Winter Wonderland

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How I Choose to Feel is How I Am

Really, there’s no sugar coating it. August and September were some very hellish months in my life. The worst of it is over, but I’ve really came to terms with some deep seated personal flaws and issues that have been haunting me for over 20 years.

A few years ago, a doctor had clinically diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I took her diagnosis lightly at the time and shrugged off the suggestion of medication and therapy. At the time, my anxiety improved and I forgot about the episode.

In late July of this last summer, I fell again into a severe anxiety spiral in regards to my health. I let stress build up withing, worrying about financial issues, family issues and life in general. Over weeks, I began to feel ill. I began worrying constantly, mostly about my health. I would spend hours scouring the web, trying to diagnose myself based on what was hurting or feeling odd any particular day. My legs felt weak. My shoulder hurt. My ears rang. My neck was stuck in a permanent state of tension. My muscles twitched and my head often felt as if it was in a vice. Symptoms seemed to rear up like a three-headed hydra. Every time one would leave, another two would pop up. In mid-August, I was reaching mental and physical exhaustion. My doctor wrote my issues off as pure anxiety and put me on an SSRI.
Things got worse. I could barely crawl out of bed. Depression set in and I slowly built a wall between myself and my loved ones. Rochelle was at a loss. My behavior was becoming more erratic and self-centered. I didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to go out. I could barely tolerate work and menial things like going grocery shopping seemed like torture. I really only wanted to sleep and be alone. I had come to accept that I was going to die. I felt it to be as real as the sky is blue.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe what a dark place the world had become to me.
Reluctantly, I stuck with the SSRI (Celexa) and pushed through the negative thoughts. I began Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions and slowly…very slowly I’ve improved.
I would say at the moment, I’m roughly 70% recovered. I still have random symptoms but I don’t spend time worrying about them. I’ve learned that I’m a much stronger person than I give myself credit for. I’ve learned to be at peace with my thoughts and fears. Most of all, I’ve realized that life doesn’t come with any guarantees. I can only live in the moment and follow my heart from that point on.

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