Anxiety Disorder: What Has Worked For Me and What Hasn’t
Welcome to episode number 69 of The Determined Mom Show. I am so excited to talk to you today about anxiety, and I shouldn’t be excited about it.
However, I want to share my journey with you. Hopefully, it will help you understand your anxiety if you have it, understand your triggers, and understand everything. I’m just going to share my journey with you. I am not a medical professional, so anything I mention on this show is not something I recommend you try.
It’s just something that I have tried myself to try to find solutions to my anxiety. So right now, we are in the middle of a pandemic. And I say middle because I think it will be several years before this ends. We are, as mothers dealing with so much right now.
Just keep the kids going with school, if they’re going back to school, worrying about them, their safety, all of those things. So just being a mother and doing nothing else right now, it’s very stressful. Add to that your business, and add to that any other things that you have going on. Any projects that you have going on?
Like I’m supposed to be writing a book. I’ve only done one book-writing session so far because of my anxiety. But in all seriousness, last year, it was at the end of August I realized that something was not right. I didn’t know what it was. I had no idea.
I thought maybe I had ADHD because I had trouble concentrating. I was always fidgety; I couldn’t sit still, which was hard. I was very angry and snapping easily at the kids, and it was just really, I don’t know. I just had this feeling like something was not right.
I ended up going to mental health, whatever. I don’t know. It’s kind of like a mental health treatment office, I guess. And, they take you in and take, do an intake and all of this stuff. So it helps to talk to someone going through the same things.
Although my life is way more complicated than most people’s lives just because of lots of different things, I love talking to her. I talk to her every two weeks, and I have for about the past year and a month. I can’t do without it because it’s a needed part of my routine.
I’ve only had one appointment where I probably could have skipped it, didn’t have something on my mind, or needed help working through it. I recommend counseling to anyone who is going through anything. Whether you’re overthinking or worrying or, I don’t know, just sad about it, Talking to someone about it and ensuring that you’re on the right path and doing the right thing is extremely helpful in the mental health journey. So the other thing that happened was I wouldn’t say I like taking medication. And I worked, I have a naturopath as my doctor, and I worked with her initially to try to resolve my anxiety using different methods and treatments and non-medical things.
So one of the first things she recommended was lavender pills, just lavender oil in a pill. And I did try that, and the only thing it did for me made me burp lavender, which made my breath smell wonderful, but it did not completely resolve my anxiety, and it didn’t even give.
The relief that I needed. So I started that in October or November, but then she went out on maternity leave shortly after that. And she came back at the beginning of December. So I tried all of the natural things I could until December, and when she came back, I kept trying different things: exercise and meditation.
I think I meditated for about 90 days straight every single morning. And I was proud of that streak, by the way. But it didn’t help me to resolve anything; exercise helps me mentally. It just helps me to be able to focus. And get things done a little better. But by the time February rolled around, I still had crazy anxiety, and at this point, the kids were still in school, and I was talking to her about it.
And, and I’m like, look, I can’t stand how I feel about who I am right now because I’m yelling at my kids and all these things. And I didn’t want to be that kind of mom; I said, what else can we do? And she’s like, medication is the only thing we can try. And I said, would you take it if you were in my shoes?
And she asked if it would make me a better mother. Absolutely. And I was like, okay. So in February, I started on sertraline, which is the generic of Zoloft. And, immediately, like the first time I took it, I took the smallest dose. I felt so relaxed, like it was just like something changed in my, well, obviously, something changed in my brain chemistry, but it was just so interesting to see how quickly that changed what I needed it to change, and I didn’t have any side effects from it.
The biggest side effect that I have to date is this. After being on it for eight months, I’m having trouble losing weight, a side effect of the medication. So that is my biggest complaint about it. But I’ve noticed that I’m more relaxed, able to relax, and not as focused on work as before I would work.
If I was awake, I was working, and I would be working with no real results because my brain was so scattered and all of those things. So I could focus, bring my perspective back, be nicer to my family, and spend more time with them. Enjoy spending time with. And then the whole thing with George Floyd happened and many stressful events happened with my family around that.
And I have a lot of anxiety about basically my family in that situation, and it was rough like the summer was. It was like the hardest period of my life I can remember. And it mainly concerns the fact that I can’t control other people. And while I want to control other people, I can’t, and neither can you.
So we have to let that go. But considering that we can’t control them, It causes even more anxiety and, like, why can’t they understand? Why can’t whatever. The other factor is the kids’ school. So obviously, we started school on September 2nd, and it was easy initially, but it’s gotten a bit rougher because I have gotten a couple more big clients.
My time has become even more strained, and I’ve been experiencing different panic attacks and things like that occasionally. So I went back to my doctor, and we discussed different options, and the only real thing we decided would be to increase mine. Dosage of Citraline and see how that works, at least just temporarily.
The election is another anxiety point for me. I try hard to avoid watching the news and all of those things. I only listen to the news when my husband is around, and he has his cell phone on speaker. Because he listens to the news all the time. I try to avoid that.
What I have found that is working for me right now is my medication. Still, I have recently retaken up puzzling over the summer, so jigsaw puzzles. I know that sounds super nerdy, but I used to do it all the time with my babysitter when I was a little, and I loved it, and I love it.
So we set up a puzzle table in my office, and my husband keeps buying me puzzles to feed my addiction. It relaxes me and takes my mind off of whatever I’m dealing with. You should figure out what that thing is for you. It isn’t puzzling because most people don’t enjoy them as much as I do.
But whatever that thing is that you enjoy doing, make sure. Carve out an hour every day that you get to do that. What I do is I come up, and I work on my puzzle for maybe 15 minutes, and then I will work on it at lunch, while I’m eating lunch for 30 minutes, and then I’ll work on it for maybe 30 minutes in the evening.
So I get it throughout the day, and it helps me to calm down and helps me to focus and helps me also while I’m doing it to think about what I want to do with. The time that I have after that. I find it very helpful and encourage you to find something like that.
If I have a panic attack, it will help me calm down. So that has been helpful. My husband, actually, one day, I was making lunch for the girls. We had just gone to their school to pick up lunch for them, and I realized it was the first time I had been back there, And it was just so sad and so depressing to know that there were no kids in that school right now, and it’s just teachers on computers talking to kids.
And it was a depressing moment. So I’m assuming that triggered it, but I need clarification. So anyway, I called my husband because he was out and said, I need you to pick something up for me, please. I don’t know what, talk to them, tell them what’s happening, and go from there. I really couldn’t breathe.
I was having trouble breathing. My heart rate was like in the nineties when I was sitting, and it was just a crazy moment in time, and I did get over it. It took several hours for everything to return to normal, but it was nice to have that option. I live in Washington State, so you can just go to the store and pick up anything you want along that line.
And it makes it easy. So hopefully, you live in a state where you can do that if you need to and want to try that solution. The main thing that I want you to take away from this is knowing, The triggers for your anxiety or whatever is happening with you. I’m not saying that you have anxiety, but I think we all have some mild anxiety because of the pandemic and becoming a teacher and working.
But I know one thing for me that is a trigger is politics. Another thing is family and you. Just stress, in general, is a trigger for me. I’m working on creating systems in our house, avoiding certain conversations with my family, and setting clear boundaries.
And there’s a lot of things that I’m doing to kind of. Prevent, I guess you could say, having panic attacks and overwhelming anxiety. And then also combined with my medication and all those things. I will say that it is not perfect. I don’t have any day I can think of where I don’t have that anxiety or thing, but I’m working on it, and I know what I need to do to work through it and overcome it.
Another thing that you should watch out for is the habits that you have. Like I have a habit of chewing my nails, not mine, but chewing my cuticles. So that is a habit that I’ve had forever. Picking your skin is another one. You were twirling your hair, biting your lip.
I do all of those things, and so. Just knowing how to know if you’re anxious is also a helpful thing because when you catch yourself doing that, at that moment, you can refocus, and you can take a walk or whatever you need to do to overcome it.
I hope this episode brings some help to you, knowing you’re not alone. I would have never, ever, ever talked about this last year when I was starting to go through it, but there’s no. There’s no way to express how much these things have helped me and how much better I feel.
And it is just super important that we, as moms and business owners, take care of ourselves first because we cannot be the best mothers we can be if we are going through things and not being treated for them.
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