I have anxiety, and that is ok to talk about. I have talked about our families struggle with anxiety, but never my own. This has been a very hard week for me, and I think probably a lot of other people. So I wanted to talk a little bit about my own struggle with anxiety. It’s probably something I’ve had my entire life, as I always use to throw up on the first day of school, but it isn’t something that I really had an awareness for until later in my life.
I remember having a true anxiety attack the week I moved from South Dakota to Arizona. It felt like I was having a heart attack, and I was driving. I pulled over on the side of the road, reclined my chair, and just took some deep breaths and it passed. I reasoned with myself that a heart attack wouldn’t have just stopped, and once I felt better I went about my life. Looking back at the feelings and the situation, with all I’ve learned about anxiety through Brooklyn, I understand now that it was probably an anxiety attack. A lot was going on. I had lived in SD for a year and a half, my life was great in SD and so was my job, and I accepted a a transfer to Arizona. It was the second time in two years that I was moving multiple states by myself. I was taking a chance on myself and that is scary.
The second time I remember really struggling was when we were planning our wedding. September 11th happened and we were getting married November 24th. I became completely overwhelmed. We had people doubting our marriage because we were engaged 5 months after meeting (married 19 years this month so we showed them), and guests coming in from across the country. It was the first time I ever talked to a doctor about feeling anxious, and the doctor gave me an anxiety medication for the 30 days leading up to our wedding. I stopped the medication as soon as the wedding chaos was over, and I felt normal again.
When Lexi was born I had post partum depression. I think it’s probably the only time in my life I have experienced depression, and looking back now I’m glad I went through that. Glad because it helps me to better understand when the people around me are going through it. I remember so vividly just crying all the time. Crying in my room. Crying when Adam had to go to work. I just cried. I wasn’t sad. I had experienced tremendous sadness over the lost of our first child prior, and this was so different. It was a total hormonal emotional response. I never felt angry, or violent, or like hurting myself or anyone. I just simply cried and felt sad while at the same time I was so happy being a mom. For anyone going through post partum depression you aren’t crazy. You feel like your crazy being so sad but so happy all at the same time. Talk to your doctor, because they can help you. I did not go through that when I had Brooklyn. It was only with Lexi’s pregnancy.
I began taking a low dose medication a few years ago for anxiety when the girls health issues became overwhelming, and after I had to return to workout away from home full time. I was sitting in my doctor’s office for a yearly checkup, and she asked how my family was. I started talking, and suddenly I was crying and crying and you get the point. She recommended I take something, I argued that I didn’t need it, she told me to give it 30 days, and several years later I continue to take that same low does. I want to acknowledge that it’s ok to have help when life is hard. Over the years some times have been harder then others, but overall I’ve been able to manage pretty well. I think a large part of that is because I recognize when I begin to feel overwhelmed with life. I’ve learned to slow down and that I don’t have to always be there for everyone. It’s ok to put away the phone, even for a weekend, and just be present with the people in your house. It’s ok not to engage in the text conversation that your besties are having. You don’t have to put on a smile and perform for the world. It’s important to talk to your spouse and your friends so that you have someone to share with. I also acknowledge tough days to my kids, because they need to know that its ok to talk about their tough days.
Life is hard right now for a lot of us. I will do separate blogs about the effects of COVID and politics on my mental health. I just wanted you to know that if you are struggling you are not alone. If sometimes you cry in your closet you are not alone. If sometimes you want to yell at the world for no reason you are not alone. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Acknowledge your hurt and talk to someone. Last night I turned my light out at 8pm, told my teenagers goodnight, and made sure I got a good nights sleep. This morning I woke up and realized that I needed the simple joy that friends bring to my live, and I invited our quarantine squad over to sit around the firepit. Surrounding myself with the people I love, dogs, and puppies are just want my heart needs to refuel. Find what refuels your heart, and then don’t be ashamed when you need to slow down and recharge.
Love yourself. Love God.