One of the things that I have had to manage, in the time since I became this ill, is the fact that I now suffer from the worst anxiety episodes I have ever encountered in my lifetime! I feel as though my sensitivity has been dialed up to its highest settings. It’s truly awful!
Although I know there are multiple reasons for this, it still is not easy to cope with. I am well aware of the role that my steroid medications have played in altering my emotions, my weight, my sleep and appetite, however It’s effects on my emotions and anxiety is truly staggering.
Amongst those of us who must take steroids like prednisone and methyl prednisone we call them the devils pills because of the price we pay for the relief it can bring. Ultimately it also damages our bodies in many different ways but we take it because we are desperate for relief from pain and various other debilitating symptoms. We don’t take them because we like it. I have had to take them every day for 8 years now and I will never come off them.
My anxieties are kept under some sort of control by trying to live as peacefully as I can. In fact I deliberately plan my life this way, but almost all of you know life never goes as we plan!
Recently a number of stressful events, and some medical issues thrown in for good measure, happened on the very same day! For me that equates to a category 4 cyclone or hurricane of anxiety! The after effects can feel the same too.
Anxiety, worry, fear and panic were never so overwhelming for me and I spent many years in high stress working environments. I look back on this now and wonder how on earth I managed! The answer is that I was a different person in so many ways.
Since illness and medication have entered my life I am not the person I was and certainly don’t possess the same emotions. My anxiety can be compounded by a number of factors, for example, many of us must contend with the combination of medication, pain, lack of mobility and independence that these diseases bring, however, when something major happens in my world I am painfully aware that I can’t drive, lift, carry or nurse the way I once was able to. In fact I feel incredibly helpless and vulnerable.
It’s so incredibly difficult!
Many people still expect the old Trish when things happen. The stoic soldier and the problem solver. The shoulder to lean on and the wall of strength. I want her too! But she is not there now. Not the way she was.
Today all my strength is used to face the challenges of living with these struggles. All my problem solving must go on how to create a happy and secure life for me and my little family here. All my willpower is used to keep going. Any left over strength, no matter how small, I must be cautious where I spend it.
That means I don’t waste emotions on things and people that aren’t truly worthy or healthy relationships. For example, the ones that take from you and drain you are not worth me feeling upset and anxious over. The ones that would attack and be self focused are particularly dangerous for sufferers like me. They cause pain and suffering that they really don’t care about and leave you with the emotional bill. An anxiety I don’t need and can eliminate as much as possible.
Anxiety is a beast I try hard not to feed as it can eat me up; emotionally and physically. It’s another part of Autoimmune life that I wish were not so and can contribute to a physical flare and real prolonged suffering.
However there are special people and relationships that are worth it. Those rare relationships that are so much part of our lives that suffering and panic is something I will go through without hesitation and I would crawl to a hospital to care for them. It’s often when an event happens which is so stressful and important that I am reminded who those relationships are for me.
As difficult and painful as anxiety issues are these days I have found other strengths to compensate. The strength to be more open about myself. The strength to be more honest about myself. The strength to drown out the unwanted noise in my life. The strength to see more clearly who is worth my emotional suffering. The strength to see myself as I truly am and accept that person, wholeheartedly and genuinely. The strength to have dignity and pride in myself; despite all that has happened.
Although I know I must shoulder some painful and difficult burdens, I am confident that I am doing my level best. I marvel at these same abilities when I see my fellow Autoimmunes doing their best too!