December of this year marks 11 years since I took the plunge into the world of anti anxiety bliss. From the time I was 8 or 9, I remember being a relatively anxious child. I didn't know at the time, but I know now that I was particularly obsessive and compulsive about things. I now know that what I was experiencing was symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). For many people, this in and of itself, can be extremely debilitating. Years afterwards, especially during puberty and those awkward adolescent years, I became even more anxious, but now let's add in a little depression to put a cherry on top. I went from therapist to therapist being told that most of my anxiety and issues stemmed from my obesity. Which I had always held ground that it was NOT! It wasn't until I was about 15 that I finally found a therapist who listenend and actually helped.
Fast forward to early 20's and I'm finishing college, about to get married, and take about a billion leaps of faith in life. AHHHHHHHHHH (My spiral downward!) I went to my general practitioner and told her that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. She wrote me a prescription for Lexapro (anti anxiety/depression med) I tried it and it for maybe 2 days and quit. Why? Because I'm prideful, I'm "strong", and I'm a super woman who doesn't need medication. A year later, doc asks how I'm doing, I tell her I'm better but still on the struggle bus. We talk about Lexapro, and now I leave with a prescription for Paxil. (another anti anxiety/depression med). I took this for about a week, felt completely numb to everything, and my friends asked if I was high because my pupils were as big as my entire eyeball. Again...I stopped the meds. Why? Because I'm prideful, I'm "strong", I'm a super woman, and I started to just not care about anything. (are you seeing the trend here?) Fast forward to May, 2006, when my life changed forever. I just started a new job (literally...it was my first day) , I left for lunch, and I almost didn't make it back. I was hit by a Jeep that was going about 60 in a 35mph zone. The driver hit another car, flew up in the air and landed just inches from crushing the top of my car....and my head. To say I was luck is a complete understatement.
The physical pain I had as a result from this accident, failed in comparison to the mental anguish. Physical: 4th-5th degree whiplash, cervical disc herniation, bulging discs, seatbelt stopped me from going through the windshield (no airbag deployment because I was hit from above) caused my diaphragm to be permanently pushed up into my lung, cracked/missplaced rib, thoracic spine herniation/bulging discs, 3 rounds of steroid epidurals for sciatica and the pain from my herniations, 12 weeks of intense physical therapy, 8 of those weeks I couldn't turn my neck, and much more. To this day, I have so much scar tissue, nerve issues, and many lingering issues from the physical ailments. I was hit so hard , that the bumper flew off the back of my car. The BACK!! For months after my accident, I had nightmares, increased phobias, and an intense, like SUPER intense fear of dying. I became agoraphobic (fear of open spaces), I couldn't be alone because I was so afraid of panic, I constantly worried about my family and friends. Most friends had no idea what I was going through, as I'd make excuses of why I couldn't do things, why I couldn't hang out, etc. Needless to say, I lost friends. I had reoccuring nightmares of my accident, incessant "what if" scenarios played in my mind. What if I hadn't stepped on the breaks when I did, what if I went to another place for lunch, what if I hadn't accepted that job offer....the list goes on. I couldn't sleep, and I remember when I did fall asleep, I had hoped and prayed that I wouldn't wake up. I was the only person who walked away from my vehicle that day, while the others survived, I was the only one not taken out of my car with the jaws of life. I finally reached my breaking point in December that year.