THE BATTLE AGAINST ANXIETY

Around forty million people today struggle with an anxiety disorder. It often goes along with other mental illnesses like depression. Anxiety manifests in different ways for different people. Some have panic attacks, whiles others get physically ill. Fighting and learning to handle anxiety are challenges that on some days can seem impossible.

A couple of weeks ago I was stretching beyond my cash register to scan a cake a customer was holding up when I felt an immediate pain in my left hip. I tried to ignore the pain, but it started shooting down my leg. I told a manager and filled out an accident report. A co-worker took me home and when my husband got home, he took me to an urgent care that was approved for workers compensation. The doctor examined me and told me I had popped a joint in my hip out of place. He gave me steroids and pain medicine and recommended I go to a chiropractor to have it put in place.

An approved chiropractor didn’t have an available appointment until a week later. While I waited to be seen the only thing I could do comfortably was lie on the couch and watch TV. Sitting and standing for more than a couple of minutes hurt. Nights were also rough. It was hard to get comfortable. A few nights I cried out as pain shot down my hip and leg.

 This made me worry that maybe more was wrong than what the urgent care doctor said. Maybe he missed something. He didn’t take x-rays. I have osteoporosis; maybe I broke my hip? What if I needed another surgery?

While I waited for my appointment, my dad and his friend put a kitchen floor in my house. While they tore up the old floor, my dad frequently asked how I was doing. I told him I was hurting. I lay on my couch watching them work while worrying about my hip. The medicine made the pain bearable for a little while. I could sit up for short periods of time to do edits one of my beta readers made on my memoir.

I tried to remind myself of the positive things of being off work. I got to watch my old worn-out kitchen floor transform into a beautiful floor, I had a good excuse to lie around, I got to be waited on by my husband, and I got to spend extra time with my dog, Esther.

New kitchen floor

The worries about more being wrong with my hip started to grow bigger and bigger. The night before my chiropractor appointment, my thoughts took control of me and ran wild. I pictured myself having hip surgery and being laid up for six months or more. I wanted 2022 to be a year without surgeries and now I would probably have one. It seemed like every time I had a problem it led to having a surgery. It seemed inevitable. I was sure the chiropractor would say he couldn’t help me because more was wrong.

I rolled from side to side in bed while my thoughts raced, and my stomach twisted. I did deep breathing to try to calm my anxiety, but it didn’t help. I tried to picture myself floating on a small boat, but the nagging thoughts intruded. I took my sleeping medicine, and usually a little bit after I lay down, I’d drift off to sleep, but not this time. Even my sleeping medication couldn’t calm my overbearing anxiety and obsessive worrying. I was wide awake.

“Why aren’t you sleeping? Are you worrying about tomorrow?” Lou whispered.

I buried my head in my pillow to hide my tears. “I can’t sleep. No matter what I try, nothing works.”

Lou stretched his arm out to me. “Come over here.”

I lay on his chest and he gently stroked my back. “Let go of your worries. Close your eyes and relax. Sleep, my love, sleep.”

I lay on his chest for a while, and when I thought I was drifting off to sleep, I rolled over to my side of the bed. Then the thoughts started screaming in my head again. I thought if I lay still Lou wouldn’t know I didn’t fall asleep, but there was no fooling him. He knew I was awake, and he refused to sleep until I slept. He suggested I counted sheep. So, I gave it a try. I got to 100 and I was still awake.

The chiropractor can’t help you. You have more wrong with your hip. You probably broke something. You’ll end up having another surgery. This time you’ll be out longer. You may never be able to work again. If I broke a bone, it would be because of my osteoporosis and workers comp won’t pay my medical bills. I’ll be out of work with no money to pay bills. Lou deserves a healthy wife. Not one he has to take care of all the time.

Internally I yelled at myself. Stop it. Stop thinking. Think about something good. You’re going to have a book published. Think about that.

Lou wrapped his arm around me. “Baby, you need to sleep.”

I hit my fist against my head and cried, “I can’t stop the dumb thoughts. What’s wrong with me? Usually, I drift off to sleep. I’m trying so hard, and nothing is working.”

Lou massaged my shoulders and back, but I was still awake. At 8:00 a.m. we decided to get up and go get breakfast. As we got closer to the time to leave for my appointment my stomach began to cramp, and I felt sick. I recently developed an obsession with squishy toys I found at Dollar Tree. I like the feeling of the toys in my hand and squishing them is relaxing. Before my appointment I squeezed the squishy toy like a stress ball, and it helped settle my nerves some.

Once I got to my appointment my anxiety faded away as the chiropractor popped my joint in place and massaged my muscles around my hip. Later that night I discussed with my friend Cheryl different things I could have done to calm my anxiety so I could sleep. My plan for the next time anxiety and worrying get the best of me is to do grounding techniques, keep a squishy near my bed, and talk or journal about my fears before bedtime.

Sometimes anxiety gets the best of us, but once you are calm it’s good to make a plan of how to better handle it. Think about that anxiety attack and plan out different things that could help you fight it. Anxiety is relentless, but not impossible to fight. Try different methods such as deep breathing, meditation, listening to nature sounds, squeezing a stress ball or a squishy toy, practice grounding techniques, and so on. Find what works for you and plan to use it when anxiety gets the best of you.

I continue to look for new ways to help with my anxiety. I keep track of things that work and what doesn’t. Fighting my anxiety helps me bathe in the light of recovery.

4 thoughts on “THE BATTLE AGAINST ANXIETY

  1. Hi Aimee,
    So sorry you went through that. My brother also gets anxious. A few nights ago, he took his medicine and like you, he usually drifts off quickly. But not that night. He was awake all night. He is very anxious about his upcoming appointments and everything he is going through. That’s why I make the effort to get off work to go with him. Dinner usually calms him, too. So I cook after work even if it’s late. Routine is very helpful. I’m so glad you addressed this issue. Thanks for using your struggles to help others.
    Amy

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    • Amy,
      I’m glad routine helps Mike. Anxiety is rough to fight. Does Mike have any coping techniques? Coping techniques are helpful. I’m praying for Mike.
      Thank you for reading.
      Aimee Eddy

      Like

  2. I rarely have any issues but when I was working, work stress and fears would sometimes creep into my nights. I’d find myself laying in bed wide awake and worrying. My strategy was to get up and write out a plan for my morning. With a plan formed, I’d be able to go to sleep…

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    • Murisopsis,
      I’m glad writing out a plan worked for you. Everyone has different techniques that help them cope. That night my regular coping techniques didn’t work, but now I have a plan for next time. Thank you for reading.
      Aimee Eddy

      Like

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