Some Days, Anxiety Feels Like Riding the Crazy Train

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by Jen Cueva |

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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, nearly 40 million people in the United States experience an anxiety disorder in any given year.

If you have pulmonary hypertension (PH) and anxiety, you already know this struggle. Anxiety affects us in more ways than we ever thought possible. Despite having PH for over 15 years, I have only known about my anxiety for the last few. Before, I thought of these feelings as a mindset — that I must push through the emotions and PHight.

My therapist taught me

My therapist has taught me how much of an impact my anxiety has on my life and my relationships. Because mental health historically has been a taboo subject, no one brought it up when I was diagnosed with PH in 2005.

Despite some improvements and better awareness of mental health issues, we are not there yet. One example is the many types of anxiety. Mine is classified as generalized anxiety disorder. I often wonder if this is an umbrella term doctors use if they are unsure about the type. Also, some people have more than one type of anxiety disorder.

Anxiety shows itself in peculiar ways

It’s after 2 a.m. and I’m wide awake, so I’m working on my column. I’m wide-eyed, although my body feels tired. When I try going to bed, my mind races with a million thoughts. Yes, I did take my anxiety medication a few hours earlier.

This is one way anxiety shows itself in my life. Worrying about others, finances, health, etc. is all part of the disorder. Yes, this is all part of life, but when it becomes continuous, it is anxiety.

Oh, yes, the mood swings

Often, my anxiety makes me think I’m a burden or that I’m not good enough. At times, I have mood swings and don’t know who I am. I become overemotional and often need to break down and cry. I become irritated and not because of anything others have done. It is horrific at times. When I don’t know who I am or what’s going on, it scares the heck out of me.
I’ve always been easygoing, fun-loving, talkative Jen. Thanks to anxiety, I struggle with this too often now. I hope my medical team will find the best anxiety medication for me soon. But it’s difficult, given my PH and coexisting conditions.

Decision-making is often difficult for me. Some days, it can be as minor as figuring out what I want to eat. This drives my husband, Manny, nuts. I can’t count how many times we’ve driven around in circles for an hour when we planned to eat. He tends to get “hangry” by this point and usually makes the decision.

Riding the rails of the crazy train

Anxiety is a daily struggle. The addition of challenging times in the world doesn’t help. Last week, I was in a funk and had Alexa play ’80s rock. The first song was “Crazy Train.” Yep, Ozzy and his lyrics, “I’m going off the rails of the crazy train,” hit the nail on the head.

There are days when I am riding those rails right alongside Ozzy. Thankfully, it’s not every day. Anxiety likes to pop in and out, and its many manifestations can be challenging to navigate.

If you’re dealing with anxiety, how does it manifest in your everyday life? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

If you or your loved one is struggling with mental health, you are not alone. Check out the ADAA website for some helpful resources. 

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Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.

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