|5 Things people with anxiety want you to know|
I can’t write about the past and tell my story completely without including the present. Actions, after all, have consequences. It’s a long story to tell but you may be wondering, it’s been two years, are you well? I wish there were a simple answer to that question besides the old, “right as rain.”
Psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis never seem to go in remission for me without biologic or anti-TNF medications. I’m currently on Remicade every six weeks and methotrexate. Despite having had my entire large intestine and rectum removed, I continue to have complications from IBD. At least a few times a month, I get dehydrated. If I showed up in the ER every time I needed fluids they would have to reserve me a room.
Pain and anxiety have become my constant companions. I carry them everywhere. A recent day illustrates life for me very well. My son and I both need eye exams desperately. It had been put off due to my health and hospitalizations. Our eye doctor takes both walk-ins and appointments and since I have some good and bad days we decided to pop over on a good day as walk-ins.
When we got to the clinic we discovered it happened to be a very busy day. If we waited as walk-ins it could take a couple hours. The waiting room is filled with hard, straight plastic chairs. I knew this would never work for me; I’d be in too much pain by the time I got to the exam to think clearly. However, they had two appointments open three hours from now if we wanted to book those and come back. That was perfect. We took care of the paperwork and left.
A block over is a movie theater with thick, cushioned reclining seats. It was the middle of the afternoon on a school day so there was no crowd. I could treat my son and be comfortable. This is something we haven’t been able to do for a while because of my pain. We picked seats where I could not only recline but put my feet up. Even though I went to the restroom right before the movie started, I still wasn’t sure I would make it to the ending. I had to run as the credits rolled. Still, we both greatly enjoyed the movie and the seating enabled me to watch without pain.
We grabbed a bite to eat, unfortunately, not on such comfy seats and headed back for the eye exams. We sat in the dreaded hard, straight plastic chairs to wait our turn. Should be any minute now, we have appointments. Thirty minutes and I’m getting nervous and get a drink of water. Forty and my heart is beating faster, I’m standing up. Forty-five minutes and my face is strained, I’m hurting, my chest is tight, heart racing and the doctor has just taken in a family of four for exams. An hour and I’m at my pain limit. I cannot sit/stand in the waiting room any longer. Worse, no matter how hard I try, I can’t keep the anxiety out of my voice when I tell reception to take our names off the list. A tear streams down my face. Not because they can’t get us in timely, but because I can’t sit normally and wait and the pain and anxiety is doing me in. Reception apologizes profusely. They told me to come back later to avoid this kind of wait. There is nothing to be done now but go home.
A week later we had appointments in a new office, no wait, and were even able to order glasses and contacts the same day. It went well. I thought I’d treat my son to some lunch and pick up a few groceries since he is so good to drive me around, saving me some pain. As we got up to leave, I felt this uncomfortable wet sensation on my belly. It was very cold out so I was wearing leggings, jeans, a cami, thin long sleeve shirt and sweater. I lifted the sweater to see everything underneath being soaked through from a leaking ostomy bag.
The world shifted and I was suddenly both nauseated and exhausted from anxiety. I haven’t had a leak like this, especially in public in a long time. Today, my guts decided pour. I haven’t eaten a bite of food! I should have known better than to put on those leggings, they rode too high on the ostomy bag, not short enough and not tall enough. Home, I have to get home.
We speed through a drive through so son can pick up some lunch. Then he gets me home so I can strip my clothes, get washed, changed and into something soft and hideaway under the covers the rest of the day. A leak has never bothered me like this before. It happens. Today I couldn’t stop the effects of the anxiety on my body.
Do you share my struggle with anxiety? How do you handle it? Sharing this post will be a big step for me. Two years ago, something like this would have not have entered my mind. Now, I’m not trying to figure out how to handle the bag, or a leak, I know how and could do that eyes closed. The anxiety is strangling me.