In my story, I have went through the five stages of anxiety. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Each stage holds it’s own level of importance and I have decided to dedicate a post to each individually over the next few weeks and months. Starting with, Denial.
At the age of fourteen, I remember walking into the doctor’s waiting room. This was to be the first of many visits. I was trembling with the cold but my body felt hot. I remember looking around at the other people waiting to see the doctor, most of which were children and thinking to myself, I do not want to be here. I have always been a germaphobe.
My symptoms had began showing in phases many years before this but more predominantly over a few months prior to this visit. I was leaving school early up to three times a week because I was feeling faint, nauseous or both. In class, it would come over me instantly like a wave and I knew in every instance that I was minutes away from fainting. After asking to be excused I walked to reception, with my vision blurred. This was becoming such a regular occurrence that I would feel like a nuisance to the class and even suspected at times that the teachers thought that it was all a facade to skip school.
Every day, I would return home exhausted. My energy levels were so low that I could sleep for days if I could have got away with it. On top of that, I was stressed and worried at all times, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I browsed through my mental catalogue scanning my symptoms and any possible causes. Of course, as a teenage girl, one of the most logical causes would have to be anemia, all of the symptoms matched and it was the far less serious possible outcome. It’s definitely just a lack of iron, it has to be anemia, I told myself.
After many frustrating talks with my mother and many more school days cut short, I finally agreed to this doctor’s visit. Having convinced myself that it was anemia, I was more open to the idea of facing the truth of what this might be. Back at the waiting room, the doctor finally called my name and I walked into his office, confident everything was finally going to be over after all this time. Some tablets and a few days rest and I would be fine, I thought, I never knew that it was actually just the beginning….
We ran many blood tests over the next coming months to find a cause, I was tested for almost everything that they can test your blood for. We explored every avenue, continuously tested my blood pressure and had many talks about possibilities and options but every single test came back clear. Option after option were all clear. As each minor test came back clear, the more worried I was becoming that it could actually be a major problem, I was clueless. During this time my symptoms never eased up, if anything they got worse. After a while, I began noticing that at every visit to my doctor and the more time that I spent with him, he always had this look on his face. It was almost as if he knew all along what was wrong with me and he was running these tests purely to humour my requests.
I won’t ever forget when the day finally came. “You have anxiety” my doctor said. It felt like he had just punched me right in the face. I only ever heard that word mentioned flippantly in the movies, it didn’t make sense. I didn’t even know what anxiety was but I knew for sure that it couldn’t be what I had, my symptoms were SO real and SO physical there was just no way that was the cause. How dare he suggest that it was. I could not and would not accept that. And then came the Anger….
**Check out the Five Stages of Anxiety: Anger, post coming soon**