Managing Anxiety by Overworking (AKA My Current Situation)

Because of some significant changes job-wise, I’ve found my anxiety level rising more and more every day. And as my anxiety level rises, I’m noticing just how much I’m overworking to try to not feel my feelings.

I’ve struggled with my mental health since my early 20’s. I have an anxiety disorder and my therapist thinks I have a touch of OCD in the form of obsessive thoughts (anddddd she’s right). I’ve been able to keep my anxiety in check with a combination of talk therapy and medication, but about 2 years ago I experienced my first breakdown.

I was having so much anxiety, because of a major life change, that I could not get my brain to calm down. After weeks of rising panic I ended up sitting in my therapists office, literally rocking back and forth, trying to do anything I could to stop the intense feeling of dread that was plaguing me. When she saw the condition I was in, she suggested, for the first time, that I go to the hospital.

Long story short, I got the help I needed but I have felt fragile and vulnerable ever since. I am extremely afraid of having another panic breakdown. I never want to feel that way again. It was the worst experience of my life to feel so utterly not in control of my brain.

While I have continued therapy and medication, I seem less able to cope with my anxiety than before that crisis two years ago. Honestly, I’m afraid I broke something in myself. Therapy, medication, medical marijuana, and the love of understanding family and friends still isn’t enough to keep my anxiety in check.

Over this past month, as my anxiety has risen once again, I know I am trying to shove my feelings down by throwing myself into my community and volunteer work. I justify this to myself because, hey, at least I’m overproducing in *positive* way.

As soon as I stop and spend time just sitting with myself, I cry. I cry because I am so afraid that I will never feel like a normal person. I cry because I hate this about myself. I hate having anxiety. I hate that the reality is anxiety will always be in the sidecar of my life. And deep down, I feel ashamed that I can’t handle life changes and challenges with more resilience.

I know that my current state of overproduction and busyness is not particularly healthy. But I’ll do anything to not be back in the same state of unraveling that I felt last time I was in crisis.

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