Awful .. evil .. hard .. overwhelming .. not needed .. ridiculous ..
All of these adjectives are words I’ve used to describe what anxiety is to me. I don’t like to use the word ‘hate’, but y’all I’m making an exception. I HATE that I have anxiety now. The Friday before we left on vacation this past month was the worst day I’ve had since February. The week leading up to Friday wasn’t much fun either. I had several anxiety headaches and a couple of panic attacks. Friday, though it all came crashing down on me, and I’m not sure if it was my depression that reared it’s ugly head or what, but it was completely and utterly awful.
On top of having a panic attack, I lost it emotionally. I legit couldn’t stop crying for hours. I was having a seriously hard time understanding what my body was experiencing. You see, before my anxiety came about I was always excited the week before a vacation. I would have everything organized and packed with a week left to go with no problem at all. However, I’ve learned that with my anxiety something that would be so easy for me before might not be so easy now. My body wasn’t handling the stress of packing for everyone in my house and getting everything we needed figured out. I was also stressing out about the 14 hour car ride with a 2 year old and 4 year old who aren’t the best car riders. They legit don’t sleep in the car! Then, the added stress of worrying about having an anxiety attack in the car on the trip and being zero help along the way of course didn’t help. (I’ve come to realize it’s one of my triggers).
Everything literally just piled up in my brain and my anxiety reared it’s ugly head. I literally had to lock myself in my bedroom, turn on some soft music, crawl up into the smallest ball possible, and just let myself cry. Talking with a friend actually really helped. Once I stopped hysterically crying I was able to get my journal out and just write what I was feeling. That helped as well. I was able to calm my breathing, stop crying, and just lay there. Afterwards my husband and I talked about the trip and how I was feeling about it. We had an extremely helpful discussion about it. (And it really helped my husband help me on our trip.)
You see, this whole anxiety thing and how it affects me is new for my husband as well. I’ve never been this way before, and I’ve never dealt with stressful situations like this. My poor husband was so confused as to why I would be like this. I’m typically a, “Hey, it’s okay whatever it is we’ll figure it out. Things will be ok no matter what!” … And now I’m a, “Just looking at a darn suitcase that’s empty has me hyperventilating and getting a tingling headache!” kind of person. I’m not use to this. I’m learning … ever so slowly.
Since that Friday I’ve done some research to help myself understand this. I honestly just assumed that once I started taking medication for anxiety that I’d go back to the same person I was before. Y’all … I’m learning that’s far from the truth. Anxiety is here to stay. I have to learn ways to deal with it. One person I started following said to just allow it to happen and let it be; don’t fight it. If you fight it, anxiety just feeds off of it and keeps the cycle going. It’s easier said then done, BUT I tried it on our trip…. and it worked!
Driving in the car about 4 hours away from home I realized I left the bag full of electronics (iPads for the kids and chargers for our phones) on the kitchen floor. My sweet husband didn’t skip a beat when he said, “It’s okay; we don’t need that stuff for vacation.” I, of course, knew that wasn’t true because we have routines and rewards for the kids using the iPad … I actually believe that we don’t need them, but my family feels the opposite lol. My panic attack came on instantly even though my husband was being sweet and understanding. I just sat there, told myself, “Okay, you are having a panic attack. It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Just breath in deeply .. breath out slowly. This will pass. You will be okay.” Legit – I said those words. … and it worked. Seriously. Usually with my anxiety attacks I get face ticks and numbness. I had some small ticking for about one minute (they usually last any where from 30 minutes to a couple of hours). ONE MINUTE .. from allowing myself to just have an attack and be okay with it.
It was then and there that I realized that I needed to stop fighting my anxiety and just start accepting it. Is it what I want? No. Is it who I am? Definitely not. Will I keep having anxiety and panic attacks. Yes. But is it okay? Absolutely.
No, I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I’ve experienced so much in this year. 2018 has definitely been full of ups and downs. But, I’m learning. I’m learning that instead of fighting what is happening to me, I should be accepting it. I’m learning that it’s okay. Everything will be okay. Is this who I saw myself being? No. BUT I am a strong, beautiful, and brave human being who will survive this. I will still be me; just a slightly different version.
If you suffer from anxiety or depression please know you are not alone. Please know that it’s okay. It is a battle and struggle hard to understand, but we will survive. Remember life is beautiful, and so are you.