Hi, My name is Taylor (@health_anxiety)
I am going to start with 2014, if you asked me then if life could be better I would tell you there is no way. I was a full time college student, had all the friends, all the fun, amazing family, great in school, amazing boyfriend, life was just what it sounded like- bliss. This blissful life I thought I was living was consumed with perfectionism. I got prescribed vyvanse and adderall to help me study longer and harder so I could keep my 4.0. I was always complemented on my body, but what people didn’t see was the small amount of food I was consuming and the hours of running I was doing. Did I think I had disordered eating patterns? No. Did I? Yes. I was so caught up in life & being the “best” that I didn’t even realize the Damage I was doing to my body & mind to be this “perfect” person.
Then it all hit me, as I was getting ready for my friends 21st birthday I didn’t feel right but I shook it off went and had fun. I didn’t listen to my body. When I got home that night, I had my first panic attack. What is this???? Am I gonna die??? I kept quiet to myself in my 4 bedroom apartment with my friends. The next day I remember feeling numb, I sat on my balcony with thoughts of “am I dying?” “How do I tell anyone?” I felt like a person who had just gotten told they are terminally ill. I told my boyfriend that night. He didn’t understand and was just like you’ll be alright (who’s heard that a million times??? Haha) anyways, I wasn’t alright, it was about to be A huge domino effect of anxiety in my life and I had no idea what I was in for. I shook it off and came to the conclusion that this adderall I am on is too much and it’s hurting me. I freaked out, quit it cold turkey. However, the worst happened I had a panic attack without being on it. Then I was lost, my brain asking “if it’s not the medicine that was making me feel weird then am I really dying?” From then on I had many sleepless nights, calling my mom at 1am saying I’m dying, making my boyfriend drive over to check on me because I was worried, countless doctor visits. I lost my friends because I didn’t want to do anything, I could barely go to classes without my heart pounding and sweating from the amount of panic, I missed class and a lot my grades plummeted. Like I said anxiety domino effect on my life. I was an independent woman to basically a child. I started going home a lot, and only wanted my parents. Then the worst happened, my parents got sick of me saying all my “what if’s” ..I’m not mad at them, they did not understand. It’s hard for anyone to understand a healthy human being like me convinced I’m dying every single day of something. I got to my lowest point. All the miles I used to run, I couldn’t even walk down the stairs. I started actually going to the doctor, getting all the tests, getting rushed to the ER. I hurt my family, they were fighting more because of me. My boyfriend stuck by me but I knew he so badly couldn’t handle it anymore. I had become too much for everyone. This went on for a while. Many nights of panic, many tears, many “why God”…. then it hit me, God was actually with me the whole time. I turned to him, I had nothing to lose. I found peace in him, I told him to lead me every single day, I would say I trust you God lead me. Things didn’t get immediately better, let me say they got worse. I had to go back for senior year of college and my boyfriend and I went to move me in to my 1 bedroom apartment because I had separated from most friends. That night he got us concert tickets with two friends, I was so nervous to go, I panicked but went. It was fun, I was proud of myself in the moment (with slight panic on the side). The next day was the worst day of my life. I was moving in and all of a sudden felt dizzy, I didn’t know what happened. I felt like I was on a cruise ship and couldn’t get off (constant walking on a boat feeling). I tried to shake it off it was my boyfriend’s birthday and we were going to eat with his family. I got ready and was so scared the feeling wouldn’t leave. We got to the restaurant and I was nauseous, I excused myself to the bathroom and felt dizzy the whole way there and back. I then left the table again and called my dad, he got so mad at me “why are you doing this again??” They were so done with my “health” issues. I said I am not okay and I think I’m dying . The more I thought and spoke of these words the worse the symptoms and feelings got. I went back in and said we need to go to the ER. He got so mad, and everyone was so confused, we left his own birthday dinner (how sad) and looking back (how embarrassing of me to panic like that) off to the ER we went. I walk in I’m dying I say, they take vitals, okay ma’am time for CT of brain. The whole time getting that CT I imagined this brain tumor, blood clot, aneurysm whatever just taking over and killing me. I saw my own death. I had to wait a long time just shivering in a hospital bed. My boyfriend was sitting next to me, so mad. I made him leave his own birthday dinner and he didn’t get to eat. He said you’re fine the scan is going to be fine, why can’t you accept you’re fine. I then got sad, who am I why am I the way I am I thought. Doctor came back, told me there was nothing. We left & all I felt was numb. Now it was late in the night, I ruined the night. I thought since I got told it’s nothing I’d be fine. I was wrong. The next day I woke up and there it was again with every step I took, rocking left and right. I lost it I said I’m going back to ER, I drove there and cried. Everyone yelled at me. Do not go in. My dad said I’m coming to get you ( he was in another state) I said no & my boyfriend had to drive me home 5 hours and drive back to our school the same day. When I got home I said we need to go to the ER NOW! My parents were so mad at me. I went into my room, no one would take me. I laid in my bed a week with this dizzy boat feeling and extreme sadness, I didn’t understand why this was happening and when it would stop. Constantly googling 24/7 to find out what I was dying from. This was everyone’s final straw. I thought this was going to be my life forever.
My perfect life turned so imperfect.
Or was it?
Today, I am 100% panic attack free.
I suffered a long time with panic disorder, health anxiety, and agoraphobia.
I am recovered and I want you to know that recovery is possible. There is help & there is hope.
I used to be ashamed of my story & my journey but the more I talk about it and share my struggles with others the more I realize we are all so far from alone in our struggles.
So many people suffer in the dark because everyone things it’s embarrassing or people won’t like you for you.
This isn’t true, your real friends and your real people will love you through it all.
You are beautiful and loved just the way you are will all your scars. I used to not love myself, I used to beat myself up over every imperfection. Anxiety taught me so much, it taught me that today is a gift I could worry the day away about something so small not going right in my life or I could love myself and my flaws along the way and enjoy more. Let me always emphasis that social media will always steal your joy- someone’s life will always look a million times better than yours on pictures, however, they are struggling too. Everyone has their own struggles, no one’s life is perfect. One day I believe in a world where we will all share more. How cool would a social media platform be of everyone just being 100% transparent? Maybe one day.
Moral of my story is DO NOT GIVE UP. You are strong as hell and I am so proud of you.
I’m always here for you guys and understand your pain. What’s your story? I’d love to hear.