Health

Stop Anxiety and Depression

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I use to suffer from horrible anxiety and depression.  I use to have panic attacks weekly, although most of my family didn’t even know it.  I would worry about all the small things and I would worry about all the BIG things as well.  I think I was exhausting all of my internal systems.  Over a long period of time, that is not a good thing for overall health and longevity.

The depression was a whole other story.  My moods would swing from way up to way down.  I never had that medically checked out because I knew the answer was going to be medication of some kind.  I had been in group therapy with plenty of men and women who were “drugged”.  They didn’t feel.  Even though I was running from my feelings, I knew I didn’t want to be a zombie either.  I always told myself, “you’re ok Amy, you’re not that bad off!.” So I LIVED WITH the depression and the anxiety for years.

I thought at one point it would be much better to just live in that state of anxiety all the time instead of going in and out of it. It was very difficult to be “normal” one minute only to find myself in a full blown panic attack and have to deal with the shame and guilt and embarrassment. I never had a “formal” diagnosis for the depression, but I knew what it was and what I was feeling.

I remember once I was having a panic attack and I “swung” in the ER to get help thinking I was having a heart attack or something. At that point, I don’t know if I had been in denial of my situation or that I just really could NOT face the fact that I had panic attacks. I never termed what was happening as a “panic attack”.  So I went to the ER and they hooked me up to the EKG machine and ran their tests.  I was alone.  No kids that day, and my husband was at home.  So I waited for the results to come back. That was not easy, being there alone AND waiting.  The nurse came back in, and kinda shook her head.  She told me the doctor would be in in a few minutes.  Oh great MORE waiting.  In my mind I ran a few different stories about WHAT the nurses head shake was about.  I felt embarrassed thinking I shouldn’t have even come.  But wait I really felt as if I was having some kind of heart trouble.  Surely they would come tell me that there was something wrong with me. Secretly that’s what I wished would happen.  No such luck that day.

The ER doctor came in the room with a very kind look on his face and said, “well we ran our tests and we think you are having a panic attack, nothing registered on the EKG.”  He waited a few minutes watching the myriad of emotions cross my face. I remember being horribly embarrassed and my face turning red. I remember asking him, “so you are saying this is all in my head?” and he replied, “well not exactly, all I can tell you is that the test didn’t pick up anything wrong with your heart”.  So I took that as a positive at least.  And then thought “ok, so now what?” I asked the doctor, “so now what? I don’t want to go home.  There is way too much stress there and I just don’t want to go home.”  He took one of my hands and looked at me straight in the eye and said, “you can talk to someone upstairs, would you like that?”  I said “yes”. And I was thinking “damn straight buddy, I don’t want to go home. Maybe they have a psych ward I could stay on for a few days”. That, at that moment in time, would have been heaven. My luck, that day, had not kicked in yet.

The doctor left the room and was gone for what seemed like forever.  Finally came back in and said, “you can go up now”. So I went.  I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew I didn’t want to go home that day.

This doctor was really formal and got on my nerves right away when he asked, “so what makes you think you don’t want to go home?”  I was like “what kind of stupid question is that?”  I answered, “because I don’t!”  I felt as if he was questioning my own judgment about what was best for me.  And as it turned out, he was! He asked me what seemed like a thousand questions.  I remember crying at one point.  I was waiting for the question from him, “do you want to stay here tonight?” to which I would have said “hell yes, why did it take so long for you to ask?” But I never heard that question from the Psychiatrist. This is what he ended up saying to me after about 2 hours of talking, for which he charged me for later, “Well you can’t stay here tonight, you have to go home. There really is nothing wrong with you.” I was livid and started crying again just about begging to stay there, somewhere, so I didn’t have to go home.  It felt just like when I was sick at college for the first time, being away from home, and calling my dad and saying “I’m sick, I need to come home”, and my dad said, “no, you need to stay there and deal with this on your own.”  I didn’t realize how hard this must have been for him to say to me until years later when I had my own kids.  But it felt the same in that I KNEW what I wanted to do, what I needed, and here was a man telling me that what I wanted really wasn’t the best thing for me at that particular time. I felt ill.  I was angry. I was exhausted. I got in my car and drove home.  I had to buck up and face the music. Who’s music was it anyway? It sure as hell wasn’t mine.

So on went my life.  I learned to identify the panic as such and tried all kinds of things to help myself.  This went on for years.  Until one day in 2014, I saw a flier on Primordial Sound Meditation.  There would be a one-day workshop in a town near me.  I hadn’t tried meditation before.  Never thought it would help with either the anxiety or the depression. I just thought it would be a good thing for me to do for my overall health and well-being. Much to my surprise it totally got rid of both!  I can’t explain to you HOW it has done this for me, all I know is that it has and I will forever be grateful to my teacher that day and to myself for having continued it.  I meditate twice a day.  Once in the morning, first thing, for 30 minutes before doing just about everything else.  And once in the afternoon, after lunch, for at least 15 minutes and sometimes the full 30 minutes.

It is hard to describe how it has changed my life.  I am calmer.  I no longer suffer from anxiety and I have not had a panic attack one single day since I started meditation. Depression?  I no longer have that either.  I have learned to relax into my life with meditation.  I think that’s a good way to describe it.  I take my life now, as it comes.  My thinking is clearer and I don’t engage in drama because I just don’t see the point. What I have noticed most recently is that I am remaining calm, most of the time, when others around me are freaking out.  That’s a great feeling to have.

If you have anxiety, panic attacks, or depression I encourage you to find some form of meditation and start a practice.  It can be as little as 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night before you go to bed.  Focus on your breathing. Breathe in and breathe out.  Can’t get much more simple than that.  There are apps now for your phone as well. It is a practice, never perfect.  It can change your life, I know it changed mine.

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Have a wonderful evening.

Whole-Living, Whole-Life.

 

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