If I hadn't said so, you wouldn't know I'm having anxiety

As I write this, I am battling an anxiety attack.

You wouldn't know it, looking at me.

You wouldn't know unless I told you so.

That's part of the problem. I can't always say so.

Not at work, for fear of unconscious biases or people who just don't understand.

Not always to my husband, though I am trying to be better about it. I worry about adding to his stress when we both are pretty stressed with medical bills and credit card bills because of the medical bills and jobs that don't pay enough and student loan payments that are perpetually on hold.

Not to my toddler, because she is too little, and I need to pretend to be whole for her. At least, I think I need to be. When she is older, she can see where Mommy struggles, when Mommy's sick, in an age appropriate way.  I'll figure out that when we get there.

It started a few hours ago with chest heaviness, out of nowhere. I was putting away the laundry, when I felt like I couldn't breathe though I obviously still could. I stopped, rested, hoping some rest would make it go away. It wasn't that bad yet--not like the ones that hit hard when we tried increasing my Effexor or my Lexapro. Or when I wasn't on meds at all. Maybe it would go away.  My daughter asked for food--it was dinner time. I couldn't think of dinner. I wasn't hungry. God. At least I wasn't irritable, like I am sometimes with anxiety. It's just irrational irritability, you know?

But I fucking made dinner anyway. I need to make myself eat, show her healthy eating habits, have dinner together. I had a little bit of wine. Maybe I should have had Ativan instead, but I knew wine would stimulate my appetite a little bit and maybe reduce the anxiety. I made french toast and steamed broccoli. We ate. I asked her how today went, and she babbled back. I pretended to be normal.

It was time for a bath. I put her in the tub with some tempera paint so she could paint for a while, first, to kill time. If she's in one place and happily playing by herself, it would give me more time to settle down this darn anxiety, I thought. I played a game of cats battling it out, on my iPad. That would help, right? Then I gave her a bath and took her out.

She decided she wanted to sit in the stroller and talk to herself in the mirror. I let her, and sat in my chair with the dog meanwhile. Maybe that would give me a chance to get rid of this darn anxiety. I don't know. I posted on Facebook  a couple of times, interacted with some people. You wouldn't know I had anxiety from the posts, cheerful ones about my toddler and about President Obama's visit and such. I don't want to burden people with my burdens. I was kind of joking about the parental anxiety of letting her play by herself for a while instead of having to be right there, but that's about the limit of what I shared.

You wouldn't know I had anxiety in this post if I wasn't talking about it. I could have written about something else. I have a couple other posts in mind, but I just couldn't focus on it long enough thanks to the anxiety.

And because of the crippling self doubt that comes with such anxiety, I can't quite figure out if it's me, or if it's my new meds, or if it's just because of the medication changes, or if it's just temporary or is it not working or... does this mean I need to taper up faster? Slower? I don't know. But I am thinking about this and about 100 other things (only 100? Maybe more?) .

And now, because the anxiety has not gone away yet, though it was mercifully low-level enough, I am going to pretend to be whole and together and read books to my little one and put her to sleep, like it's any other night.

And if I hadn't said so, you wouldn't know.

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