I have always known I was higher strung than most. I over worry about every small detail and usually at the worst moments. It makes me good at my job because I triple check everything but makes me terrible to live with according to my husband. Not that he loves me any less because I am overly anxious but sometimes he looks at me like I am a crazy person. Hell sometimes I look at myself like a crazy person. I know I am strung too tight. I constantly worry, is the house too dirty, are my animals healthy, am I healthy, are the bills paid, will my car break down, it is an endless chatter inside my own head most days.
“I have now stopped smoking for 3 months, 5 days, 11 hours, 12 minutes, 12 seconds. That translates into 1,789 cigarettes NOT smoked, for a savings of $626.27! At 5 minutes per cigarette I have increased my life expectancy by 6 days, 5 hours, 6 minutes, 40 seconds.”
When I quit smoking 3 months ago, it all got worse. I suddenly was so nauseous I couldn’t eat for weeks, I was spending a lot of time home, lying in bed, feeling absolutely horrible and petrified to leave the house. After a few weeks of this and a mis-diagnoses at the ER, I was correctly diagnosed by my doctor with severe anxiety/hypertension. According to her theory I have had anxiety for awhile, but I mistook panic attacks as nicotine cravings and would instead have a cigarette. But from the articles I have read, women with PCOS are more prone to anxiety anyways.
“More recently a higher risk of mood and anxiety disorders has been reported in women with PCOS.” (source)
Whether it is genetic, due to my condition or from quitting smoking, it is scary as heck. You feel like you are dying, no joke. My breath suddenly becomes shallow, my stomach starts to hurt, my whole body starts to tingle like limbs that fell asleep and are now waking up, my chest hurts, I start pouring down sweat and my thoughts start to race. The first time it happened I was convinced I was having some kind of heart attack. The husband checked my pulse and it was normal. Nothing. I wasn’t having a heart attack. It was a panic attack. After that I started having a lot of little one’s when stress got to be too much.
When I talked to me doctor she suggested a few things I could try. See she listens to me, which is why I like her so much, when I said I did not want to take an anti-anxiety pill, she made alternative suggestions. To me it felt like it would cover up the problem but not actually help to fix it. So we agreed on a beta blocker that helps with blood pressure (mine is always a little high) and also helps slow down the fight or flight response, helping with anxiety. My doctor also suggested yoga or walking daily, a healthy diet, lots of sleep and slowing down a bit. But if it didn’t get better she warned I would need to start taking the Zoloft, it isn’t healthy to have that much anxiety coursing through your body.
So I started walking daily, because it was easy and I wouldn’t have to go to a yoga class. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love yoga, I really do, just 1 tiny problem, I am NOT flexible. I sit at a desk all day and my hips/legs/lower back are tight tight tight. This makes it so if I can’t even touch my toes. Now I know there are blocks and ways to mess with the posses but I always feel a little embarrassed when I can barely reach my toes or when I am pouring down sweat in a yoga class. So I walked daily. Then the holidays hit and I stopped having time to walk. Then I poured on the sugar and alcohol. Then I stopped getting as much sleep. Then I stopped getting down time. And then I fell apart again.
New Years Eve was not a particularly stressed evening for me, we stayed home with the Red dog who is scared of all the gun shots and fireworks, we watched the ball drop, I got midnight kisses from the hubs and dogs and all in all it was a good night. But for some reason when I went to bed that evening I had a full blow panic attack. So bad that I ended up turning on the shower and lying in the bottom of the bathtub humming to myself like a crazy person trying to get the horrible feelings to subside in my body. Eventually it passed but I was afraid to go to bed, so I stayed up reading till 5 a.m. The next day I spent the whole day fighting mini anxiety attacks and that night I had another panic attack when I got into bed again.
Thursday night, exhausted, drained, nausea’s and done with the anxiety, I headed to yoga with my mom. I had made a commitment to her or else I would have cancelled but I am really glad I didn’t. I can talk myself out of most things that give me a little bit of anxiety, taking a yoga class alone is one of those things I often talk myself out of even though I love yoga. It is silly really but I am petrified of embarrassing myself. But if I make a commitment with someone, I don’t want to be a flake, so more often than not I will go and afterwards I am usually really happy I went. We attended a yin yoga class that concentrated on deep poses and holding them for up to 3 minutes. Not the typical yoga I had been to but worth a try. Some of the poses I couldn’t do but somehow I was okay with it. No one was watching me, they were too involved in their own practice. As I concentrated on my body and breathing, the anxiety started to flow out of me.
“In a German study published in 2005, 24 women who described themselves as “emotionally distressed” took two 90-minute yoga classes a week for three months. Women in a control group maintained their normal activities and were asked not to begin an exercise or stress-reduction program during the study period.
I have found a yoga studio closer to my house and I am trying their beginners class this Saturday because well I need to learn to become brave enough to attend yoga on my own. I truly would like to do yoga 1-2 days a week to help with my anxiety. After that the husband and I have a day hike planned to an old coal mining tunnel that you can still go inside of (and I have heard makes for some amazing photography opportunities), while Sunday the husband has convinced me to go to a few history museums with him (he LOVES anything history). Should make for a calm, active, low anxiety weekend, that I am really looking forward to.