When Nothing Seems to Help Your Anxiety


I sat in a chair across from my psychiatrist, desperate for answers. I needed guidance. I needed someone to tell me what to do next.

The panic has gotten worse. It’s every day now, sometimes multiple times a day. I wake up anxious and I got to bed anxious. I feel like I am always on the verge of a panic attack — waiting to get caught in the fight-flight-freeze cycle. My chest is always tight. I feel like I haven’t taken a deep breath in weeks.

I’m doing all the right things. I’m going to therapy. I’m using my coping skills. I’m exercising. I’m meditating. I’m taking supplements. Why am I still like this? Why is nothing working? I feel like I’m barely surviving.

I turn toward my psychiatrist, and I share all of this with her. I don’t know if I realized until I started talking that I feel like this is still all my fault. I’ve tried medicine after medicine after medicine. My current psychiatrist is amazing and supportive, but that does not take away from the collective shame from years of doctors not taking my pain seriously.

After I finished sharing my chaos with her, she looked at me and said, “It’s not your fault these medications aren’t working. Every [physical human] body is different. You have a chronic physical illness that makes you extra sensitive to medications. We also have to take into account your complex trauma. Let’s see what we can try next to get the panic switch to turn off. How do you feel about that?”

I think I sat there in shock. I cannot count the amount of times I have felt or said aloud, “I’m doing all the things. Why is this still happening?” I have been trying to treat and heal my anxiety for about four years. I know there are others whose journeys are longer.

We have enough stigma, doctors and people who just do not get it — placing shame on those struggling by implying they aren’t trying hard enough. We do not need this from ourselves.

It was really powerful to hear someone say that my panic is not my fault. The problem has nothing to do with me not trying hard enough. Bodies, brains, stories, medicine and trauma are just complex. Please hear me say to anyone still trying to find the right medication, dealing with weird side effects or who given up on medicine entirely: It’s not your fault it is not working. Your panic and anxiety are not your fault either.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty image via Any_Li


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Anxiety

9 Bad Habits of People With Anxiety

When anxiety is part of your day-to-day life, it’s not surprising that it has the power to influence your day-to-day habits. And while some of these habits might be coping mechanisms, not all coping mechanisms are created equal. For example, scrolling on Facebook for a few hours to avoid what’s making you feel anxious might [...]
Sick woman suffering from head ache at home in the living room

The 5 Physical Symptoms of Anxiety I Experience

Most people don’t realize how many physical symptoms of anxiety there are. Anxiety is all in the mind, right? Wrong. Anxiety can affect your whole body. Here are five physical symptoms of anxiety I experience: 1. Exhaustion. Feeling tired is the body’s natural reaction to any kind of stress. Along with the psychological fatigue, the [...]
16 'Harmless' Comments That Actually Hurt Kids With Anxiety

16 'Harmless' Comments That Actually Hurt Kids With Anxiety

The things we hear in childhood have an undeniable impact on our lives as adults. For kids who struggled with anxiety growing up, this may be especially true — particularly when it comes to the seemingly “harmless” comments people can say to anxious kids. Maybe growing up with anxiety made it hard for you to participate in [...]
woman in pool

The Top 10 Things That Trigger My Anxiety

I am asked a lot about what causes me anxiety. It is honestly tough for me to pinpoint, as I am sure it is with anyone who struggles with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or any other anxiety disorder. Not to mention, this list seems to be ever-changing. What caused me anxiety a year ago is [...]