When I first started this blog I recall stating that I would comment and even write multiple blogs on anxiety and I’m here to make good on that promise 😉
Anxiety has been so prevalent in my life (the majority of my life) I now have to consider it a part of me in a way. Don’t mistake my statement as being accepting of my anxiety disorder, rather I have more of an understanding of it and know that although there may be times I am in control, it will likely lurk in waiting. I often describe it as going dormant or partially dormant, but I would never say I am “cured”. I’m a firm believer in a person’s ability to constantly better themselves, and that is how I look at rising above the disorder. I have no issues with the anxiety disorder label hanging over my head, I do however take issue with the control it can have over me as a person; physically, emotionally and even spiritually! Let me state that I do not always have good days and I do backslide in my own personal journey with anxiety disorder (yes, even after all these years) but after enduring it for most of my life, I have learned a thing or two about it. I’m not a doctor or counselor or anyone with a title, I’m simply an individual sharing her experiences with anyone who wants to listen in hopes that it’ll help them in some way!
I was reflecting on the disorder earlier this morning and remembering how much it has impacted my life and even still does. Anyone with anxiety disorder knows how much time it can steal from you; how many moments you miss out on. In times like these with social media you see so many photos of people who are worry free and just enjoying life on their vacation time…it’s hard not to say to yourself, “man, I wish I could do that!” With anxiety disorder, especially in a peak time, it is SO debilitating. You are unceasingly paralyzed with fear. You opt out of anything and everything, even when you don’t necessarily want to. At one of my absolute worst times with the anxiety disorder, I was living in a continuous and never-ending state of panic and fear. I’m not talking every other day or even once a day, I am saying every second of every single day for more than a year and the disorder was relentless; it NEVER gave up. That year sure seems lost to me. I hardly remember anything else besides what the disorder caused and how it altered my personality and just myself overall. I would sit on the couch at my parents house and be like a zombie. I would be expressionless. I lacked personal hygiene because it felt like such a chore and I had no will or energy to get up and do it. I was terrified every day was my last day. I was convinced I would die every. single. day. Every move I did have the courage to make was over-calculated in my mind; the worst case scenario was always the certainty. I couldn’t go outside because some crazy accident would happen. I couldn’t go out to eat or even eat new foods or foods I hadn’t in a while because I would have severe allergic reaction and my throat would close up and I’d die. I’d like to add that I have no known food allergies. I ended up losing so much weight because I could only muster up enough courage to consume apple sauce, bread and water. I cried at every meal when my parents or husband would attempt to get me to eat because I was petrified. Night time was no different and could even be the worst time for me. Fear and dread kept me from falling asleep every night because in my mind I would have a heart attack and die in my sleep and no one would be able to help me. I would have such bad whole body tremors/shakes. I can’t even put into words everything that I was unable to do. Simple every day tasks were forgotten and I was just this emotionless blob. I truthfully am not embellishing nor am I actually able to convey all that I went through. One of the worst parts was I felt like I was drowning in front of everyone. My head was persistently under water, my arms were in the air yet everyone was looking right at me and telling me I was alright. They couldn’t see the water. They couldn’t see me in trouble. So how could anyone help me if the people who loved me and knew me best couldn’t see how much trouble was surrounding me? They may have acknowledged my feelings but they truly couldn’t understand and therefore they couldn’t help. When I came to this realization, I knew there was only one person who could help me, that person was me…or was it?
Anyone who views these blogs can recognize that I am no one who shies away from my faith. During this particular peak of the anxiety disorder a lot that got me through was my faith. I believe certain events happen in our lives to bring us closer to God when we have become complacent. When we start veering off on our own and although still believers, we lose some of that spiritual spark. Many believers can talk a good game, but they end up, even unintentionally, treating God as a genie. Your life is going great and you go on your merry way and you’re just idling in your faith. You call upon God only when you’re in trouble. There is nothing wrong with calling upon God in times of trouble, but we should always be calling upon Him even when things are going wonderfully! In my opinion, this anxiety disorder is in my life so that I can use it to help others. I can relate on a personal level out of experience! I would never wish it on anyone nor do I enjoy having it myself, but it has allowed me to get here where I can share my story with all of you and hopefully make some sort of positive impact on your life. I want to give others hope who have been in those worst times and felt so alone and not “normal”. You wonder how far you can go before you actually snap and go crazy. At times, we already believe we are crazy. The great part is we’re not and we haven’t gone too far. We can always put our minds in reverse and come back to center! We’re not lost, we just took a detour! 🙂 I know the fear of opening up about it and having this image of someone taking us away in this white straitjacket and locking us in some padded room somewhere. It sounds unreasonable, yet many of us with anxiety have felt that fear. This is one of the many reasons I share my story with everyone so that anyone else having the same feelings can realize they are not alone and their feelings are shared by many other individuals. There is such power in reading or hearing someone who doesn’t even know you express exactly how you have been feeling; it offers a sense of comfort when you need it the most. I mentioned my faith got me through and it truly did. I would pray often or sing older hymns or modern Christian music in my head at night or even recite verses over and over until I was calm enough to fall asleep. I kept a book of verses with me specifically on the subject of fear. It gave me the boosts of confidence when I would need it and assured me that I would be able to make it through this. I so often cried to my husband or my parents that I would never be the same, that I would never find myself again. Anyone out there thinking that they are permanently lost and will never be able to find themselves again, I am here to tell you it’s not only just a possibility, but a CERTAINTY! You CAN and you WILL! At times, all we can do is buckle up and hold on and know that this will pass. I even purchased books on anxiety disorder, both religious based books and non and it helped me to better understand my condition and in learning more about the disorder I was able to regain more control. I am convinced I’ll always be a work in progress, but I am proud of how far I have come. I have a lot to work on still, but this peak time I have been referring to was 2010 for me, so 8 years I worked at it and still continue to! It’s unreal to think that I was married for just 2 years when this particular surge in the disorder occured, and I could never express my gratitude enough for my husband. I talked about how much I have endured, but he also went through all of the ups and downs with me. He stuck by me when most people would have run the other way and he not only stuck by my side, but he encouraged me and did his best to understand and help me along. He did whatever he could to ease my mind at times, yet he gave me tough love when I needed it most. It’s hard on a spouse to see the person they love the most suffer through something and not be able to help at all, just kind of sit back and watch and not even fully comprehend what is actually happening with them. My husband, Brandon, he’s definitely a hero of mine ❤ Yet another gift from God!!
I want to pray for anyone at there who is feeling anxiety to any degree, especially those of you in these peak times that feel hopeless and alone! I want you to know that not only God is with you, but I too understand and you can turn it around. It may take years for you to feel like you’ve gained even some control, but it will happen! I pray for you all to have peace and comfort when you need it most. My dream is that my words, whether now or in the future, help even one of you out there!
Much love and God Bless ❤