I don’t want to shock any of you, but in case you did not already know, I can be a bit dramatic at times. I had a bad day? I’m quitting my job. I taught a super energized and awesome Jazzercise class? I am going to pick up five more classes to teach every week. I don’t like the color of the walls in my house? I am going to repaint the entire house purple… in one day.

Do you see why my life might be a bit of a roller coaster at times?

All jokes aside, the last year has been a bit overwhelming. I do not mean this in a bad way, sometimes overwhelming is good, but it can also mean stress on the body. Let’s look back on the last 12 months…

I got engaged. I planned a wedding in seven months.* I got married. I went to Hawaii for my honeymoon. I moved into my husbands house (now our home). I road tripped across America for two months. I started a new school year with new, but so far, great co-teachers.

These are all WONDERFUL things. This last year has been absolutely incredible, and I would not trade one bit of it for the world. At the end of the day, I get to come home, every day, to a man I love and be his wife (to be fair, this comes with it’s own learning curve; I will save that for a later post).

But still, stress. All of the beautiful things I have experienced in the last year are still a form of stress. Even good stress can have side effects on the body that make it hard for a person to handle. Add in the fact that I am easily overexcited, I overcommit, and I overthink almost everything and you have a walking, ticking, time bomb.

When I really think about it, the anxiety has always kind of been there** – I feel like I can’t breathe sometimes, I get cold sweats, my heart beats a little quicker than normal. I try to count to ten, take a few deeps breaths, and tell myself it is all in my head, and that usually takes care of it. About a month ago, all of these things started to become a bit more exaggerated and I attributed it to the start of a new school year (something that always puts me a little more on edge). This year, I felt a new symptom, a headache. Of course, I did not think about it being a part of any anxiety, I just thought it was a headache. When the headache didn’t go away for a week, and then two weeks, and then three weeks, I started freaking out a bit.

The headache wasn’t that bad, I only tried taking Advil for it a couple times, and when it didn’t take care of the dull, but constant pain, I decided nothing else would probably work (Stop it! I know!! I am a real problem solver). I don’t even think it was the headache that put me over – even if I was starting to feel like I may have a tumor or something (I know… dramatic).

I think what really put me overboard, was when I was running on a Sunday morning. My route is on a fairly busy road (this makes me feel safe), but on Sundays, it is usually quite dead. I have always felt safe when I run, and today was no different, even after hearing about women being attacked while jogging. That changed pretty quickly for me when the truck coming towards my direction stopped just before I met it. The driver rolled his window down and started to yell at me; I just kept running. I could feel my heart racing even more, but I told myself it was fine. It was when I turned my head back to the truck and saw that he was reversing to catch back up with me that I started to feel like I was going to LOSE MY S***! I immediately pulled my headphones out of my phone jack and got ready to dial 911 in case the guy caught up with me and got out of his car. My body was officially in fight or flight mode. Because I had unplugged my headphones, I was able to hear the guy and what he was yelling at me. While still jogging, I caught him yelling something about a dog. NO!! I DO NOT WANT TO GET IN YOUR CAR SO YOU CAN GIVE ME A DOG, was all I could think. Then I listened a little closer (still running and still with my fingers hovering over 911), and I realized he was warning me about a dog that was running wild. I slowed and heard him say his daughter had been bit by a dog in this area and he wanted me to be careful. He did not get out of his car and he apologized for scaring me. I thanked him and tried to shake off my fear as he drove away.

I could have thrown up. I was terrified and the fear did not leave my body for a while. I ran the next mile faster than I have ever run in my life because of the adrenaline pumping through my system. I could not get over how scared I was in that short amount of time. I got home and decided I was either always running with my dog, or I need to pick up some mace.

Three days later, I had a full fledged anxiety attack. I don’t know what made it occur in that moment, but for about an hour I thought I was going to die. That is, literally, the only way I can explain it. One second I was walking through my classroom, checking on my students, and in less than two minutes, I was sweating, my heart was pounding, I felt sick to my stomach, I thought I was about to pass out, my face was numb, my head was hurting, I couldn’t focus on anything, and I thought I was going to have a stroke or a heart attack at any second. I actually tried to convince my department head I needed to leave because I thought I might be dying. I could not function.

Thank goodness my department head is the person I went to, because she was able to talk me out of the panic attack and was completely understanding and awesome. I was able to set up an appointment with my doctor for the next day.

This was a huge reality check for me. My body was telling me I was doing too much and I needed to slow down. I do not know how I will make this happen, but I am sure it will come with many life lessons and the whole cliche enchilada.

Oofta, I can’t write anymore, but I had to get this all out. Time for bed… tomorrow, bring on the world… or maybe just one minute at a time.

*Planning the wedding in seven months was perfect. How people plan longer than 12 months is beyond me.

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