In my 1st post, I mentioned that I had panic and anxiety disorder. I wanted to talk more about it because one of my goals after being officially diagnosed by a psychiatrist (Spring of 2015) was to help spread awareness about mental illnesses and help end the stigma that surrounds them. I’ll probably go more in depth about my disorder sometime in the future though. Where this post will take me, I don’t know. All I know is that I have good days and bad days and today just happens to be one of those bad days.
It is December 23, meaning technically I’m supposed to be excited, happy, and eagerly waiting for Christmas to get here, yet I’m not. I’m in tears. I used to never understand those articles that talk about “Surviving the Holiday Dinners”, but I do now. Being a college student, a number of things are usually said to you when you go home for break. These usually include things like “How’s college going?”, “Do you have a boyfriend yet?”, and the dreaded “Wow, you gained weight!” usually followed by the “I meant it as a compliment.” I can usually tell when people mean it as a compliment especially since in high school I was just naturally super skinny. But coming from a culture with older relatives that openly talk and joke about your weight with everyone around, it can be difficult since I was raised in the US, where weight is normally a sensitive topic.
You might be wondering, why am I going on and on about this issue or it may already be blatantly obvious. Well, for starters I was put on medications to control my panic disorder. Majority of these medications have weight gain as a side effect and I just happen to be one of those people that gets this side effect. Normally, comments about weight don’t bother me, but it is hard to not be bothered when you’ve been told, “Oh why did you gain weight? I liked it when you were skinnier in high school!” and other similar comments from people that you actually care about, especially since most likely they’re telling me this as I’m eating a bunch of food at a Filipino potluck party. It is hard to hear people talk about your weight when there isn’t a lot you can do about it when you’re on certain medications. Yes, you can eat healthy. Yes, you can exercise. Both of which I am doing. But this only gives you some control, not full control of how your metabolism responds while on the medication.
Another thing is talking about college in general, and how close to graduation I am. It is hard to truly enjoy talking about this subject when I have had panic attacks in many of my classes and am scared to death of the actual dreaded graduation ceremony because I might have a panic attack/pass out/vomit/run out, etc. due to my disorder. While you may think I’m exaggerating, I’ve had to go to the ER after one of my classes on campus and was wheeled away on a stretcher onto the ambulance with people watching, the day before my birthday. Yes, it was petrifying.
Basically, what I want people to take away from this post is, you don’t know what is going on inside a person’s head and their personal life unless you actually are them, so be careful what you say. If you are someone who’s reading this that suffers from panic disorder and/or have had weight gain, fear, and other things bothering you, do NOT give up. Living with panic disorder doesn’t mean you’re weak or full of fear. LIVING WITH PANIC DISORDER TAKES COURAGE AND DON’T EVER FORGET THAT.