This was such a touchy subject for me to post about. I think I’ve written this more than once,
deleted it, made it private and so on. I just never wanted to post it. But, today (like many other days) I had a bad anxiety attack. I figured, although I maybe one of many who decide to speak-out on how they personally deal with anxiety. I figured maybe, just maybe, I too can help someone.
Like many people out there, I too suffer from anxiety. Unfortunately, I had anxiety for a few years (unknowingly). I had my first anxiety attack on May 4th back in 2008. My Dad was in hospice and I had received a call while I was at a Pageant event that I was getting picked-up early because my Dad wanted me there. Little did I know, his health was deteriorating faster and that was going to be the night he passed. I remember feeling like, I couldn’t breathe, it felt like my heart was going faster than what it should’ve. And, I couldn’t control anything around me. I felt shaky, and lightheaded. It was the worst feeling ever! I remember being picked-up by the ambulance at the hospice facility & taken to the nearby hospital. I was temporarily given a medication to take to take the edge off. I was diagnosed officially about 5 years after when I gave birth to Katelynn. (Learn about Kate’s birth story — HERE!) I figured the things I was feeling was just out of pure exhaustion, mixed with having a new baby. But, the words came out crystal clear, smooth like butter, “You are suffering from, ‘postpartum depression’ and ‘general anxiety disorder'”. It made me feel
unfit to be a Mom of three. I remember just holding back tears, and trying to keep my cool. I honestly, thought that was the end of my life as I knew it!
My anxiety only got worst. I feared Kate wasn’t eating enough, or that I wasn’t giving the boys enough attention. I felt like my load was heavier than normal. I just didn’t feel enough or that I didn’t have enough time. I felt like all I did was wake-up, feed the baby, feed the boys. Clean, do chores, feed the baby, feed boys. Pump. Do HW, Clean, Cook, repeat. It just never felt like it ended. At night, I couldn’t sleep. I constantly woke-up to make sure all three kids were breathing, I would put my hand on their chest to feel it rise and go-down. Make sure I could feel their heart beating. I would stay up late and I’d pump extra at night, cause I was afraid I wouldn’t produce enough milk for Kate. I’d cook enough baby food for two months cause I was worried Kate wouldn’t eat enough. Going-out was difficult, I felt like I couldn’t travel with all three in the car with me. I didn’t feel safe. Even if Ric drove-us all, I felt like I constantly had to turn around to make sure the kids were all ok.
Unfortunately, my marriage, suffered too. Ric would come home from work, willingly trying to help and aid in anyway that he could. He would help by doing a few loads of laundry, bringing dinner home, and even holding Kate so I could shower. But, I cringed knowing someone else was holding her. Or that he was doing things I was “supposed” to be doing. This shouldn’t have bothered me considering this someone wasn’t random, or someone I didn’t know. This person was her Father, my Husband. I should’ve been more than okay to have help. That was the last straw, I didn’t want to feel like that anymore. I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t be safe outside of my own four walls. I finally sought additional help.
The Doctor visits were difficult at first, I felt beyond vulnerable. But, after opening-up to my Doctor and speaking how I felt and getting feedback. It helped a lot! I prayed often, now this was a personal gesture. During the moments I felt I couldn’t bear or handle, I stopped and prayed. I also began writing again (thus, this blog). It gave me the ability to channel the anxiety in different avenues. At times it was hard to write too, I hated the “online negativity,” and especially the “online bullies.” But, that’s simply how life is. I realized I couldn’t sit and hide when things got scary, or made me nervous. I had to try, and go against the odds. Push forward & block out the things I couldn’t control, and try to stay positive. And, when necessary take time-off. Hence, the days I didn’t write or would disappear. I started dancing again too, I prioritized my time better and tried to stay organized (hence, my over use of a calendar and planner). I took personal days to myself– even if it was just 30 minutes to go to the store. That “Me” time was important. I got extra hands to help me with the kids too, that was a huge weight off my shoulders. I’m grateful for my Nanny cause I didn’t feel like I was spreading myself too thin. I also took more date nights, and did more Family days out. All this, helped me hone and find my peace.
Today, was just one of many days where I let anxiety get the best of me. Unfortunately, although it may seem like I have a handle on my anxiety. Little things can still trigger it. Today, it was an overcrowded parking lot and a flood of people. I was meeting Ric and the kids for dinner. And, I noticed how full the parking-lot was, and how packed the restaurant was too. I saw that Ric found prime parking up front by the restaurant and he successfully unloaded the kids. I made a few circles to find a spot. I called Ric 2-3 times while looking for parking and telling him we should just order from drive through and go home. I was telling him to just go home, and then change my mind and tell him to stay and eat there. When I finally found parking, I quickly ran to the doors to find them in line. I looked around anxiously and couldn’t find a table. I think Ric sensed my anxiety. He gave me Kate, and told me to head home that he was going to order to-go. I ran to the car with Kate, buckled her in and nervously headed home. I drove carefully, even though I felt my heart pounding against my chest, I nervously fiddled with the AC to de-fog my windows, and constantly asking Kate if she was cold. Again, I stressed on how I couldn’t keep her warm without fogging the windows up. When I got home, I felt a huge sigh of relief. I felt my breathing steady, and I felt calm again. I felt 100% better once the boys ran through the door.
Everyday changes, sometimes I feel like wonder woman, and nothing bothers me. And, other times, I feel like I need to stay in a hole. It’s a constant battle, that I am still learning. But, I see major improvements within myself and those around me can too. My advice, I urge you to talk or write, I want you to find something and put your passion towards it. Whether it’s singing, dancing, painting, or reading, it may not seem like a lot. Honestly, it does help! Prioritize, make time. Schedule YOU time .You are important, you are enough! Your health is important. If you aren’t healthy, how are you supposed to care for your Family? You can’t. As hard as it is, put yourself first. Even if its for 30 minutes. And, lastly, don’t spread yourself thin & ask for help when you need it. I am guilty of that, I say, “Yes!” to every invite, and volunteer for every function. It’s okay to say, “no.” It won’t be the end of the world. And, ask for help when you need extra hands. Take deep breaths, and take breaks. Remember, you are NOT alone.
I hope my little venture helps you,