This topic has always been something I want to air our, but at times I think it's better to keep to myself. No one else needs to take any of my worries upon their shoulders, and I certainly do not want an ounce of pity.I write about this because I know so many of my loved ones deal with the same burdens in life. Maybe you're here randomly but you needed to hear this message...well I'm talking to YOU.
If this hits home and brings peace to one person, then I feel like it has served my purpose here in my little area of the "interwebs."
Deep breath...Anxiety. Anxiety has been in my life for far too long. It's part of who I am, but it in no way defines me.
It started back when I was young, around 3 or 4. Now tell me what in the world does a little person that young have to be anxious about?
Who knows. This anxiety manifested as tantrums and tummy aches. Every morning I was spoon fed a tablespoon of yogurt with a hidden zantac pill for my tummy's woes.
I have vivid memories from when I was young, as in too young to care, about what people thought of me. I would rationalize an idea or decision by if it made me look too young, awkward or silly.
In social circumstances I was always around the adults and never wanted to entertain childish playtime because I cared that I would be looked at as a child....whoa put on the brakes...I WAS a child.
Around age ten I began to have panic attacks. I remember my first attack I was at Sky Ranch camp. My second was in a restaurant on Valentines day, third at summer camp, and fourth on a family car trip.
The only way to describe these attacks is simply, they were an out of body experience. Each time, I felt like I was outside of my body, looking down at me. I was numb, tingly and short of breath each time. There was no talking myself out of them and they were debilitating.
High school brought hormones, fitting in, and stupid relationships. I was in a relationship that everyone knew was no good, but of course I just had to figure it out for myself. I was hurt many of times, and discovered I have a memory that suppressed a lot of the hurt.
For example, I do not remember a lot of the people I went to high school with.
My friend will ask me if I remember "so and so" and 9 times out of 10 it's a no.
I don't remember what my ex looks like or what his voice sounds like...pretty awesome right?
And yes we have no photo evidence of him as well.
I was terrified about leaving for college (only 20 minutes away) and having to meet new friends. I have had the same best friend since second grade and I frankly didn't feel like I needed anyone else. The down side was she would be going to school three hours away. Yikes!
These are when the stomach issues returned. I can only describe it as "acidy" my college roommates know exactly what I mean when I say this. I was the "old lady" who constantly carried around Zantac and a roll of Tums...it could be worse!
During the last two years of college and the months after graduation a lot of things in life changed.
Hey, remember? I'm the girl who HATES change.
I was fighting to stay with my head above nursing school.
I got a full time job.
I was working 12 hour night shifts.
I was engaged and my fiancé had moved to Indiana for the summer as an intern.
And my dad was diagnosed with cancer.
Phew...hang on for dear life is what it felt like.
Through the mess of it all I found myself losing touch with reality and focusing solely on the negatives in my life. I would always tell myself I just wish I could switch lives with someone who is happy for just one day.
Poor. Pitiful. Me.
The plain truth to it was that I was depressed. I never wanted to admit it, but I just couldn't find the energy to muster to hold back the daily tears. While working nights, and sleeping during the day I would often cry myself to sleep because other's couldn't possibly know what I was going through. Yes, in hindsight I know so, so, SO many people had life a lot worse than I did.
But that's the nasty of depression. It brings you down, keeps you there, and makes you feel like you're the only one suffering through it.
I remember sitting in the Dr's office almost shaking because I was too nervous and worried what anyone would think of me to ask for help. When the Dr asked why I was in the office today, I told her that it was just a routine physical. Good thing she saw right through me, because after my "physical", she sat down next to me and asked, now what's really going on?
I immediately broke down in tears and told her about my anxieties and that I feared I was experiencing depression. I told her I was a strong person, that I was a new nurse and that I should be better than this. I didn't want to feel a stigma with asking for help, for not being able to control my feelings on my own.
The Dr. prescribed a tiny blue "happy pill" which I am happy to say that I am almost off of.
I cannot tell you what a balanced set of receptors in your brain will do for you! The bad days were easier and I wasn't crying so dang much. I was able to take life head on and say I can do this.
It in no way fixed my problems, just cleared my head enough to know that I was strong enough to conquer whatever was going on in my life.
I found strength in my faith and relied on Christian music to get me through my days.
This may sound silly...but take a challenge for me. For 30 days listen to nothing but a Christian radio station. The messages and the hope that you will receive is something I can't testify enough.
Just do it, then report back! Life changing, I promise.
Strengthening my faith is what has gotten me through my anxieties with our huge move across, what feels like is the world. I will tell you I was terrified about how I would do with the move. Although I have had a few breakdowns, I am so thankful for the positivity that God has given me to take on each day. It's like He has opened my eyes to slow down and see the little things in life that I was too busy to look at back home. It's been great and I'm so thankful to have an ever supportive husband who is always my rock and shoulder to cry on when my world gets a little heavy.
Now I know this was more like a chapter book today, and if you've made it this far, I commend you.
It's ok to feel anxious, but more importantly is ok to seek help from others and the help that you need. It's ok to cry and it's ok to not be strong.
God doesn't expect you to be strong, He expects you to have faith that he will carry you and your world when things get heavy.
Praying for all of you today who experience anxiety.
You're not alone and I hope this may bring peace to someone.