“Life cannot be this stressful ALL the time.”
This is what I told myself while crashing down on the couch with my sister after an average day of college. My sister and I are two different types of people. While she is care-free, messy, and has a plan of “whatever happens happens”, I am organized, writing lists, and thinking about five different ‘what-if’ situations months down the road. Growing up, we always joked about our personality differences but when it came to living together, we noticed that my range of stress was NOT normal.
I am also a driven person. I want to achieve things and get involved. Can you imagine having a motivated mood where you sign up for a bunch of things weeks away and then you get overwhelmed by how stressful preparing for these upcoming things will be and that’s all you can think of over the upcoming weeks???? It is very frustrating.
And then the night before you can hardly sleep because the idea of your simple day, such as standing at a booth or even attending an organization meeting, has become the most impossible task. Or everyone refers to you as ‘The Late One’ because it takes forever for you to sum up the courage to leave the house and face the stress of the world.
I was stressing about everything, all the time. I hated walking our dogs because I was scared that a strange dog would be running loose in the neighborhood. I hated walking into a restaurant alone to meet friends because it felt like the world would be staring at me. I hated walking in an open space in front of people because I would worry about how to swing my arms without looking weird. I would stress about the traffic I could encounter on my way to class or work. I was ALWAYS stressing and it was exhausting.
I had done my research about medication that had helped with anxiety. I read stories about the difference people felt after taking medication and I knew that was something I needed to at least try. I made an appointment with my local doctor and I explained how I felt stressed, how I was constantly sweating, how I was constantly hungry, and how I had trouble falling asleep because I couldn’t clear my mind.
He surprised me by taking a marker and drawing a pair of axis on the paper covering the patient chair. He explained that life is meant to be steady up and downs with occasionally highs and lows. He went on to explain that people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) have a constant fluctuation on high highs and low lows, therefore the body is in a constant state of alert panic. The prescribed medication would lower these highs and even out the ups and downs so that life would be a little less stressful for me.
The first week on the medication was amazing. I was not productive at all but it felt like my body finally slowed down and took a break. I have not been that sleepy in so long. It felt like my body needed the rest and it needed to catch up from over functioning for so long. I could sleep anywhere any time. I loved it.
I’ve been on the medication for a year now and I would never have guessed that day would have made so much of a difference for me. The sleepiness went away once my body got used to the medication. I never notice it in my system or feel that I act like a different person. However, my sister and I repeatedly remark about the person I was back then and how I am now. I have grown so much professionally and personally over such a short span of time and I cannot believe I’ve breezed my way through many big life changes without sweating myself out.
That level of constant stress can take a toll on your body. My body would not have been able to hold up that panic without burning out at some point. I am so grateful my family and the doctor listened to how I felt and saw that it was not normal or necessary. I am so much happier and so ready to thrive in my career.
Please feel free to message me if you could relate to this post. Life is fun and colorful!