Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"New York I love you, but you're bringing me down"

View From the Top- Sunnyside 7, March 2011
My mom says I was a pretty healthy kid, getting sick maybe once or twice a year with nothing more serious than strep throat. And pretty typical mental health for any hormonal, female adolescent.

But ever since moving to New York in summer 2009 I have come down with just about everything. Bronchitis, a 3 month flu, food poisoning, stomach problems, a torn ligament. And I've developed fears I once thought were irrational: clausterphobia, heights, heavy things falling on my head, being mugged, morbid thoughts about whether dying on an underground or above-ground subway would be the worst way to go (still haven't decided on that one)...

And anxiety. Anxiety that is so disabling, it causes me to have "pseudo-seizures" AKA attacks that manifest as seizure symptoms. And as of Monday, anxiety that also leaves me completely unable to breathe forcing me to rush to the doctor.

I was never really a particular anxious person. Sure, I'd get pre-test jitters. But these "anxiety attacks" come usually when I'm completely calm and relaxed. A few of my more holistic professors that I've mentioned it to said its probably because "when relaxed, your body/mind finally has time to release all the built up anxiety that is usually too distracted, so it manifests itself more intensely by bubbling up".

I've tried breathing exercises, meditation, my recent foray into active physical exercise. But they all only help so much, apparently. I don't know what to do anymore. Is this all what growing up entails- developing awareness leading to health issues? It's gotten to a point where on some level, I'm starting to believe that maybe some higher power is trying to kick me out of the city; New York doesn't want me around.

I wanted to stick around the city at least another year to experience it as a non-student. But I don't know. Maybe my body is trying to tell me something that I can't quite grasp- or not ready to at least.

"Above ground train- 5 stories up"
How do you deal with anxiety?


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