The Girl Who Bites Her Nails

Pic courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

 

I’ve been the anxious type for as long as I can remember.  Elementary School was rough.  Just speaking in front of the class felt like a heart attack.  The anxiety would come and go depending on what went on in school and in life.  It definitely shot up in social situations.  And yet I still put myself out there and overcame the anxiety and “shyness”.  I’m proud of myself for that.  I have spoken in public numerous times and enjoyed it so much, despite the intense underlying nervousness.

11 Years ago I started suffering panic attacks.  I got rid of the imbalance with changes in my life such as more exercise, less coffee, healthier relationships, better blood sugar control, and more positive thinking.  Granted it took years, a job change, and a change of a significant other…The funny thing is I’m fine. I mean, I think and feel happy only I’m physically feeling the overwhelming symptoms of anxiety. It’s a strange thing, it’s as if my body isn’t communicating with my brain or something.

Since the birth of my twins, I have gone into worry mode much more.  I also haven’t left the house much in two years.  As a result I find I’m going backwards in my social comforts.  For example, when I went to the Diabetes Sisters Conference in April, I suddenly experienced extreme anxiety.  My blood sugars shot up to 300 and stayed there the entire weekend.  I have been 300 a handful of times in the past year so to stay there for two days meant something was up.  I realized the second day of the conference that it was due to my anxiety.  My heart was racing, I couldn’t sleep, I was nauseated, and I spoke to everyone awfully fast.  I wasn’t miserable at the conference, I was thoroughly enjoying myself!  And yet I still felt this way.

The feeling of anxiety has lingered since.  In the past two weeks I’ve had a few panic attacks.  Mild ones, but ugly none the less.  Usually the anxiety builds up when my twin two year olds are crying at the same time.  My skin feels tingly and I go into this “make it stop, make it stop, make it stop” mode.  I’ve felt this a lot during the past two years because I’ve been around my kids about 98% of their waking moments and I’m hyper sensitive to their crying.  Or maybe it’s just that their crying is so loud when they’re in sync.  I know it’s natural for babies to whine and cry but it drives me bananas after a while.  You’d think motherhood would come naturally to mothers and yet I feel clueless lol!  I might even feel like an utterly inadequate mom, which I know is silly but while vulnerable the thought does enter my mind.

I feel like someone is stepping on my chest, not letting me breathe.  I feel like I’m not able to exercise efficiently because of that, too.  I’ve been here before and the diabetes certainly aggravates it but at least I know it’s not a permanent situation.  I don’t go out around people much and so when I do I internally freak out.  If you met me in person you probably wouldn’t notice anything abnormal.  I am friendly and chatty and I don’t appear anxious-au contraire, I seem relaxed.  The thing is, on the inside I feel completely frazzled and my nails are bitten down to the bare minimum. 

Soon, the kids will grow out of the difficult stage they’re in where we feel we can’t take them anywhere and where all the fun activities out there seem to be for ages 3+.  We go to parks and more parks and I’m allergic to the outdoors so that’s rather tiring.  Eventually we’ll be able to leave the house during the day and be out about in the world more.  I’ll find it easier to trust others to watch my kids.  (I’m paranoid because of my daughter’s severe peanut and egg allergies and the way she puts everything in her mouth) 

In the meantime I’m debating seeking help over doing what I’ve always done which is hold on for the ride a little longer and work to maintain blood sugars, exercise, and diet so that I can come back to a healthy place again. 

It’s hard feeling this way but I’m not ashamed (and neither should you if this sounds familiar).  It’s hard to have type 1!  And have little twins and one of them not be able to touch surfaces or eat foods without fear of exposure.  It’s hard to be “shy” and to be stuck at home all day and to do it all while living paycheck to paycheck.  We’ve never fully recovered from my quitting my job to stay home with the kids and my husband being laid off for 8 months.  That swallows up a just married and honeymooned couple’s little bank account real fast.

I’ve overcome this many times before and will just have to dust myself off and do it again.  And laugh.  I laugh a lot.  Sometimes like the joker but never the less Winking smile

Got any anxiety busting tips for me?

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I know how you feel about social anxiety and being out in public! The more I stay at home the less comfortable I get with being out and I am always finding myself wanting to return to the comforts of home. I don’t have panic or anxiety attacks but I often feel the pressure of dealing with diabetes and the real world. I see a therapist (I am not ashamed either!) once a week and have been seeing her for the last 5 years. Having a person who is non-judgmental and not emotionally invested in me (i.e. husband, parents, friends) helps tremendously. Having someone to talk to about all the sucky parts of dealing with diabetes and life without feeling like I am burdening them is the best way I know to relieve that anxiety and stress. Keep hanging on and seek the help if you feel you need it!

Sysy, you have no idea how much I appreciate this post. Actually, I’m pretty sure you do.
So thank you, for being someone I can relate to.
Anxiety can be really awful. I’ve always felt it was a disagreeance between my body and my head.

I totally have an anxiety problem too and it drives me crazy haha. It seems to have spiked in the last few months. Reading this makes me feel better though.. One thing that seems to help me the most is positive self-talk, but only if I keep it up because sometimes my mind wanders back to what made me upset in the first place. Keeping busy also helps, like when I’m at school, although school gives me anxiety too..what can you do haha. I need some tips too!

Well, I feel rather like a hypocrite suggesting this, because I have barely done this since having my daughter 2 years ago…but I know how fantastic it is, and it really does work wonders on anxiety. The magic cure? Meditation. I taught meditation for close to 10 years, and used it every day, for at least 3 hours a day (and up to 16 hours a day!) while I was teaching it. It is wonderful. It leaves me feeling so rested and refreshed and calm inside. Bright even. So that is what I recommend! Man, I need to get back to it!

Thanks, Jane! I’m so willing at this point, to set aside time to learn meditation :)

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