learned that can be hurtful for some of you to hear but are extremely truthful and helpful once you accept them are:

You can’t change your past or the hurtful things that have been done to you. You really don’t matter as much as you think you do. You don’t deserve as much as you think you do. And the world owes you absolutely nothing. You are who you surround yourself with.. ( for instance, take a look around you and the people you take time to be envious of and ask yourself if you really want to be like them. And if you do, ask yourself If that truly makes you a better person. If you answer yes, you know you are being inspired by the right people. )You will never have certain things no matter how bad you want them, it’s never that easy for anyone. And if it is that easy for you, I promise it won’t last forever. You do owe the world something. Jesus loves you, even if you don’t believe in him. Smiling is contagious, but so is anger. Don’t ever think your struggle is worse than someone else’s. And take charge of your worry.

We were all given our own story to learn and live from, it won’t ever be the same for anyone. But the truth is, you were given this story because you were strong enough to not only live and read it but to write it in such a way that inspires the fire in someone else. The world needs you, and your story.

I know that it’s scary but I really encourage any one reading this that feels like they may need help to actually seek out help. Don’t just ask your doctors either unless you trust them enough to not just medicate you right away. If you are already taking an SSRI and you believe you aren’t depressed, I strongly urge you to look into tapering off of them. (Obviously under your doctors supervision for your safety). Do a simple google search on someone who specializes with anxiety in your area. And ask about EMDR! It took me years in finding the right therapist for me. Hell, it took me almost my whole life to realize that my problems were real problems and to feel the need to talk about them. Don’t feel bad about interviewing a therapist when you meet one for the first time yourself to make sure it’s a good fit for you. Be firm and strong for yourself as you are the only one that will care for and love yourself as much as you can and will.

Love

Courtney

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