Hey there, reader. I don’t know who is reading this but I want you to know something about these words. These are very real, raw, and vulnerable words for me to write. It’s a little scary but it is also very good.
Here we go.
I have Anxiety, terrible anxiety. And sometimes not-able-to-leave-the-house type of anxiety.
The anxiety has been so bad lately that it led to feelings of depression. Something that I have never dealt with. And not so bad that I can’t get out of bed, but more so I have a hard time finding Joy in the ordinary and have had less interest in things I love doing. Like walking my dog, cooking (woah, I know), getting dressed up/ready for the day, and more.
It’s a weird feeling, not being mentally okay. Because there is nothing physically wrong with me, but feeling like there is. But you also don’t know how to get past it.
And if you you have never felt these feelings before, no offense, but it is very hard for you to understand what I am saying. But please do, have an open mind and gentle heart about it.
I have briefly mentioned my struggles with anxious thoughts before, but never quite to this extent.
I used to struggle with anxiety/panic attacks when I first moved away from home and went to an out-of-state college. I had them on and off for about 4 1/2 years. Seems like a long time, and it was. Sometimes I would go months without having one, sometimes it would only be a few days.
But because I was so busy all of the time and had a great community around me it never felt that hard or debilitating.
I never saw a doctor about it or tried to get help. Looking back at it now, I wish I would have seen a counselor. But, you live and you learn.
Fast forward to now, January 2020. I was doing so well for a couple of years. Life was great, it felt normal. And then we moved to California. Gah, moving, am I right? It throws everything off.
And it has slowly started to creep back into my body and mind. Until one day a few months ago. It felt like a switch flipped on in my body and I could NOT turn it off.
I couldn’t calm myself down, for days. I couldn’t eat. My stomach was turning. I was going to the bathroom all of the time. I didn’t want to leave the house. I wanted to cry. I felt so tired after a 20 minute walk with the dog. I was getting easily annoyed and irritated. I almost had a panic attack when I went to Dicks to buy a new pair of tennis shoes.
Anxiety feels like all of the emotions and thoughts you’ve ever had hit you all at once. You feel like if I am not able to leave right now something horribly bad will happen. Its feeling like you can’t escape. Or sometimes that you will die. Quote this
Every thought, good and bad, come rushing to your mind all at once. Here is a few that I would have in probably a minute….
“Oh my gosh, I just threw up my breakfast. Maybe I’m pregnant. I’m not ready for that. Why do I still feel sick? I have gone to the bathroom so many times today, maybe I have stomach cancer. What if I have Diabetes? Someone I knew was just diagnosed with that. What am I supposed to do today? What if my husband gets deployed and dies? What the heck am I supposed to do with my life then? What If the weird dream I had comes true. I just had a heart palpitation, am I having a heart attack? Oh my gosh Brendan hasn’t texted me he is on his way home yet, did he die in a car crash? What if these feelings get worse and I can’t handle them? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I calm down? What if this feeling never goes away? Who am I anymore?
Yeah. That was my brain every minute of every day for a few weeks straight. I felt like I was going to die.
It still happens every once in awhile. But I am learning how to intercept those thoughts and slow down my mind. It’s really hard.
Once these feelings started to come back and didn’t stop, and then led to feeling a little depressed, I knew I had to get help.
I finally told Brendan, my husband, how bad it was. I can’t tell you how sweet and gentle he was with everything. Boy did God bless me with that one.
Then one morning I met up with a friend. We were supposed to go on a walk. But almost the second I walked into her apartment I started bawling my eyes out. I cried for 4 hours.
A week later I was drinking my morning smoothie and Brendan left for work. I was outside sitting on the patio furniture when 20 minutes later I realized that he accidentally locked me out.
I just started laughing. I was laughing because I felt like God was nudging me to finally call a doctor and get some help. So I had literally nothing to do but call a doctors office, locked outside of my house in my pajamas.
I talked to a doctor, and I started on some medication. And then she recommended going to Therapy. I talked to Brendan about it and and we (yes we) decided it was a great option for me to start healing.
I am writing this on my 27th birthday. I have been doing a lot of reflecting on this day. I am working on unwinding my brain and rewiring some of the negative thought patterns.
I wanted to get help because I felt broken. I didn’t feel like Erin. I didn’t feel joyful. And I knew if I didn’t do anything about it now it would only get so much worse.
You’ve heard this before. It’s okay not to be okay.
And that’s true. But what I don’t think is true is this.
It’s okay not to be okay, but its NOT okay to stay there.
You might disagree with that. But it’s true. And the weird thing that is hard about it is its really easy to stay in the “I’m not okay” mindset because even though it sucks, its familiar. And when you don’t feel okay the last thing you want to do is go outside of your comfort zone, outside of what is familiar.
I was very nervous to tell anyone how I was feeling, for the fear of being judged or being told “well just don’t worry about it, you’re fine”.
But guess what? I have received nothing but support and love from everyone around me. Even strangers on the internet.
If you are reading this and understand what I am going through and are going through it now, please, reach out to someone. Even if you feel like you’re “not that bad”. That’s some pride talking. Trust me its hard to admit that something is wrong and that you need help. It’s hard but it will be one of the best things to do for your mental health. And your general health overall.
I am already feeling more like myself lately. I am not 100% out of it and sometimes it still sucks but its good. It’s good healing that I need.
I hope these words encouraged you today. Or spoke to you in some way. And if you are thinking you might need to talk to someone about mental health, please do. It’s not as scary as you think.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”1 Peter 5:7
Thanks for reading,
~The Short Wife