Anxiety. I have anxiety disorder. People joke about anxiety and say they have it. But they may not know the extent of what anxiety disorder can really feel like. Today many of us bloggers are sharing our personal stories in honor of Bloggers for Mental Health Awareness, and I’m sharing what anxiety is like for me, as well as how I cope with it.
Anxiety is when you lay awake in bed at night with your mind playing a ‘Greatest Hits’ of your most embarrassing moments, things you wish you could change. Things you can’t undo, yet your brain tortures you in a feedback loop, over and over, making restful sleep impossible.
Anxiety is when you over-analyze every word of every conversation that you have with someone, searching for the subtext you might have missed in the conversation. It’s when you wonder and ask if they hate you, if they’re angry at you, or if something is wrong with you.
Anxiety is when you really want to do something new, but then you’re terrified of all the ways it could go wrong and how you could fail. It can be crippling if you listen to that voice in the back of your head. It can make you afraid to try new things. It can make you afraid to leave your home. It’s like this negative anti-cheerleader in your mind, trying to discourage you at every turn.
When my anxiety was at its worst, it was coupled with depression and I was suicidal. I thought my husband would be happier without me. I thought my family would be happier without me. I couldn’t sleep at night with how my mind twisted things around. I’d finally cry myself to sleep, soundlessly, because I didn’t want to be a burden to my husband. I’d wake up wishing I was dead because if I was dead, I wouldn’t hurt as bad as I hurt then.
I finally recognized that this was not normal and I didn’t want to live like this anymore. I called my doctor and got a therapist. I went on medication. I started working on my issues.
Many of the things that cause me anxiety, I was able to fix. Some of the things, I’m unable to change. Some of my anxiety is caused by a chemical imbalance, so medication is required for me to be happy. Having people tell me that it’s terrible that I’m on daily medication that makes my life better and I just need to pray or take a walk to fix my anxiety is dangerous. Not every person can be fixed by those things. There is no shame in needing medication.
Having people tell me that it’s terrible that I’m on daily medication that makes my life better and I just need to pray or take a walk to fix my anxiety is dangerous. Not every person can be fixed by those things. There is no shame in needing medication. You wouldn’t tell a kid who broke his arm to pray about it or walk it off. You’d tell him to get a cast to fix it.
Yes, I talk to a therapist regularly. Yes, I take anxiety medication daily. I also work out and make an effort to be positive. I practice self-care. All of this together has helped reduce my anxiety, but it’s not completely eliminated.
While I take daily medication to help manage my anxiety, some situations also call for additional medication. I view that medication as armor I put on to allow me to slay the dragon. It protects me and keeps me safe. So rather than being unable to do those things that are scary or super stressful, I’m able to handle them.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, you don’t need to be. Don’t spend months or years feeling miserable. Talk to your doctor. See a therapist. Make a change in your life. I know it’s scary, but it’s worth it.
My friend Brittany from Clumps of Mascara organized the bloggers for mental health awareness.
Check out the other bloggers that participated in #BloggersForMentalHealth campaign:
- Mom, Dad, You Need Mental Health Counseling – Clumps of Mascara
- It Only Looks Like We’re Not Hurting: #BloggersForMentalHealth – Mommyvents
- Hello, My Name is…. 1 in 5 – Keta’s Kairos
- Let’s Talk About Mental Health – Undrinkable Brandy
- Suicide: How Do You Know the Signs? Where to Find Some Answers – Mom Does Reviews
- My Fight with Anxiety and Depression – Sweet Tart Beauty
- 10 Truths About Mental Health – Good Girl Gone Redneck
- Forever Broken: My Mental Health Journey – 2 Chicks and 1 Old Lady