Stress is normal for most people in their day to day lives and it's fairly common. For some, like myself, the stress at times can be unbearable. When the stress reaches a certain point, we have panic attacks. Sometimes we have panic attacks for no reason at all.
For me they typically come when my life seems to be perfectly on track. So a lot of people that are close to me do not understand how I can become debilitated by them, when my life seems to be going great. In fact, I find myself questioning the same thing.
At this moment, I am on a medical leave from my job. I have been on Paxil for a little over 2 years. Although the anxiety was under control, I was tired of the side effects. I have gained over 25 pounds while being on this medication and I felt like I was just floating through life. I didn't have that emotion, I felt as though I had to force myself to smile. I started failing classes while on this medication which is not like me at all. I wanted to feel human again. I wanted to feel like an awesome Mom that had the energy to run around with her children. I wanted to feel like myself again. So in February, I began a very slow taper (my Dr. said I couldn't have done it any better). Yes, there were some side effects. I was a little more emotional, some of the anxiety returned, but I also started feeling human again. I began to laugh and it was real. I could cry and I had so much more energy. I would come home from work and run around with my kids again and in one weeks time I turned an F into an A and passed my college course.
I was feeling great then I get a call at work for the promotion that I applied for and they want to interview me. For the next week, I was super anxious. I begin having panic attacks again, but I managed to keep them under control. I go through my interview and a few days later I find out that I didn't get the job. The office already had someone in-store in mind which makes sense because if the opportunity arose in my store, I would get it because I know our clientele. I cried at work, yep totally cried at work. Of course, everyone starts asking me "what's wrong?" and this is so embarrassing.
When my friend continues to ask, I tell her. We have had some financial stress lately and I was hoping to get the position to ease it up a bit. We are able to pay our bills on time, but the budget is tight. Also my husband wants to start traveling again for work, and when we travels it is so much more on me. I have to take the kids to daycare, pick them up from daycare and find other family members to pick them up on the days where I work late while working 40 hours a week. I have been trying to get transferred to a location closer to home, but my manager says "You have not been here for a year so I cannot allow that, but you are qualified for a promotion so you can apply at any store in my district." Here's the catch: If I get promoted, I have to stay in that store for another year before I can move to another store and I had to find that out on my own. My son starts kindergarten in a few months and I have to be able to take him to school or the bus-stop and still make it to work on time and the location that I currently work at makes that impossible because it is a 20 minute drive if there is no traffic.
I have been having a hard time differentiating whether or not coming off of Paxil opened my eyes and maybe I am in a career that I just do not want to be in or if it is the anxiety speaking. To be honest, I miss being a stay-at-home Mom. I went back to work because I chose to. At the time, I didn't have to. My husband made enough money to cover us financially. I am paid bi-weekly and half, yes half, of my income pays daycare. I get paid bi-weekly so I basically get one paycheck a month after daycare. I find myself wondering if that is really worth the stress of the job. I work in banking so it's a numbers game. Sales, sales, sales! I am good at sales, but in can be very stressful. I have a lot of questions for myself and I don't know the answers.
I have been to the doctor and she has put me on another medication that she says has less side effects and I am waiting for it to kick in. I am feeling a little bit better and I can finally eat again which is good. I just feel lost, like no one understands me and what I am going through. I've never been a person with confidence, at all. I look at myself with disgust all the time. I try not to, but I do.
So I am on medical leave for a month while the medication kicks in. The doctor is also running some tests to make sure that my anxiety and panic is not caused by something else. I am not driving because I am scared to have a panic attack and I do not like driving when I first start trying new medication. I do not want to give up on driving because I didn't drive for 8 years and began driving again 1 year ago and love the freedom of it. That was a huge accomplishment for me. I know that I can beat this, but I have a lot of unanswered questions regarding my career path and other stress factors in my life. I hope that as I adjust to the new medication and have less anxiety that the answers will come to me.