Life @ U of T

Let’s Talk About that Time I was diagnosed with Anxiety

In December of 2019, I had panic attack that sent my blood pressure dangerously high and I was sent to the hospital. I was diagnosed with hypertension.

In December of 2021, I felt so stressed, I began to mimic symptoms of a heart attack. I walked into the ER, sat for 7 hours and I finally calmed down after I received anxiety medication.

I have hypertension and anxiety.

The Day of My Diagnosis

Person hunched over files and laptop
Person hunched over files and laptop

In December I had back to back finals and assessments due, ranging from online exams to 15 page papers. One day, while I was working on one of my papers my chest began to burn and I felt…off. When the burning got worse, I told my dad I was going to the ER just to be sure I’m okay.

I had just lost an uncle one month prior due to a heart attack — I was paranoid.

I sat in the ER working on my paper that was due the next day, and when my name was called and they saw how high my blood pressure was but I was presumably fine, I was sent for every scan relevant to my condition. Everything came back clear. The only thing that couldn’t be tested was how stressed I was.

The ER Doctor gave me my blood pressure medication – but my diastolic number wouldn’t come down – the number when your heart is at rest. I wasn’t calming down. She then gave me anxiety medication, which miraculously made me relax to the point where my blood pressure normalized.

I was told I have severe anxiety issues that is affecting my blood pressure. I was signed up for a support group out of the hospital and was told book therapy. Then I went home.

What happened after?

Person at a counselling session, imaged focused on assessment form being performed by counsellor.
Person at a counselling session

The next day, I booked all the appointments I needed to. Family doctor, internal medicine, therapy. I felt panicked and restless all day. I felt numb, and I couldn’t sleep. My blood pressure medication still wasn’t bringing my numbers down, and I didn’t know what to do.

My therapist told me I need to prioritize self-care once a day and monitor how it makes me feel over the course of a month.

My Anxiety Today

Flash card surrounded by pencils and pieces of paper that reads "Stress Management"
Stress Management Flash Card

It’s been just over a month and I now have a list of regular wellness tasks to incorporate into my day to help control and monitor my symptoms and stress levels.

  • Morning mediation and blood pressure check
  • Take relevant medications and eat breakfast
  • Workout if I feel restless or can’t concentrate
  • Nightly meditation and blood pressure check

Living with anxiety is hard, especially because of how tied-in it is with my hypertension. So, it’s important I do things that help my monitor both.

I wanted to share my story because important to talk about. That way there may be students who can feel a little less alone when it comes to their mental health and know it’ll be okay.

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