I wanted to write an update to let many of you know how I am doing.
When I wrote my first post, that was a little less than two weeks ago and was the absolute lowest I'd been during this entire period and I can honestly say, it was the worst I'd ever felt in my life emotionally. After I posted my story, I spent the rest of the morning going absolutely nuts. My mom left for work and I spent the morning doing a yoga session, but not even that was working. I sat on the couch with a thousand thoughts a minute running, I called the mental health clinic in the town where I'm going to school and broke down with the therapist on the phone as I tried to schedule an appointment. Through the whole morning these negative thoughts kept speaking in my head telling me I deserved this and that I wouldn't get better.
I put on my running shoes before noon and went running and I ran hard. I got to a playground and started work out and positive thoughts were coming. Some families started arriving, so I left and went running through a parking lot to get to a store to purchase more sleeping pills. Out of nowhere, my face exploded in tears and I fell to my knees bawling. I couldn't stop crying, I didn't even mean to, but it all just came pouring out. When I stopped, I felt like absolute garbage and felt absolutely in despair.
I met with my sister who was volunteering at our church's thrift store and she suggested I make an appointment with our pastor. I did and met with her the next day. Speaking to her made me feel so much better, our session was only 45 minutes but she hit every nail on the head and revealed a lot of things to me that may explain why I'm feeling the way I do now. There's been a lot of unprocessed trauma in my life. The last five years I've been living fast and constantly on the move (I lived in three countries and moved several times in those places) and never processed what I was going through during that time.
That meeting was on Friday. Spending time with my close friends who were up visiting for the holidays made me feel normal for the first time in what felt like forever. I've made a regular routine of doing Yoga for 15-30 minutes each morning and spending those sessions praying. I've been a weight lifter for a couple years now, but incorporating running when I feel my anxiety building has helped a lot. I was prescribed Ativan when I first arrived home and took half a tab in the morning and before sleep, but I stopped taking it to sleep 9 days ago. I have been having nightmares for the first couple hours of sleep (I will wake up around midnight from them after falling asleep), but I've found playing positive sounds meditation music keeps them away and allows my thoughts to slow down.
In the last 9 days, I have still gotten panicked or anxious once or twice a day, but I've been able to breathe those events out and they don't last nearly as long and are no where near as vicious. I've whittled the Ativan down to a quarter of a tab and took one New Years Eve as we were in San Francisco that night meeting up with friends and I could feel my chest starting to work up knowing we were going to be at a party (this is very unlike me, I've always been super extroverted and loved going to events), but that quarter of a tab kept me at bay and I had a great time. We went to a football game the following day and all morning I felt out of my head and anxious, especially the first hour of the game, I couldn't relax and just enjoy the moment, but eventually those feelings subsided.
(TL;DR) If what I wrote was too long, just read this:
I am 1000% better than I was two weeks ago. I took a very pro-active approach to whatever is happening in me. I still plan on attending therapy when I return to where I live and seeing a doctor about medication on her recommendation, but right now I feel like this is something I can manage unmedicated. I'm still getting anxiety/panic once or twice a day, but they are no where near as bad as before. Getting to sleep without sleep aid inducing it is still difficult and I'm struggling with nightmares, but I'm recording the nightmares that are happening repeatedly and hope to share with a therapist to see if it's anything subconscious trying to speak.
I always thought that granola munching, hippy, tea drinking, yoga garbage was lame, but here I am doing morning yoga followed up with green or spiced tea and relaxing. Some good has occurred from this: I'm more aware of my body, of my relationships with friends and family, learning to communicate my emotions better, and learning about my limits and vulnerabilities. I still have another two weeks here before I fly back for school, so I will write another update then because there is going to be a lot of stress and traveling in these two weeks and it will be a test to see how far I've come.
Thank you all for your replies and messages of hope, and thank you for this community for being such a resource in guiding me through what has been the worst and hardest thing I've ever experienced mentally in my life.