We have probably all heard the term “trust your gut”. I have even told a younger person while giving them advice, that if you ever get that gut feeling that tells you this might not end well, to listen to it. Then I realized, maybe this was not the best advice. I mean this had been true for me at times, but so many other times, it was not. Actually, I often had that feeling in my gut, but nothing ever actually went wrong. I spent so many years in fear of having fun because, well, something may go wrong. I often thought of the worst case scenario. Ironically, the times in my life when the worst scenario did happen, I never even saw it coming.
Thanks to this, and thanks to of course finally getting actual help for my Anxiety, I started relaxing and having more fun. When you have Anxiety, your body is often stuck in fight or flight mode. Your body thinks you are still living as a caveman constantly worrying about some wild animal attacking you. However, sometimes this is a good thing. In this blog, when I talk about the kind of anxiety everyone has, I will keep it lowercase. If I capitalize it, I am talking about the other kind of Anxiety. The other kind is when you are anxious all the time, or at least so often that it interferes with your life. It is when you feel anxious for what seems like no reason.
For me, it is when you are just going about your day and it suddenly feels like you are having a heart attack, it truly hurts and scares you. Actually, after it happens enough, it does not scare you as much anymore. You know you will be okay and that it is just a panic attack, but it still scares you a little, because the fact you did not see it coming and the fact that you are already on medication for it, and have been for a long time, means you still do not have complete control over it, and that scares you. It also still hurts and sometimes makes you cry. You also wonder if one day you might have a real heart attack and just think you are having a panic attack.
Even when you have this type of Anxiety, you still have the normal anxiety everyone else has. It is often hard to distinguish the two. When an actual panic attack occurs, it is easier for me to tell the difference of course. I know that I am either having one when there is nothing to be anxious about in the moment, or having a more anxious response than most to something it is normal to feel anxious about. Even when it seems there is nothing to be anxious about, I often think that maybe it is because there are things I have been anxious about, and not dealing with that have built up. I also sometimes get that heart attack feeling in a moment where any other person would be anxious, but most not anxious enough to have a panic attack, so I know the panic attack part is still a symptom of my Anxiety. I saw my stepdad experience this when he once had a stroke and he kept losing feeling in half of his body in the hospital. Every time, he got anxious, worrying it might be permanent, like any person probably would, but his kind of anxious, was the capital A kind and he had panic attacks. Luckily, it eventually quit happening and was not permanent.
There are other times, where I feel anxious in a moment where anyone would feel anxious, and react the same way most people would react, yet I still question if that is what is happening. I have explained this all to my daughter, because she seems like she might have the capital letter kind like me. I was hoping she would not, but at least she will know earlier than me to not always fear your gut, and maybe she will get help and relax and have more fun earlier than I did.
Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook, or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here. Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor