A Journey with Anxiety

14 Jun

It was New Year’s Eve 2006. I remember looking forward to heading to downtown Austin for the annual community bash. Gerald Ford had died unexpectedly and as a state employee we were given an extra day because of his funeral January 2, 2007. A four day weekend, woohoo! My condolences President Ford, but I was riding high, or so I thought.

Austin, TX New Year’s Eve Celebration
The only picture I have of my scooter. Taking my daughter for a ride.

My youngest son was in college, a half hour drive away and had moved into his first apartment. It was a beautiful day in Central Texas so I hopped on my scooter, a Yamaha 250cc and headed out for a visit. I traveled back country roads because a scooter ride on the Interstate was not my idea of fun nor is it safe.

Dylan with his grandfather.

While visiting my son, I began to feel off. I did what every mother does and took him to buy groceries. My vision seemed blurry and my head was pounding. I broke out in a sweat. Back in his apartment, I began to have chest pains severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. I was shy of my 55 birthday.

My triathlon days.

The bottom line was the diagnosis of a panic attack. ME!? I had never had a panic attack and was not one of THOSE people. Whatever that meant. It’s funny how mental health prejudice can show up when you least expect it.

Lisa my support crew.

The doctor referred me to my family physician who was absolutely no help. I was offered medication or to figure it out on my own. I tried counseling. No help there either.

At work in the following weeks I would feel symptoms coming on, chest pressure, sweating, dizziness, which of course caused panic which only made it worse. A spiral of scary feelings. I was at a loss.

Danskin women’s triathalon.

I had practiced meditation twice daily for years and was in training for a marathon. How could I be having panic attacks? What ended up working for me was massage. I began getting weekly massages which seemed to reboot my system. I hadn’t really thought about the whole experience until now when I am again finding anxiety creeping back into my life.


I have been having stomach aches for awhile. The pains come and go, wrecking my sleep and, well, causing me anxiety. I finally broke down and went back to the doctor, thinking maybe a previous ulcer had returned. I love my doctor. He is incredibly caring, kind and smart. Not knowing any of my history with anxiety, he gently suggested that my pain may be just that, anxiety. I cried to be seen so completely by this man.

Smiling with his eyes

We will medicate my stomach pain again for a month and then revisit the results. I am starting here, sharing myself and my judgment about “those people,” of which I am one. Anxiety does not have to be a full blown panic attack. It apparently can appear as low level pain of any sort. Who knew? Isn’t 2020 a hoot?


4 Responses to “A Journey with Anxiety”

  1. Emilie June 14, 2020 at 10:56 am #

    I can see your doctor’s kindness in his eyes. I think I would like him very much. And that’s a fab mural on the wall behind him.
    A little less than a year ago, I started having full-blown panic attacks with such intense chest pain I couldn’t function at all. I landed in the ER and took medication for a little while until I started having negative reactions to it. I got some therapy and that helped a lot.
    But in the last week or so, chest tightness is creeping back. First it would be for a little while during the day, and now it’s happening often on all day. More on than off.
    I don’t meditate well. My mind jumps all over the place continually. I try and try and try with no success and I end up being stressed by my lack of success, so that might not be a good option for me. I’m not going to get a massage during the times of Covid. I’m breathing. Breathing. Breathing.
    Good luck to the two of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melissa Dunn June 14, 2020 at 11:19 am #

    Once again another beautiful thoughtful post. So many people are wrestling with anxiety, struggling to get it under control. People who have never experienced this before are left at a loss of what they can do to help themselves. So thank you for your insights and for being a light in the dark.


    • afish25 June 14, 2020 at 11:50 am #

      None of us is free until all of us are free. Be strong.


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