method of lizzy

preservations… for posterity

Diagnosis: Anxiety

January 2005: I was jogging on the treadmill at Family Fitness in Hyde Park, Florida. I was pushing myself to run harder and faster because I wanted to run a 5k that spring. At the same time, I was thinking about how I needed to start studying for the CPA exam. Both goals were daunting to me, and I shouldn’t have been thinking about them during tax season. There was already plenty on my plate.

As I ran, I gasped for breath. My chest felt tight and constricted. I really wanted to breath in deeply, but I couldn’t. Frustrated, I finished the run and went home. That night I laid on my bed, trying to calm myself. My chest still felt constricted and I had a smothering sensation, like I couldn’t get enough air. I tried to relax, but I just couldn’t. I had another long day at work the next day, plus my other goals weighed heavily on my mind.

That’s how it started. I don’t recall how frequent the anxiety attacks were in the beginning. They may have occurred only a few times a week. I remember asking David if he had ever experienced anything like this, and once I asked him to observe my breathing while I slept to see if it seemed abnormal. I had no idea what I was experiencing. I never considered going to the doctor, because I didn’t have any physical evidence of a problem and I knew I would feel silly if I brought it up.

I silently suffered for almost a year. I slowly pieced together what had happened: the accumulation of too much stress. But I had no idea what to do about it. In early 2006, I was fed up. All of the stressful events were in the past: I had passed the exam, finished school, and I was no longer working overtime. Yet I would still be confined to the couch, lying as still as possible because of the chest/breathing pains. I made an appointment to see my doctor, and I felt tears in my eyes as I described my experience to him. Even though the anxiety was all in my head, the pain was very, very real.

I desperately accepted his prescription for anti-depressants. I’ve received some flack for turning to drugs so readily, but I was at a very low point. I’ve been on the drugs for a year now, and they have helped. I still have anxious moments, but it is no longer a crippling experience. I’m not cured yet, but I’m to the point where I think it is time to stop taking the medicine. I see my doctor on Friday.


February 24, 2007 - Posted by | anxiety, health

1 Comment

  1. […] one area of my life that can cause a lot of anxiety. Remember that I was running when I experienced my first anxiety attack? It hasn’t let up much since […]

    Pingback by Running through anxiety attacks « method of lizzy | February 27, 2007

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