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How I deal with anxiety

How I deal with anxiety

Anxiety has been in my life as far back as I can remember. I can remember being 3-years-old worrying if my mom would come back to pick me up from pre-school.

Anxiety and cancer; jeez, now that’s a combination that you don’t want. I’m often asked, “You must not sweat the small stuff anymore!” Oh, how I wish that was true.  Here is what has changed: I don’t worry about dying anymore, and I don’t worry about hearing the words “you have cancer.”

Believe it or not, this was a CONSTANT worry for me. In fact, two months prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer, I was convinced I had ovarian cancer. Why would I think that? Because I read an article about someone who had it, so of course I had it too. I was feeling pains that didn’t exist and making myself physically ill because I could not wrap my mind around the fact that this was all in my head.

This started me on the road to seeing a psychiatrist, who diagnosed me with general anxiety disorder. Great, now I’m officially crazy! I was so against taking any sort of medication, I have anxiety, who doesn’t?

However, I knew I could not continue to live like this. I felt like I was crawling out of my skin, I cried at the drop of a hat, my heart was beating out of my chest, I couldn’t focus on work and then there was that whole “I think I have ovarian cancer” thing going on in my head.

So, I began the medicine. Probably one of the best decisions of my life and one I do not regret at all. I want to clarify this did not make the cancer suck any less; however, it made it a bit easier to deal with.

For some people, medicine might not be the answer, and I completely respect and understand that; for me, it was needed. Does a pill make everything better?  Absolutely not, but I think people don’t understand the chemical imbalance part of mental health issues. They think unless you’re on a street corner talking to yourself, then you don’t have “real” mental issues.

It’s often used in such a negative way and I think as a society we need to get away from that and treat it the way it deserves; with respect.

The combination of therapy (which I think is a key ingredient) and the proper medicine has made my life a lot better. I can breathe again, something that unless you have ever experienced is indescribable.

Also, this medicine has not changed who I am as a person, I still stress out over things, still get anxious, however it’s controllable. I was under this false impression like a lot of people that I was going to be walking around in some sort of daze because of the medicine.

This cannot be any further from the truth. Medicine clearly doesn’t take all of your problems away; problems will always be there, it’s just part of life. However, obtaining the right tools for dealing with these problems can possibly make an issue that might have seemed unbearable at one time, a little more bearable.

So, to go back to not sweating the small stuff, oh yeah, I totally still sweat the small stuff but the big stuff, not so much.

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  1. Shannon Homolka June 9, 2014 at 11:40 am · Reply

    Very well stated Jeannine. Thank you for sharing our story.

  2. Lynn Hutley

    Thanks so much for sharing, Jeannine. It is my hope that the more people talk about mental health, the less stigma it will carry with it.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I totally agree. After my kids were born, my anxiety went through the roof, and it wasn’t just worrying about them. I’d be sitting at work and for no reason have an anxiety attack. Or I’d be out shopping and have an attack in the middle of the store. It just kept getting worse. People kept telling me, “You must have something more going on. Deal with the problem. Deal with what is worrying you.” But that’s just it… There was nothing! It was just a chemical imbalance. After getting on a daily medication, I feel like myself again and I have my life back. And you are right, you still feel emotions, you still worry, you still feel sad. But the anxiety doesn’t force you to stay home for fear of having an anxiety attack in public. Medication can give you back control!

  4. Panic anxiety worry over what could happen is lots different than anxiety over what has actually happened that is out of ones control. That’s my situation.

  5. Anxiety should be a no.#1 killer! But unfortunately it is not, if it was considered more revelant in society, I believe there would’nt be so many ANGRY people. Tons of people go each day with small issues they worry about which it affects interaction with others on a day to day basis. Thanks for sharing such a precious story!!!

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About the Author

Jeannine Canino Bieda
Jeannine Canino Bieda

Jeannine Canino Bieda has worked in the Options industry for the last 14 years and cannot imagine doing anything else; she enjoys all the craziness, the good, the bad & the ugly! She is a breast cancer survivor. She is married to the love of her life and does not have any children but hopefully that will change one day. She is a proud Southsider but lives in Evanston now because it’s where her husband is from; she learned quickly, you can take the girl out of the Southside but you can’t take the Southside out of the girl! She is highly addicted to reality shows & gossip magazines and is not ashamed of it.