RUOK? Am I ok?

So…

I have a bit of a thing I’ve been mulling over disclosing for some time. Actually, two things but let’s just start with one for now.

I have mentioned my battle with pain associated with my legs during this pregnancy but I have not mentioned another condition which compounds it.

Anxiety.

Yep.

Anxiety.

My name is Fiona and I suffer from Anxiety Disorder.

I was sorta half diagnosed with this a few years ago while undergoing treatment for the other condition which I’m yet to get the courage to talk openly about. It was not properly diagnosed at that time because it was a secondary issue. It was something which was noted could be slowing my progression but that was about all.

Skip forward to 2014 and the pregnancy hormones racing around my body doing all the things they should to build a baby…and a few things to really upset my internal apple-cart. Generalised Anxiety Disorder which was well managed and under control started to creep ever slowly into the foreground of my life.

Now couple this with chronic and worsening pain.

Now add the mother of all heartburn/reflux (to a level where coughing up blood and nosebleeds are a daily event).

Now add gestational hypertension.

Had enough?

I sure have.

Today I had wave after wave after ceaseless wave of panic attacks. Many of these were observed by my psychologist who put her foot down and said enough is enough. She questioned some medication I was on for those other conditions and sent me post-haste off to the hospital to either have the medication changed or, failing a suitable alternative medication, to have a baby…4 weeks early!

Frankly, I was so ready to have the baby. My body feels like a warzone. It is at war with itself. However, the medical team feel they have found a viable alternative drug for me and so I’m now on new meds and baby is still tucked up inside and giving me reassuring kicks.

The next week could prove to be a trying one as the new meds may take a while to get used to. Meanwhile, the heightened anxiety which was being caused by the anti-reflux drug should begin to settle down.

I am grateful for a supportive partner who has helped carry me during all those times I could not carry myself. He gives me strength when I have none. He reassures me without ever being patronising. He is a constant when I am flailing and failing to stay in reality. I could not weather this without him.

I may always have anxiety as part of my life journey but I think I’ve got some good support around me and strategies from within to help me cope with what is thrown at me.

For anyone who feels they aren’t coping, I cannot stress enough the importance of acknowledging one’s own need for help. It is ok to ask for help and it is really ok to accept it when offered.

Anxiety is an illness just like any other. Seek treatment.

 

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/

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14 Responses to RUOK? Am I ok?

  1. Fi, as always I appreciate your honesty and sincerity x

  2. Kate says:

    Not only is it okay to ask for and accept help, but it’s also okay to talk about the fact that we’re dealing with these insidious, sneaky illnesses. In fact, I think it’s important we do. Appearances are not always what they seem, largely because we are afraid to talk about these illnesses in a way that we just aren’t afraid to talk about most physical illnesses. Even the most gregarious, confident, ‘together’, successful, calm, balanced, people can and do suffer with these illnesses. They are not a failing. They shouldn’t be taboo. They just are. By acknowledging them, we take away some of their power – both their power over us, and the power that they have over others, who feel like they need to hide these illnesses.

    So thank you for sharing this. I know it is hard and it is scary. It’s so scary that I haven’t been brave enough to write a post like this, despite wanting to do so for a very long time. I’ll get there. But in the mean time, you should know that you aren’t standing out on a limb here, all alone. I’ll take a step out there with you. My name is Kate and I have battled depression throughout my entire adult life.

    xx

    • FiFYI says:

      Thanks for stepping out with me, Kate. It did take a lot to pluck up the courage. I was afraid that I’d be judged but I realised that I don’t want to associate with people who would judge me for this.

      Hurry the day when mental health issues don’t have to have the word “mental” prefacing them.

      xx

  3. Laura says:

    Thank you so much for this post and your openness. I agree with Kate in that it is often hard to speak of this ‘hidden’ illnesses, but the more we all do, the quicker they will be accepted and more people will begin to understand.
    You are wonderful for speaking up, and I hope the new medication starts to help!! How lucky you are to have a supportive partner 😀

  4. Tony says:

    Thanks Fi, I’ll come out too as one who has been through therapy for anxiety and depression. When I started to talking to people, I was astonished how many of us there are! One thing my therapist said to me in my very first session was “You are not your feelings” which I didn’t understand at all until later. I can now look at anxiety symptoms in the same way you can spot symptoms of a cold coming on…

  5. veritas says:

    also here on the ‘yes! talk about this!’ front. i often talk about my bipolar. you know what? doing that is harder than talking about cancer. the anxiety i have now is acceptable. the anxiety i had before? that crippling terror of unknown things in the dark? nope. shameful. i am an oversharer by nature – i couldn’t stop myself if i tried – but the stigma around mental health is simply repulsive. thank you so much for writing this.

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