Skip to content

How I Discovered I Had Anxiety Issues

“Do you suffer from anxiety?”

The doctor asked me as he looked at me intently. I had gone to see him about the migraines I had been having.

He was the second doctor who had asked me this question.

At this point in my life, deep inside I knew I had been having some level of anxiety issues for the past 20 years, but I never outright talked about it to anyone, other than to my husband.

It became more noticeable about 8 years ago, when I suffered from an episode of depression, my very first.

The depression was induced after I underwent a round of migraine prevention treatment which included taking a mix of medications that were specifically meant to increase my serotonin levels, and another to prevent migraines or the severity of them. The drugs had stated that it had a potential side effect of causing depression, but we thought I wouldn’t be affected. About 10% of the population who had taken these medications reportedly experienced it, and unfortunately, I was one of them.

After 4 weeks of being on these medications, I felt it, the anxiety, the weariness, the insomnia, the loss of motivation, and all interest in the things that I enjoyed before. Even my period stopped, although my cycles had always been regular before. Long story short, I stopped all medications and eventually, I was myself again in a few weeks.

I had learned my lesson from that experience and made up my mind not to take any new drugs without prior research of my own.

But I did wonder if I had a higher predisposition to have depression compared to others, due to my undiagnosed anxiety, or maybe how my brain was wired that caused the anxiety in the first place.

When these doctors asked me the same question, the thought crossed my mind again.

Do I have anxiety?

I looked back in time in the past decade of my life for some reflection to answer this question.

When I was 28, I had to take a business trip to Korea, which required a 6-hour flight at midnight. Never had I ever flown that far before nor had I ever been that far from home.

Before I left I researched the flight history of Korean Airways, how many aircraft accidents it had, and its safety records.

When I was trying to conceive my second child, I had major fears due to news of pregnancy abnormalities during the Zika virus incidents in Brazil and its link to causing microcephaly in babies. The doctor had to convince me that I had a higher chance of getting into a car accident than to have a baby affected by Zika in our part of the world.

Last year when my kids, my husband, and I got COVID-19, I read up on all the potential long-term effects of covid that I could online and periodically checked on my kids for any symptoms presenting. I was also feeling guilty at myself for somehow allowing my kids to get infected due to me being at work. I only cooled off on checking in on them after months had passed, and they had presented no long-term symptoms.

Not to mention that whenever my kids got a fever when they were younger, my mind would usually assume the worst.

“Could it be meningitis?” I thought to myself and checked them for the purplish pin-sized rashes. I even questioned their doctors on whether this may be a potential cause for their fevers.

So do I have anxiety?

It would be a yes, in my opinion.

It may not be severe, at least I don’t think it was, but I do have some degree of anxiety.

But I had my ways of functioning through it, and I did, from my teenage years up to now.

Over time, I learned how to ease off these ‘episodes’ and manage myself.

Acknowledging this helps me deal with it, and I believe I have made progress in reducing the anxieties I kept inside.

The occasional feelings of the blues still hit me, but it was nowhere near depression, maybe, it was normal and expected to some degree for any typical adult.

Still, if I had underlying anxiety, maybe it could be the reason I reacted badly to the medications I had been on time 8 years ago, being one of those who eventually developed side effects.

I’m also writing this to bring awareness to a somewhat taboo subject in Asia.
As a culture in Asia, we do not like talking about mental health openly, due to the impression that it is a weakness, sometimes almost akin to a disability.

But I would argue that expressing about it openly helps prevent more depression in others, knowing they are not alone and that there are ways to manage it.

We are allowed to have moments of the blues, sadness, and even anxiety, but managed well with open discussion and proactive ways to overcome them. Sometimes it may even be traits of overthinkers, creative people, maybe even philosophers.

We live in a world with many problems and issues, those of which I do ponder on, especially in my quietness. So some sadness can be intertwined with the joys we have in life.

What do you think?

Anxiety comes in many forms, sometimes even in the form of being ‘normal’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *