In the Moat: The Physical vs. The Mental

Let me first get this out of the way by linking you to the article from Harvard Health about the physical and physiological effects of anxiety on the body.  It should provide an unbaised look at what I’m going to be talking about in this post.  For those following along on Tumblr and want some background, feel free to click back to my real blog site, www.purposelysidetracked.wordpress.com to get yourselves up to speed.  You’ll read the category labeled Anxiety for the full story of what a normal-severe general anxiety disorder looks like for a 29-year-old, happily married, not crazy woman (me, duh).  I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to experience stress in the mental capacity, but physically as well.  Neat!

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed not only how much more anxious I’ve become, but also my body reacting to the panic, stress and worry in unseemingly ways.  It has become increasingly evident that stress physically affects me in a way that most people don’t.  The article above describes most of the symptoms I get, simply stated.  Racing heart, pressure/collapsing inwards chest, gastrointestinal issues accompanied by  IBS, insomnia due to my racing mind (like the other night when I finally fell asleep at 4am), acne cysts (which really hurt and are ga-ross), absentmindedness,  and top it all off with the ocassional migraine that knocks me down for several hours at a time. Migraines are the coolest!  Oh, and I also just want to sleep for hours on end because I’m so exhausted from being hypersensitive to everyone else I’m around.

I should take a step back.  The past two months have been a little frustrating for me at work.  I’d get into it, but I would bore you.  Point is, I’m happy where I am and I’m thankful for some nice compliments I’ve been given, even after a few weeks of feeling a little beaten down and really underappreciated.  This week especially has been anxiety-inducing due to some big projects that have to be done soon, and a slew of other things on my mind and proverbial “plate”.  My stomach has been a mess.

My therapy sessions have been talking a lot about how stress affects me in the mental and physical senses.  I’m finding some insight as to why my body just sort of shuts down and feels awful after a few days of feeling panicked and filled with worry.  Lo and behold, I’m not imagining the phsyical part – it’s actually a REAL THING!  That simple validation will, in time, help me to make these little attacks less frequent and less dramatic.  I think knowing that there are other people out there who have the same struggles as me is pretty cool.  My support system is huge and I am so thankful for them, but sometimes, I just have to write about this on the internet JUST IN CASE someone reading it finds some benefit or the courage to see a therapist or doctor.  It’s super hard to do, and I know because I’ve done it several times with several different counselors and psychologists, and psychiatrists.  It’s putting yourself out there to a stranger and admitting you don’t feel right.  Something is off and you feel sad/worried/depressed/anxious/terrified/etc.  Luckily, you’re probably not the only one.