Dealing with anxiety and calling it what it is
I've had mild to severe allergic reactions off-and-on for the past two years or so. Recently, I had to go to the hospital after taking an epi-pen that didn't work. When I got there, they gave me steroids and monitored my heart rate. They refilled my typical prescription for prednisone and benadryl and I left about four hours later once they took blood tests, determined that I didn't have any auto-immune issues and that I wasn't in any danger of my throat closing up.
The next few days felt like a nightmare. My hives and the swelling weren't going away, I continued to take benadryl around the clock, and I had a set of job interviews that week. Convinced that I was allergic to mold or dust or cleaning supplies, I did a lot of walking around the city, warding off panic attacks with constant movement, laying in the Art Institute gardens when I didn't know where to go, watching the clouds and tourists pass, trying to focus on breathing excercises and scratch scratch scratching at my ankles and arms where hives had nested, periodically assuring my parents that I was okay, but my throat was tight and I didn't know what to do. After a few days I went to urgent care and told them what was going on.
I never would have considered that I had anxiety, and I'm not sure why. In retrospect, all of my major episodes were around major life changes. I don't know if this is periodical, or something that I'll have to continously learn to manage. It's hard to judge the severity of this. I have nothing but my own experiences to go off of, and they seem pretty typical on the surface.
Most of the time, unhealthily, I thrive off of my anxiety. It motivates me to continue to produce, to work hard, get things done, that kind of bullshit- and I won't feel at peace until I complete everything, and even if I do, there always feels like there's something more I could be doing. Now with college over, the pressure to find a new apartment and a new job, like most recent graduates, is stronger than ever and my anxiety is attempting to fill that void.
Given my freetime, I have this idea that if I'm not writing fiction, I'm a failure. If I'm not editing my short stories, what am I doing? If I'm not writing a novel, who gives a shit about my writing? Part of me knows that it's unfair to put that much pressure on myself, but my anxiety disguises itself as a prophet whispering its stupid secrets to success. I know that if I were a friend of mine, I'd tell myself not to worry about it, that writing comes with persistence, drafting and time, that anxiety is inherited and not something to be ashamed about. But now that it's me, my reality has completely shifted. Since I've been prescribed anxiety medication, my "allergies" have gone away. I'm thankful for that, but it feels like I've decieved myself and I'm working on not being ashamed of my limitations.
I haven't told any of my friends what's been going on, just bits and parts. I'm not really sure how to or if it even matters, but I feel I need to appologize for blowing plans and becoming a little reclusive, and I think that's important. I also know A LOT of people, A LOT of my friends, who deal with extreme anxiety. I know it's not something that I should be ashamed about, I know it.