Anxiety is No Walk in the Park

Image result for anxiety

Today I woke up with quite a bit anxiety. It’s the sort of anxiety where it feels like you will die. Lately I have been missing my family a lot. I could teach a master class in codepency. Up until a year ago I lived with my family for over eight years. I got to spend every day with my nieces and nephew. I was able to experience them growing up and I loved every minute. Last May that all changed when I moved out. I went from seeing them everyday to going months without seeing them. It broke my heart and I had severe anxiety over the loss. It felt unfathomable. After my Mom died in 2012, I became even more codependent to my family to the point where I feared leaving the house, in case something happened.

It was an unhealthy attachment. The fear was preventing me from moving forward with my life. I made my family my center and it crumbled under my feet. I felt lost. Like floating into outer space without a tether. It felt like someone had ripped my heart out of my chest. It’s difficult to adjust to life where your family is no longer your center. Not to mention that in order to get affordable housing I had to live in a homeless shelter for almost two months. It was a very scary time in my life. I had few possessions to my name and had hit rock bottom. It was torture knowing that the kids would continue to grow up without me. At least not on a daily basis.

After a few months of homelessness I finally found my own place. A one bedroom apartment in a nice small town. It was one step towards stability and independence. Even still it was very scary to do it alone. As each month passed it became easier to cope with the loss. I went from seeing the kids all the time to hardly at all. It’s been really difficult. It finally got to the point where it didn’t feel like I was going to die from the disconnection. I missed the kids dearly but I had accepted that things had changed. I needed to rebuild my foundation to where I was the center of my universe. It’s not been easy. I spend most of my days alone. If it weren’t for my therapist I wouldn’t see anyone. At my worst I don’t even leave my apartment. I’m talking about days.

The last six months have been very difficult. I was hospitalized in January for a suicidal plan. It was the first time I was ever close to do something. That loss finally became unbearable and the only way to cope with the loss was death. Thankfully I had a few friends who cared enough to notice. I was in the hospital for two weeks and started to accept that I was now on my own. I stopped killing myself over not being able to see the kids. I had to let go. It was doing me in. Somehow I was outside the family circle and it was difficult to overcome.

Recent changes to my psych medicine sent me into a deep depression that led me to be admitted to a partial hospitalization program. I hadn’t been this depressed since 2013, after my Mom died the year before. I went weeks without leaving my apartment. I was in complete darkness. I was holding my sanity because of my birthday coming up and I always spend it with my family. I hadn’t seen the kids much this year and all I wanted to do was spend a few days with them. Then I went downhill and it didn’t look like that was going to happen. Again I was devastated. Thankfully I wasn’t hospitalized and was able to go to my sisters. I spent a week there and it was the best week I had since before my Mom died. A few days before I left for home I started to feel the same kind of anxiety. I thrived on every minute I could spend at my sisters. I didn’t even care that I didn’t spend all day with them. Just being in the same house was great. I wasn’t alone.

The time I spent with my younger niece was both wonderful and sad. I knew my days with her were coming to the end. I didn’t know how long it would be until I saw her again. I felt a deep sorrow that I can’t even begin to explain. To make matters worse she’s started to grow up on me. She doesn’t need me as much as she did. She’s very independent. I cherished every last minute I got to spend with her. I loved the times where we played Mario Kart on my switch. I wished those moments could last forever but they didn’t. The last day was the best but also the saddest. I spent a good hour bird watching with my niece. It reminded me of the days when I lived with her. We’d go outside and play for hours. One of my last memories of our time together is when we played school together. You never realize when those moments will be your last, in terms of phases in a child’s life. The days of playing house are over and that makes me sad.

The anxiety was crippling that weekend. When they dropped me off at my apartment on Sunday I was a sobbing mess. I didn’t want to leave my niece. It felt like I was going to lose it. Thankfully I started the partial program the next day. My meds were adjusted and my anxiety lessened considerably. It was tolerable. Granted the first part of the week I was taking xanax. The past few days I have been waking up feeling the same way, feeling lost without my family and I don’t care for it at all. My mind starts to wonder when the anxiety becomes unbearable. I start to have suicidal ideations. Thankfully they’re fleeting. Just quick thoughts.

This last weekend was tough after a week of structure. By Sunday, I had started to become depressed again. By Monday morning I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I was very close to not attending group that day but I pushed myself. I was glad once I got there, as I had a really good day. That’s until my atrial flutter caused me to almost pass out. I couldn’t walk very far without getting light headed. I had to see the cardiologist right away as my resting heart rate was high. My cardiologist increased my med that helps control my heart beat but it takes a while to take place. So this morning I had a hard decision to make. I really wanted to go to group but I was afraid of passing out. I tried to walk to the elevator but quickly became out of breath. I knew that if I pushed myself physically I would be right where I was yesterday. Things got so bad that I had to be wheeled to the front of the building, in an office chair. While I had felt light headed I had never been so close to passing out. It was extremely scary. Thankfully I was sitting down when it happened but it made me realize how careful I need to be. If I fainted and hit my head it could be serious.

As much as I wanted to go I couldn’t risk it. Which made me really sad. I really enjoy the groups. Today I haven’t really been depressed but my anxiety has been high. I want to go to my sisters. I texted my niece and held onto every last word, like I always do. I’m just very sad. I wish I could see my family often but the reality is that’s not possible right now. It would be easier if I had a life of my own, which I don’t. I’m disabled, poor and without a car. I don’t have any close friends. So I have all the time in the world to miss them. I probably have another week of group and I worry about what happens after. I will go back to no structure and being alone. I don’t want to get this depressed again. I just want to not feel this anxiety anymore. It makes me feel helpless. It’s like a monster you can’t see, it’s that scary. You just have to wait it out and that’s my only choice right now.