Meet E

*Initials are used in the story to protect the individuals privacy. Story may contain triggers and sensitive topics*

Meet 'E'.

She is a quirky wife, daughter, sister friend and momma-to-be. She lives her daily live with undiagnosed Anxiety disorder. Though she has not sought a diagnosis as of yet she also believes she may fall under the bi-polar umbrella as well, or borderline personality disorder. She was surprised to see how closely all of the disorders are related and symptoms fairly similar.

She has not sought out an official diagnosis as she has been able to cope and manage whatever she is dealing with on her own. She does acknowledge that if there ever came a time she felt she needed the help or even to solve the curiosity of what is going on she could and would seek to speak with a professional. She is medication free but has learned ways to self-medicate with learning techniques to calm herself before it gets to the point where she knows she can’t get her mind in check. Even if medications were offered ‘E' worries about the possibility of addiction and the side effects. She’s witnessed close friends and family deal with medication issues and watching them suffer for something that was supposed to be helping was hard. ‘E’ isn’t concerned about the stigma facing those that have chosen to go that route but struggles with the idea of being controlled by a medication, without knowing how it will change her or what side effects will happen.

What helps ‘E’ is music. It’s been a help to her in the good, bad and in-between. If it is a particularly bad day and feeling overwhelmed, music can help drown out the repetitive thoughts and quiet her mind to reset. Along the same lines she’s found that video games help, coloring books, pretty much anything that distracts her mind and allows her to escape a little bit.

Day-to-day ‘E’ has mostly good days. She find herself happy, pleasant, nice, friendly with the normal adult stress and anxiety thrown in there. Her job causes her some amount of stress given her title, but she has learned to overcome it for the most part. She is thankful that it has forced her to overcome some of her anxieties as well. ‘E’ has developed and strengthened her people skills and because of that she has felt much more comfortable in social anxiety type situations than she had been in the past.

Not everyday is a good day, unfortunately. On her bad days, ‘E’ finds herself having anxiety attacks over trivial things and feels like a ‘ticking time bomb’. She can sometimes judge a bad or off day from noticing how she might pick at her fingers/skin in some places. Anxiety can take a form of Dermatillomania [repeated picking at one’s own skin which results in skin lesions]. Her attacks take the form of lashing out at someone or something. She can find herself hitting things, throwing things, crying. ‘E’ equates it to feeling like she’s so full of this buzzing anxiety energy that it just ends up needed to find its way out. She notes that she has found certain triggers, and that when she is already having an off day, the trigger just adds the fuel to the fire. Once it’s past, ‘E’ ends up being hard on herself and feels bad for losing her calm. She feels like a mess. She also notes that she feels bad that a lot of the time her husband is around for her anxiety attacks and can trigger it without trying. Even despite that he tries his hardest to support her and help her even if he doesn’t fully comprehend it.

‘E’s advice for anyone else that might be struggling is:

Do what works best for you. Whether that’s taking medications or going to counselling, self medication, etc. It’s very important to do ‘you’ and not worry about what others think. But also do not be afraid to talk to people too, especially ones that get what you are dealing with. Remember you’re not alone.

Erin BerryComment