I remember the day as if it was yesterday. Having my first anxiety attack with Harley was paralyzing. I had never experienced any sort of anxiety until I was about 5 months pregnant. I honestly didn’t know what was happening to me. At that point in my life, I was working night shift usually 3 days a week, and then going to school two days a week for over 11 hours a day. I am sure my lack of sleep greatly contributed to the anxiety attacks. It also didn’t help that our classrooms had no window, so for most of the day I was only under fluorescent lights.
I remember always knowing that my anxiety was irrational. I would sit there sobbing, trying to tell myself that I was being irrational. Yet it didn’t help. At the time, I would immediately call Brian or my mom and try to talk through it. Nothing seemed to help. Finally, at the urging of my mother and Brian, I brought it up to my doctor. I was prescribed Zoloft and given a recommendation to go see a therapist. I resented myself. I didn’t want to take medicine. But my doctor said the medicine was safer than the reoccurring panic attacks which raising heart rates can affect the baby. When I went to the therapist, she helped me see that I had major changes going on. Not only was I pregnant, Brian and I were about to live together for the first time, I was moving to San Diego and I was a full time nursing student. Talk about overload! After about 3 weeks of medicine and therapy, I talked to my doctor and was able to wean off the medicine and just use therapy as medicine.
With the second baby, the anxiety hit a lot sooner. I was unable to take a shower in our room because the glass walls seemed confining. I would feel myself start to panic and immediately cling on to my husband. I knew the signs and I was scared that it would get bad again. But with this baby, I decided to try things a little differently.
- When I felt anxious about something, I would force myself to complete the task. This showed me that I could conquer my irrational fears.
- Talk it out. With this baby, I was much more honest with myself and my family about my building anxiety. This really helped me beat the panic attacks before they happened.
- Lush bath products. I went into Lush with the mindset of finding products that contained lavender. I absolutely loved the toner that uses rose and lavender. When I feel anxious, I immediately spray my face with it and take a few deep breaths. The smell of lavender has really kept me calmer.
- Get outside and try to sleep. If I find myself confined indoors all day, I notice my anxiety grows. If I step outside in the sunshine, I immediately feel calmer. Also, sleep is so important. If I am lacking on sleep, I definitely notice a difference in my levels.
Anxiety is scary but it does get better. How do you deal with anxiety?