Hello! Who are you?
I'm Debbie, I live in the Midwest and am retired. I work very part-time at our local RV dealer, in their store, doing light maintenance. We have 2 campers that are stationary, one in an RV park on a lot we own, and the other at home.
We also have a small hobby farm that includes 2 goats, 8 chickens, 1 duck, 2 cats, and a dog. I enjoy our animals, all pets, and our camping time. I also love to do some sewing.
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What is your struggle and when did it start?
My anxiety issues began back in the mid-1980s when I was in an accident where I was run off the road, and had a closed head injury.
I did not realize the damage at that time, but a few weeks later, is when I had some anxiety, and dizziness, and found out it compromised my attention span as well. It was bad enough that I got on disability.
How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?
In Feb of 2023, I had a stroke, and no doctor through all the tests I went through could confirm why I did. All of my tests were coming back normal, but I was going through a hard change in my life, having to cut down on our “barn kids” and could no longer keep our 2 rescued horses, which we had over 7 years.
My hubby also has health issues so he could not be as helpful. I have been through fear of having another, and realize also that I cannot do all I used to do.
My energy is less, and my anxiety is even more. I am on my 3rd anxiety pill now, and it seems to be working better. I not only have to adapt to that change, but it did cause some depression too.
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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?
Our daughter noticed changes in me like I wasn’t as active in keeping our house as clean as I used to, and I realized that at my job I was getting more drained, and I am only working 4-5 hours a week.
I came to know I had to work on myself, and my new med helps with the depression, and mostly the anxiety. I realized not to do so much at a time, but instead do so much in a day or at a time, and that has really helped.
What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?
My thought to anyone going through a health struggle is to realize you have to adapt, and if one doctor doesn’t understand your issues, go to another who does and helps you get going in the right direction.
Take your time, one step at a time. Do some things to distract yourself when you feel anxious. I watch some favorite movies, read, or do to a store or restaurant with my hubby now and then. Don’t push yourself.
There was a time when I couldn’t listen to meditation music, and probably still can’t. Rain music made me think I forgot to turn off the water somewhere (like I would at the horse water tank) or a pipe broke and there was flooding!
I tried the Star Trek enterprise engine sounds, and it started out good, and then I was waiting for the red alert sounds to start. LOL. I am still working on myself, and trying hard not to get down on the changes I have gone through. On the positive side, I did learn some coping techniques, and try to relax more.
Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?
I have talked with my hubby and kids, and a few friends, but some family members think what you have is contagious, so I stay away from them and know that is not so.
l did join one Facebook support group for stroke survivors, but don’t always follow it, cuz it might bring me down a little. I try to focus on more positive groups that I enjoy.
If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?
Don’t give up on yourself. Find things that gave you interest or find new things that interest you to keep you positive.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?
The best book I read was by the Anxiety sisters called The Anxiety Sisters' Survival Guide.
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