I’ve already spoken here about how being diagnosed with PoTS has affected my emotions, but I also want to talk about anxiety.
I’ve suffered from anxiety for a few years, I’ve had counselling for a year and been on medication for 6 months. And although all the support I have has helped, it never seemed enough. My symptoms always seemed way more severe than my feelings.
Now I’m not denying that I am a very anxious person, I always have been, but having a possible diagnosis of PoTS has made things seem so much more manageable.
I don’t feel like I’m going insane any more. When the only explanation for the endless sickness and fainting was severe anxiety I didn’t trust myself, my brain obviously wasn’t working right so I needed to listen to everyone else. I felt like I was being dragged in all different directions, knowing what I wanted but not trusting it, so trying to listen to the opinions of everyone else, and trying to please them.
It’s weird, because I’m no more in control of all the physical stuff now it’s called PoTS than when it was called anxiety. If anything I’m less in control because at least when it was anxiety I believed that it was going away, that I could work on it and it’d stop eventually.
But knowing it’s not my “fault” makes it so much easier to manage. Anxiety wasn’t my fault either, I know that, but when it was anxiety and it wasn’t going away it felt like I wasn’t trying hard enough. That if I just did five minutes more mindfulness, or upped my medication again, it might stop and I’d be “normal” again. And that is so demoralising, endlessly fighting against something that just won’t stop fighting back, making no progress.
I know I have a long battle ahead to control and learn to live with PoTS, but I know I can fight this, I will get through it. I have no started to reduce my SSRI dose (with the support of my doctors), and I am using my final few counselling sessions to discuss all this in a lot more depth, so I’m able to support myself.
So I guess what I’m saying is, although it’s the same symptoms I’ve been having for years, and although they’re still not going away, I’m not scared any more. I feel in control.