My Anxiety Story: Part 3 - Desperation & Setting Boundaries
Let me start off by saying that I am not against alternative or holistic therapies by any means.
But this experience was not ideal.
Just to recap from Part 2 of my anxiety story, I was DESPERATE to get rid of the anxiety. I had started on one medication, and my doctor, unfortunately, did not appropriately set up my expectations by letting me know that things might get worse before they get better.
I felt worse during that first week of medication than I did when my anxiety first started. I felt like I was going crazy. Intrusive thoughts invaded my consciousness, and I had to constantly coach myself and repeat affirmations on a loop.
I decided to stop the medication because I was terrified of the way I was feeling.
A few people had suggested that I might have a thyroid issue or deficiency that wouldn’t necessarily appear on a blood test, so I looked into functional medicine and naturopathy in my area.
Options were limited, but I did find a provider with a medical background that offered ZYTO biocommunication scans. After doing research, I learned that the purpose of the ZYTO software is to read the body’s galvanic skin response to determine environmental, chemical, or food stressors and then offer products, supplements, etc. to balance those stressors. The provider appeared to be highly rated and reviewed, so I made an appointment.
This is what I was expecting – an hour to an hour and a half session with the bioscanner that would let me know if I had a food intolerance or vitamin deficiency and a plan to make diet and lifestyle changes that would support my body through and maybe even alleviate some of the anxiety.
I was at her house for three hours and had what I would classify as a violent anxiety attack while I was there.
But let’s start at the beginning. I showed up to her house after a particularly shaky shift at my part-time job; I had just abruptly quit an anti-anxiety medication, and I still wasn’t eating properly at this point and had little food in my body that day.
She had me sit in a chair in her home office with my hand placed on the scanner, which looked like a funky computer mouse with a groove for each finger.
She explained a little of the process – that the scanner would read my body’s signals and look for things that might be awry.
One of the first things she said to me after starting the scanning process was, “I’m getting some resentment and loneliness.”
She asked me if my husband is gone a lot. She asked me about my relationship with my mother. She played therapist while telling me something was up with my thyroid. Even though I was in her home, I felt like she was invading my personal space. I felt trapped again, like how I felt at that dinner weeks before, but the feeling was much more intense.
As I sat, the anxiety intensified. I felt lost in my brain. In that moment I seriously considered that maybe I needed to be in a mental institution, and it was terrifying.
I forgot that I was the client. That I was the one paying her, and I could leave anytime I wanted to. I could stop it whenever I wanted to, but I am so accustomed to submitting to authority and finishing the process – respecting the other person’s time – that I continued to sit in misery.
This practitioner was not unkind, and I think she had the best intentions. Noticing that I was not in a good place, she interrupted the process to bring me water and supplements. She did some “energy clearing” on my throat, but the anxiety continued to intensify.
My whole body shook.
She made me a smoothie and took me out in her back yard to get some fresh air and ground my feet on the earth.
She burned sage and waved it around me as I sat on a lawn chair in the middle of her yard hyperventilating, crying, shaking.. my hands and my upper lip went numb.
She brought me my phone, so I could call my husband. He wanted to come get me, but I didn’t want to leave my car there, and I promised I would leave soon.
But she hadn’t told me my scan was done yet, so I stayed?
I settled down enough to go back in the house and do MORE scanning at her kitchen table. She said the scanner told her I was craving chocolate (???), so she gave me chocolate.
I finally said, “I think I would like to go soon.” To which she replied, “Of course, we’re done whenever you say we are!” That would have been nice to know – I had been waiting for her to tell me the scan was “complete.”
I gave her $120 and left with absolutely no information of value.
That night I took my “emergency” pill - an antihistamine that the doctor gave me to take in the event of an anxiety attack that would take the edge off and make me sleepy.
I didn’t sleep.
I didn’t sleep for three nights.
Then I started having chest pains.
After another doctor’s visit, an EKG, two new medications (one for anxiety, one for sleep), and another trip to the counselor I finally started to level off and feel stable.
Half the battle with anxiety for me was just coming to grips with anxiety – understanding what it was. The hardest part for me in those early stages was constantly being in turmoil over my body – is what I’m feeling anxiety? Is it a side effect of medication? Or is there something actually wrong?
It was really, really hard.
Thankfully, the new medication proved much more effective for me, and it provided the boost I needed so I could truly start taking steps to help myself.
A big part of my healing process has been learning to act in alignment with my core values and identifying and stepping away from the people, roles, and situations that do not serve me.
Every professional bone in my body shrieks at the idea of not following through with something, but I can see now that years of habitual people-pleasing was one of the underlying causes of my anxiety.
More on that later, but for now, I leave you with this…
Friends, it is okay to quit something if it does not feel right.
It is okay to say, “No, I’m done.”
It is okay to leave.
It is okay to cancel.
It is okay to have boundaries.