Taking a Breather

Stress can be really strange as far as symptoms go. I mean, I can't tell you how many times I've had the 'good ol' panic attack' -- but that's expected sometimes. Other times, it's insomnia and myoclonic jerking before I fall asleep, while in some cases, it's strange heart palpitations from my adrenaline rushing way too fast for my heart to keep up. I've been checked out by a cardiologist to rule out anything serious. But lately, my symptoms have been different. I noticed that I've bene fitting into my old clothes, but with a high cost. I'm not dieting either, trust that. Some days, I can't even get out of the house because I need a bathroom nearby. See where I'm heading with this one?... Of course I can freak out, go to the doctor and wonder if I have some sort of disease --- but it's stress. I remember a few years ago, a friend of mine came over for dinner. She used to be very curvy -- a thicker frame like myself. When she walked in, she looked completely different. She was thin and frail. I immediately noticed the weight loss and said, "Oh wow! You've lost a lot of weight!" And while I wanted it to come out as a compliment, it seemed to have come out as a concern. She said only one thing after that.


She had recently divorced her husband and in the process, had IBS due to stress and anxiety. She even said that she ate normally, except if she had to go somewhere. So now, I'm faced with this same dilemma, (except for the extreme weight loss) -- and I'm a bit taken aback by my limitations with this symptom. I tried to go out and meet a friend for dinner yesterday. As soon as I opened the door, I had to run to the bathroom. I was feeling okay the entire day! What happened? I didn't eat anything weird -- in fact, I ate lightly too. I was so disappointed to call her up and tell her that I would not be coming. I couldn't even invite her over to my house, because it was that bad.

I get so frustrated when I hear someone say, "Oh stress is a killer," and they also go into the fact that anxiety and stress can cause physical symptoms. OK ok ok --- but how do you fix it without tossing a whole bunch of benzos down your throat? I pray, I meditate, I do mindful breathing techniques, but somehow, my stress and anxiety comes out in various forms. For instance, the other day I had to go to court for a minor traffic violation. They packed me into a tiny room of 100+ people. I can literally smell what some people had for lunch. It was awful. My heart started palpitating and I thought I was going to pass out right there. So in the midst of waiting to get my name called, I closed my eyes while sitting down and did my mindful breathing right there. I didn't care if anyone saw -- it just looked like I was trying to get a snooze in. But I have to say, it did help.

I'm always trying to conquer my fears!

Last Saturday, I ventured off into another town that was about 30 minutes away from me. I took my dog too. We drove in the rain and got there safely. I didn't have any symptoms of anxiety whatsoever. I felt like I conquered this huge fear of mine and was really happy about it. But when I was leaving to go home, my heart started palpitating. I continued to start the car in the pouring rain and after my navigation pointed me in the right direction of where I was familiar --- my palpitations stopped. So subconsciously, I was afraid to get lost. But I had navigation! How does anyone get lost with navigation or a good GPS system? So these irrational fears are on the attack! Little by little, I'm exploring my limitations, or should I say --- my strength to go further and further into fighting back the fear inside. To conquer fear is to face the fear --- NOT to avoid it. So I am noting this down right now that I will not let this :"symptom" of anxiety get to me. I'm trying so hard to get back on my feet and live my life as I used to, but even better than before.

The one thing I feel terrible about is that my sincere attempt to go out and meet my friends are valid, but sometimes, that fear creeps in and wins. Little by little, you'll see me showing up more. You'll see me mingling in crowds more. You'll see me driving to new places more. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired all the time. I did a lot this month, so right now, I am taking a breather. This even means from live streaming as well. I'm still editing and doing freelance work on the side, but my blog was the one thing that gave me joy. It let me vent. I may come on here to just give updates and let you know what helped me. I know a lot of you who read my blog suffer from anxiety and depression. I'm on a mission to not only help myself, but to help you in the process. The best person to go to for help is someone who has gone through it. So give me some time until I figure out how to cope with this new symptom of mine, which also includes prayer. Because without God, nothing is possible.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!