On the way home from the beach on Friday the husband and I started talking about anxiety. More accurately my anxiety issues. He doesn’t understand it and I don’t know how to make sense of it myself. It wasn’t always a part of my life, actually when he first met me I was prone to flying by the seat of my pants, you know the whole leap first and look second mind state.
My sister liked to joke that I acted without thinking but always landed on my feet. I guess I saw things a little differently but it wasn’t far from the mark. I moved out of my mom’s house at 17 years old and in with a boyfriend. When I lost my job the boyfriend left and instead of looking for another job right away to keep my apartment, I instead focused on getting him back, which didn’t work and lost me my apartment. I moved in with my sister and shortly after that got my own trailer on the back of the property of a nice elderly couple. When my car broke down I quit my job in town instead of finding an alternative way to work. I lost the trailer and spent years couch surfing after that. I didn’t move out on my own again till my now husband and I moved into our first apartment together in the city.
I never worried about things, I made a decision and without thinking twice I followed through with it. Pretty soon my husband and I were moving to Oregon which ended VERY badly for us, moving back to California and in with my husband’s father which was WAY worse for us. Eventually we ended up back in the city and then the economy tanked. My husband had been in construction sales for as long as I could remember and the construction field crashed hard leaving us both clueless on what to do with the rest of our lives. I had been a stay at home wife and we had never put aside any savings. Eventually I started school, I graduated, landed my dream job, moved into a nice house and the husband found his place in the fitness industry.
It took a lot of years of struggling and hard work to get to where we are now. I love my life, I am comforted that we earned it all ourselves and brought ourselves back up from the bottom. But one new thing that came around with all this change was the anxiety. Suddenly I was petrified of leaving my purse in the car and having it stolen. So I would ask the husband a few times if my purse was in the house. Pretty soon I was having him check that the doors were locked on top of me already checking. It started to spread to making any financial decisions and slowly leaked into everything I did. When I get anxious I start to stress eat and smoke too much. This anxiety can be totally rational but more often than not it is completely irrational. For example I worry constantly while sitting in outside chairs that one will collapse with me in it. Am I so obese I have ever broken a chair? Not really, well nothing but cheap camping chairs, but I have never broken a chair at a restaurant. One day I got obsessed with worrying if I somehow sent a personal email to my whole work instead of just to myself, I worried about this so much I made myself sick and even though I could clearly see I hadn’t sent it to anyone but me I still felt like my world was falling apart. I worry what others think of me and I worry about being hurt. I worry constantly.
This week I have gotten myself completely worked up over Tuesday and Thursday. Those are the days the husband has agreed to open the club and I have to get myself to work. Not a big deal, easy enough, I leave early, park in the parking lot and pay $7 for the day. But I have myself completely convinced that it is going to be a disaster. One of my co-workers does it every once in a while when she doesn’t want to ride the bus, she has explained how easy it is but still I have got myself staying up all night worrying about it.
I guess I could blame a few things. This article talks about PCOS and anxiety.
“PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), or PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disorder), is linked to anxiety in several possible ways—one, that PCOS causes chemical changes in your body that result in anxiety or, two, that the symptoms of PCOS cause anxiety. These symptoms include infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, abnormal hair growth, weight gain, acne and other skin conditions, sleep disturbances, and more. All of these can affect your life, physically and emotionally, and make anxiety all that more likely. While more research is necessary, women suffering from PCOS and PCOS Anxiety are encouraged to improve their lifestyle with exercise and diet, as both have been found to lessen symptoms of PCOS.”
While this article also found a strong connection between anxiety and PCOS.
“Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have gynecologic, reproductive and metabolic co-morbidities that span their entire lifespan. More recently a higher risk of mood and anxiety disorders has been reported in women with PCOS. Women with PCOS have higher depression scores and a higher risk of depression independent of BMI. Although clinical features of hyperandrogenism affect health related quality of life, the association between hirsutism, acne, body image and depression is currently unclear. Similarly there is limited data on the association between variables such as biochemical hyperandrogenism or infertility and depression. Women with PCOS are also at risk for symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. There is insufficient data examining the risk of other anxiety disorders such as social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorders and panic disorder. In a number of patients some of these disorders coexist increasing the health burden. These data underscore the need to screen all women with PCOS for mood and anxiety disorders and adequately treat women who are diagnosed with these conditions.”
I know that others in my family struggle with anxiety as well. My mom is one of those crazy over-thinkers as well, many times when I tell her I am doing something she has to examine it from every single angle which causes me to get pretty anxious about it as well. I also can blame never wanting to make the same stupid mistakes that I made in the past. I don’t ever want to go through the same mistakes again and again. Maybe if I had been a little more cautious in the past I wouldn’t have so much anxiety to this day. There is lots of reason for suddenly getting anxiety ridden I am sure.
The reason my husband brought it up to me was because I literally suck at being a passenger in a car. Even though he is a good driver and has never wrecked I still panic if he gets too close without braking. We discussed my anxiety and I was completely shocked by how much it affected his life. I was even shocked by how much it was affecting mine. I have gone on anti-anxiety medication, I was allergic so I stopped taking it, though I do notice my anxiety lessens when I am eating healthy and working out a lot. For years I have been self-medicating myself using food and smoking, which is hurting me just as much as the anxiety is.
So this week’s goal is to find ways to lessen my anxiety/stress without smoking or emotional eating. I am hoping to use a combination of exercise, eating healthy, talking and meditation. I have a few books to read about anxiety and I also have a few articles to read as well. I plan on educating myself completely. If I find that my anxiety is still too strong than I will make an appointment with a psychologist because I have never felt there was anything wrong with talking to a professional. I know that this anxiety is affecting my health condition and it needs to be kept under better control. I didn’t always have it and I feel that if I learned to manage it I could go back to living without so much worry ruling me again.
What are you working on health wise this week?