The Allergy of Worry and How to Cure Anxiety

I broke out in hives yesterday.

I’m not allergic to anything. Shrimps. Peanuts. Bees. Fruits. None of the above. It was easy to proceed with MIT scans and vaccinations knowing I wasn’t going to be rolling on the floor wheezing and turning into a nice sheen of rigor mortis blue.

Yesterday however was the exception.

Once a month I descend into a hole of no return. Some call it depression. Others call it a slump. I discovered it was Post Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) . It’s a more extreme form of PMS that affects 3-5% of women. During this time where my body undergoes wonderful horrible chemical changes during the luteal phase releasing high levels of hormones such as cortisol (stress), serotonin (anger and fatigue), aldosterone (high level of anxiety) and glucocorticoids (depression) . It’s a time where my brain latches its tenacious roots onto any small unfulfilling aspects of my life and magnifies them to supernova proportions. The results?

  • intense feelings of unhappiness
  • being unable to see a positive future
  • feelings of worthlessness – feeling useless at everything
  • increased sensitivity to rejection or criticism
  • feeling suddenly sad or tearful
  • crying a lot for no particular reason
  • marked anxiety or tension – a feeling of being keyed up or on edge
  • persistent and marked anger, irritability or an increase in conflicts with other people
  • losing interest in usual activities (eg work, school, friends, hobbies)
  • difficulty concentrating
  • feeling tired all the time
  • feelings of being overwhelmed or out of control.

From PMS or PMDD? from Netdoctor

The timing couldn’t get any better.

I had just quit my job last week and was going to lay the foundation this week in moving my stuff from my apartment, decide what to do with my money in the bank, do the termination procedure in my college and prepare for a trip next week.

Instead my body decides it’s the best time to betray me by pumping me with lots of crying hormones. There is nothing worse than a hormonal reaction to kill productivity.

What am I supposed to do? I can’t push myself because I have no drive. Any attempt at planning drives me into overwhelmed mode. And one major issue that’s just been eating voraciously at my self-esteem is MONEY.

Let me explain how this drove me to a nervous breakdown last night.

This past year I have worked two jobs to save up for the projected months ahead of unemployment. My other part time jobs have paid for my travel to Burma and other surprise hefty expenses like getting a new passport, visa fees, shipping my stuff and migration application.

Due to these unexpected expenses I wasn’t able to hit my target of saving enough for a year. Instead it is just good enough for six months. Lesson: become a better financial planner. Math was never my strongest suit.

So I’m looking at the figures in my expenditure report and my heart is just dropping 60 miles per second to the bottom due to the following:

  • I have some travel plans coming up and ticket prices have skyrocketed. I had held off buying tickets because I wanted to make sure I had my new passport and visas. These would be the biggest dent in my budget.
  • Part of the reason I quit was to pursue my dream of starting my freelance writing business full time. If I continued working in my stressful job, I wouldn’t have enough time to do it. It wouldn’t be until a few months later I’d break even (assuming I’d start earning) so I hope I still have enough money. Hopefully, I earn enough soon to support basic living expenses.
  • Moving my money from my bank in China to the Philippines. Since I would be traveling I need easy to access to my money so I need to get it out of China. I don’t want to overwhelm you but let’s just say my obsessive compulsions latched onto numerous plans to transfer money involving conversion rates, wire transfer handling fees between US, China and the Philippines, bank drafts, travelers cheques and a covert operation of just smuggling my cash in packets of pure RMB across the border and be done with it.

All these have resulted in my brain going to overthinking mode and exploding into a nervous breakdown. Questions kept repeating like, Why was I doing this? Why did I ever quit? How was I ever going to manage all this?

More deranged thoughts spiraled me to bottom depths of despair, insecurity and depression that would make Elizabeth Wurtzel and anybody who has had the chance to sit on a therapy couch to stand up and applaud. And these are just hormones talking.

And this is when I broke out in hives.

It was like a scene that come out of a magic realism novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Isabel Allende. As soon as major anxiety set in, red pink spots started appearing and I was itching and hopping like mad.

So if anybody asked what I’m allergic to, I’ll say I’m allergic to worry.

To any woman undergoing the same thing, take a deep breath and give yourself a hug. It’s perfectly normal and it’ll be gone in a week. Some things I’ve decided to do this week in order to preserve my sanity:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. We cannot always control events out of our realm. It’s okay to sit back and go with the flow.
  • Treat myself. Watch comedies.
  • Get a massage
  • Don’t try to do so much. Guess I’ll leave my bank account alone for now. Do minimal termination procedure for my college. Pack for the next trip. Sort through clothes I don’t need. There’s nothing much I can do in this extreme state unless I want to undergo another nervous breakdown.
  • Exercise more
  • Practice meditation

In the meantime, I’ll also be putting thoughts of financial abundance to the universe.

The move continues. 🙂

Photo by stylefunda

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4 thoughts on “The Allergy of Worry and How to Cure Anxiety

  1. Sara says:

    I understand your fear and anxiety about this HUGE life change. It’s totally normal to feel that way. I will tell you that as a person with an allergic disease, it is totally possible to break out in hives from stress, and not in a nervous “I’m going to give a speech” way, like the constant worry gets to you and your body just reacts. I’ve been there. I wish you tons of strength and peace during this change. You can do it!

  2. Kate says:

    Thanks a lot Sara! This is much needed encouragement. What’s your allergic disease? Speaking of projecting financial abundance to the universe, we just got paid! I’ll continue to do more mental projections.

  3. maftravelgraphy says:

    Hi Kate,
    I think we go through all these kind of emotions in our life. I have experienced those you’ve mentioned in bullet form and it’s not really easy. While going through those I keep saying to myself that these too will come to pass and I tried my best to look for the message and lessons it brought me. I hope you’ll be okay. Big hug to you. Take care!

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