The fluttering feeling in my belly just started again. A thousand little butterflies trying to burst through from their tiny cage. I try to will it away by taking a deep breath, but the feeling only intensifies. I lose focus on what I’m doing. Nothing else matters except trying to will away the fogginess settling over me. I can’t concentrate as my heart starts pounding rapidly. Suddenly the pounding fills my ears and I go deaf to anyone or anything around me. The tremors have started in my hands. More deep breathes. No one look at me. At this point I just want to curl up in a ball with the covers over my head and sleep until these feelings go away. I reach for the pill bottle in hope that the tiny pill will work its magic enough to continue with my day.
This is a life with anxiety. A panic attack can induce fear in just seconds if you can’t get a handle on the feelings invading your body. Or for me, the anxiety can last all day. It’s a disease that can’t always be seen from the outside. I am actually considered laid back and happy when in public. Yet, I can laugh and have a good time and still want to escape to catch my breath. Many times I just want to shut down. From time to time I can’t even leave the house. Anxiety can be debilitating. Every so often I become scared of doing the smallest tasks like going to the grocery store or walking down the street to pick up the mail. I was told I also suffer from depression. Of course I do. I’m depressed that I feel anxious all the time. It is exhausting to keep up the charade that life is good and happy all the time.
There is help out there. There are support groups online. A really good therapist can make a world of difference. My therapist is a lifeline to a world of hope. I can gain control over my life so the anxiety doesn’t control me. A psychiatrist can help you find the right medications to help you cope with daily stressors that may trigger your anxiety. I’m not saying it’s easy. If you don’t feel like a therapist or physician is helping then try someone else. I even moved back home to see my previous therapist. After my first session I felt like I could breathe freely again. No more holding my breath and praying that one day I would feel better. I can feel better now at this moment in time and so can you.

by Myrica Cook