Part 1 & Part 2) my struggle with severe anxiety and panic attacks and seeking out help. I pick up where I left off in enlisting the help of professionals.
There were two issues at hand. One was my acid reflux due to stress was at an all-time high. The other was my anxiety was becoming quite debilitating. I found myself a local recommended GI doctor and a general practitioner. My first appointment was with the GI doctor who assured me that I was not having heart issues, but rather it was a fierce combination of untreated acid reflux and stomach issues combined with my high level of stress. I left with an appointment to have an upper GI scope done in a month and order to take prilosec daily. He also urged me to get into my general practitioner asap to discuss my anxiety and seek out medication.
I was able to get into my doctor within a few days. I purposely chose a doctor known for being more holistic in approach and less likely to push medications unless she felt it was absolutely necessary. During my meeting with her, she assured me that my heart and lungs sounded healthy and normal and my stress level and anxiety were my main culprits. She strongly felt that I was at a point in my life, facing more stressful transitions, that I needed something to help me to manage it daily. She prescribed a mild anti-depressant (which in turn fights anxiety) for me to take once a day.
After just a week of taking the medication, I could feel relief. However, I could also feel it wearing off after 12 hours and then find myself waking throughout the night full of anxiety and in a full-blow attack by morning. At a one-month follow-up, the doctor determined that basically the med was wearing off by the 12 hour mark and I was rebounding with anxiety. So, she doubled my dosage to be one in the morning and one at night. This changed my daily life DRASTICALLY. I have to be honest, I HATE meds. I mean, I won't take a tylenol or ibuprofen unless my head is pounding. I am terrified of side effects and have experienced quite a few from medicines over the years. But I knew I needed this medication, maybe just short-term, to function for myself and my family. It changed my life and I don't regret it. I still struggle here and there with the "stigma" of being on a daily medication, but I then recall how I felt before it. How I could barely get out of bed in the morning. Don't get me wrong, the medication doesn't totally suppress my anxiety. What it does is it allows me to better manage it. I can still feel my body tense up at anxious moments throughout the day, but my brain is better able to talk me through them and calm down.
In regards to my GI issues, they have subsided quite a bit. My upper GI was mostly normal with the exception of gastritis in which my stomach produces too much acid. I've remained on the prilosec once a day and that seems to help. I'll be staying on top of this and other heath issues more vigilantly as not to let them get out of hand in the future. Since the symptoms of this include chest, shoulder and neck pain, it's important to stay on top of it as when that pain is constant, I worry about larger health issues.
Recently, I've added more natural items to my daily routine to combat my anxiety. I've added in a daily cup of bedtime tea with local honey added into it. I've also cut out caffeine completely and been eating healthier overall. The final piece is that I've recently incorporated two essential oil blends from The Whole Life Co. The blends are Peace & Serenity and Just Focus. I highly recommend these for anyone's daily routine. I apply the Peace & Serenity in the morning and before bed and use the Just Focus in the morning and afternoon.
Thank you for following along with me on my journey with anxiety and finding help. Please share with family and friends that may be struggling or can relate to my experience.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health) If you know someone that is struggling with anxiety, please understand that they aren't "choosing" to suffer and help them find a health professional for support.