How to cope with our anxiety . . . and dry eyes.
I am posting this for all of you out there who might be wondering if there might be a connection between our anxiety and our dry eyes. I have been asking many people here on DEZ about this relationship, and have received lots of valuable advice. Here is a summary of how I have gotten to the realization that my anxiety contributes to my dry eyes.
When I first realized that Lasik had given me dry eyes and vision problems, I was at my most anxious state. I didn't sleep much and I woke up with attacks of anxiety. My eyes at this point were supper dry. At the suggestion of some friends, I went on 0.5 mg of Ativan for a week. I noticed that it certainly did not dry out my eyes. If anything it made my eyes less dry!! I started to wonder if anxiety made my dry eyes worse. I think I can honestly say, absolutely YES! The times when I was most anxious, my eyes were at their driest.
I am feeling a bit better now, continuing to come to terms with the lasik experience, appreciating what I have, and as a result I feel less anxious and my eyes are less dry. I am eating better and I will now have some wine or beer. It was having a little bit too much wine the other day that really brought home the anxiety and dry eye connection. When I was in that 'nice' relaxed state, my eyes felt great. That night I woke up several times with moist eyes! Yes, I did wake up with a headache, but it was reassuring to be able to reaffirm that my dry eyes were tied into the degree of my anxiety.
So what to do with this realization . . . Well I give myself little messages to help myself through all of this. I repeat these messages often through the day. At the same time I practice very informal relaxation exercises. I tighten and relax my muscles. This is a good way for me to notice how much tension I may be holding onto, even when I think I am relaxed. When I feel the tension in my legs, stomach, neck, back, arms and face, I can consciously relax these areas by making them 'feel soft', or 'sink into the bed'.
Here are some of the messages that I give myself to help with the anxiety:
"There are people out there who have dry eye way worse than you."
"You can have an affect on this situation by letting go of the anxiety."
"Remember how good you felt when you were ______________."
"Things are already getting better for you."
"Try to enjoy the moment that you are in right now. Forget about tomorrow and focus on how good you can feel right now!"
"There will be other treatments for me to try down the road."
"You are not responsible for being in this situation. Whatever decision you made, were made with the best information you had available at the time. Don't keep beating yourself up over the decision."
"You are loved."
. . . there are probably other messages that I give myself, and some messages are more effective at different times. This kind of self talk, I think is critical to overcoming the gripping power of anxiety. You probably have some of your own that you can add. This is my list and you will find your list.
I encourage everyone to keep asking . . . sometimes what works for us is a collection of ideas from various sources. . . and sometimes we need to hear the same ideas again and again.
Feel free to add your personal coping messages.
I send a big thank you to all of my friends on DEZ who have opened up and shared their experiences and given their advice.
bella_girl this was very helpful and I am going to try this out thank you so much for posting this for all of us to see. If theres anything I need most right now, it's help with anxiety. Thank you!!
Bella, I'm so glad your eyes and anxiety are better! The connection is good to know about. I think anxiety makes any condition worse, and for those with dry eye it makes sense that there would be a feedback loop of both exacerbating the other. Thanks for sharing.
Every day when I log into this forum I read something reassuring and that helps boost my confidence. Nice post.