My name is Miranda, here is my story; bear with me.
I can’t tell you when my anxiety first started. Maybe it was when I was 6 and was still sucking my thumb. Or maybe it was when I was 8 and was afraid of riding my bike without training wheels. Maybe it was when I was 14 and got my first period at summer camp. No, I don’t know when my anxiety first started, or even when or how it got worse.
I was home from my first year of College for Christmas break when I had my first seizure, and 3 days later, another one. I didn’t know what was happening; clearly it was something serious. Having already suffered from depression and numerous concussions, I was praying it wasn’t something bad. I went to the doctors and they told me I was fine.
I went back to College in January, but was so stressed out about if I was going to have a seizure or not. In the past 3 weeks I had had over 5 seizures already. I woke up every day stressed. Stressed about school work, and my job, and if I was going to drop any minute.
My whole life could be summed up in one word: stressed.
I learned that whenever I had a seizure, I lost my memory of that given time frame. I started to miss and fail classes. When April came, I finished the exams that I could, and decided that I would not be returning to school in the fall.
During the summer I went through numerous tests to figure out what was wrong with me. Every doctor told me the same thing: it’s not epilepsy, we can’t help you.
It wasn’t until an anxiety attack in the summer that an emergency room doctor diagnosed me with Conversion Disorder: a condition in which you show psychological stress in physical ways. It starts as a mental or emotional crisis, and converts to a physical problem.
I learned that when my brain became too stressed, it would temporarily disconnect (mentally) from my body.
With this new found illness, I was given a new life, but not a better life. Not knowing when an ‘episode’ would happen, I wasn’t allowed to work, go for walks alone, cook by myself, or swim by myself, and I would have to tell someone when I wanted to shower. I was suddenly a 19-year-old stuck in a 9-year-olds life.
It has taken a lot of mindfulness, the correct medications, the right doctors, and self-care to get to where I finally am today. I am now able to work and do some things on my own. I have bettered my physical health and my family has noticed warning signs as to when I might have an episode.
Something I have learned in the last year and a half is that my stress and anxiety was going unnoticed for so long, that my body physically couldn’t handle it anymore. I’ve never been afraid to talk about my problems, and I always knew where to go if I needed help. But I didn’t even realize that I needed help. I became so focused on everything that was going on around me that I stopped focusing on me.
I’m determined that I will one day be better, for every day I will strive to be a better me than I was the day before.
Now, as I mentioned up above, I’ve come to learn different coping strategies to help me when I start to feel uneasy. Everyone handles stress differently, but here are some of the ways that I handle my anxiety and keep my stress levels low.
I hope that at least one person reading this can feel a small sense of relief, and be aware that I will always be there to talk to someone, offer extended advice, and help whenever they may feel helpless.
I love you all.