Mental Health Awareness Month – My Story

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought it would be a fitting time to explain my absence.

In August, I had a health issue pop up. It required oral surgery, which included the removal of my wisdom teeth. Now, that doesn’t sound like a big ordeal, but I had a dental phobia, so it was huge for me. The stress I was experiencing with the anticipation of the surgery, and the fear in general, kick started my Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) that I had under control. Even after my health problems were sorted out, though, my anxiety did not dissipate…

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I was 20 years old. Growing up, I was always “the shy one” or “the quiet one.” I stuck to my mom like glue at social events, and I always made sure I had classes with friends as I got older. I always knew other people seemed more relaxed, but I didn’t realize the level of fear I was experiencing wasn’t quite “normal.” I thought all “shy” people were so nervous to be in a room with strangers that they were shaking and holding back from vomiting. I assumed all “quiet” people were thinking of all the worst-case scenarios that could happen, and assuming they were about to actually happen.  It wasn’t until I was in college and thought I was having a heart attack that I finally sought help.

I was overwhelmed by college life, but once I went to the doctor, things got better. I was prescribed a short-term medication for the anxiety and began therapy sessions. After a few months, I felt life had gotten to a point where I didn’t need medication. I had acquired techniques to help with the everyday fear. For the most part, everything was great….except I started developing strange habits. Like needing to lock the door 3 times before bed, or counting everything, including tooth brush strokes.

But this summer, my anxiety became unmanageable on its own. I was having panic attacks multiple times each day. I was having ruminating thoughts, obsessively thinking about negative “what if’s.” I spent my days constantly nauseous and struggling to breathe, and my nights were filled with tossing and turning, afraid to fall asleep and having anxiety-laden nightmares. One morning, I woke up at 5am crying but ready to finally seek help.

Unlike my first encounter with medication, I did not have a good experience. What people don’t often talk about is how tiring the process can be. Most treatments for mental health disorders do not work instantly. You have to wait 4-6 weeks to see if the medicine is working, and if it needs to be adjusted. Not only that, the medications are not a one-size-fits-all item. What works for one person might not work for another. That was my luck.

The first medication I was given was the medication I was on the first time. After 2 weeks, I was down to 2-3 hours of sleep each night. By the 1 month mark, I was barely sleeping and my anxiety was actually worse than ever. Thankfully, a friend suggested different medication and after another month, I was finally feeling somewhat back to normal. I did have an extreme loss of appetite and weight at first, but that was tolerable compared to the anxiety. I also started therapy again with a funny, helpful woman.

It has been nearly four months now on this wonderful medication, and I feel almost 100%. I still have my moments where I want to curl up and cry, but that’s not as often now. I’ve started reading again, which is a huge relief. Reading was always one of my favorite things, and I sure missed it during my down months.

Anyway, if you read this whole story, thank you. I wanted to share where I’ve been, why I disappeared.

1 in 5 adults experience mental health conditions each year, and nearly 40 million adults in the US have an anxiety disorder. You are not alone!


About Romantic Moments Book Blog

Lynnie is an avid reader with a soft spot for romance. Her addiction to all things lovey-dovey began when she was introduced to the black-haired, blue-eyed angel named Prince Eric at the age of 4. Once she realized she could never win his heart from Ariel, Lynnie aimed her sight on more realistic options, like Cory Matthews and the members of NSYNC. Now nearing her 30s, Lynnie is living her happily-ever-after in a small New England town. She shares her castle with her very own Prince Charming and their 2 (fur) babies. When she is not reading for pleasure, Lynnie is a freelance editor and writer.
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