I guess you could say I have been dealing with anxiety since childhood. As a child, I worried a lot. About storms. About getting food poisoning at new restaurants. About getting spinal meningitis. For the longest time, I just figured that anxiety was a part of my life and it didn't need to be dealt with. I would have rough patches, like my junior year of high school when the fear of vomiting at school caused me to miss nearly the entire last month and also eat only small bites of food. "Are you anorexic?" "No, just scared of throwing up in public." Sounds silly, but that was my life. Then months and even years would go by where my day to day life was not affected by my fears and worries.
Most recently, just two years ago, I began dealing with low blood sugar and it caused me to not "feel real." It's hard to describe, but it feels like I am dreaming, only I am not dreaming. For me, this causes me to panic, so then a low blood sugar episode turns in to an anxiety episode or even panic attack. Fun times.
At first, it also made me feel very isolated. I just assumed that no one felt this way but me. That I must be "crazy" <---- also a symptom of my form of anxiety. But, through sharing how I feel, I have found out that there are quite a few people, especially women, that feel this exact same way. This serves as comfort to me. And, in addition to sharing helpful tips on dealing with anxiety and panic, I would also like these posts to serve as comfort for others that feel similar and perhaps even a place to share thoughts and feelings. My goal is to make this blog a mixture of what I get asked about most often on a daily basis. And, while fitness and nutrition are a big part of that, I also get tons of questions about how I deal with my anxiety. I also feel that they all go together in the mind/body connection.
Back to not feeling real. I can now tell the difference between a low blood sugar episode and when I am not feeling real due to anxiety, hormones or just being tired. Thanks to my fantastic psychiatrist, dealing with the anxiety triggers are getting easier all the time.
How I deal with low blood sugar:
I eat. Something with sugar plus a protein. Chocolate milk and nuts. Graham crackers with peanut butter. If out, a nice little drive-thru burger and coke. Anything to get my blood sugar up. If it has gotten really low, I usually feel nauseous, too, and don't want to eat but have to force myself to. A short rest (couch or bed) is ideal.
How I deal with not feeling real due to anxiety:
After 2 years of cognitive behavioral therapy, I have a whole bag of tricks. One of my favorites requires asking myself questions. Here is an example of my internal dialogue:
Give me three reasons why you are real:
Ummm...I feel hot.
People that aren't real don't feel hot.
My bug bite itches.
If I weren't real, I wouldn't be itchy.
I'm teaching a Pilates class where 5 people are doing everything I say.
If I weren't real, they wouldn't hear me.
Okay. Give me one reason you aren't real.
And that is how it goes. Sounds silly, but for me it works.
Do you ever not feel real? What causes it for you? What helps you?
Thanks for reading!