Every one of us experiences stress, and we all handle it differently. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those unavoidable parts of life. I have always suffered from mild anxiety and occasional panic attacks throughout my life, but severe anxiety has affected my life substantially within the last year and a half. Around the time that I was planning my own wedding (hold the jokes), I began having shortness of breath. I thought the worst; I have COPD or some horrific terminal illness. Web MD only fueled my fears, although anxiety was often at the top of their list.
From August to November, I lived a double life; stay at home mom by day and a writer, publisher, amateur graphic designer, and social media marketer at night. This was a particularly stressful period for me. In December 2014, I finally published my first romantic thriller novel, so I thought that my stress level would drop, and perhaps I’d be able to breathe normally again. I was wrong.
The shortness of breath, which had started off slowly, only increased in intensity as the year rolled along. It eventually got to the point that it would occur for hours at a time throughout the day, causing me to constantly take deep breaths or yawn to feel like I was getting what still seemed to be an inadequate amount of air. It was both physically and mentally exhausting. In case you have not personally suffered from this sort of medical condition, the feeling of not being able to breathe is REALLY FREAKING SCARY. I went to the doctor, and he ran every test imaginable to ensure that my heart and lungs were in healthy working condition. He even checked my thyroid. Everything was fine in all of those areas, so he determined that it was anxiety, and he started me off on a low dose of Zoloft (daily) and Xanax (as needed). Neither seemed to help.
My doctor slowly increased my dosage of Zoloft, until the problem was resolved. A year and a half has passed since the onset of this problem, and the shortness of breath is almost nonexistent. Occasionally, I’ll have a few seconds of breathlessness, but I can manage those few seconds easily when I remember the hours of struggle that I used to suffer through. I opted not to continue with the Xanax, because of its addictive properties and the fact that the Zoloft alone works for me, but there are still people who do require that extra measure to control their anxiety. I’m hoping to slowly stop taking any medication in the near future, and through my research, I’ve created an awareness board for anxiety and depression on Pinterest, which offers many ideas and solutions to mange these issues with or without medication.
I felt alone for a while; Like something was wrong with me that I could not explain, and no one understood. When I tried to search for answers, I came across so many stories about other people who suffer from this same condition. I hope that people going through this same struggle will read this deeply personal story, and check out my awareness board to find that they are not alone. There are natural and medicinal remedies for anxiety related shortness of breath as well as depression, but you have to recognize and address the problem immediately, so it does not take complete control of your life.
For a growing board of resources to help overcome and spread awareness about anxiety and depression, visit https://www.pinterest.com/coreyschultz/anxiety-depression-awareness/
Thank you all for reading!