I originally hesitated to post this series around the holidays because it’s a bit of a downer, but I know the holidays are a bit of a struggle for some people, so I hope that by sharing my story, I can help others to realize they aren’t alone in dealing with anxiety and that seeking help is a good thing!
Click here to see other posts about anxiety.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a therapist. If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, or just life in general, please speak with your doctor, therapist or a friend. Heck, if you need to email me (cowgirlruns[at]gmail[dot]com) and I will make a call for you if you need that. I know how difficult that first call can be to make and I promise I always respond to my emails!
From 2009 to 2013 I continued to live my life in various states of anxiety. This would cause me to:
- Yell at my then-husband when things didn’t go as I had planned
- Cry when I dropped something or something broke because I messed up again
- Look for outside ways to make myself happy (mainly buying make up and clothes)
- Attempt to plan everything because if everything is planned and perfect, then nothing can go wrong, right?!
- Beat myself up for potentially saying something wrong, constantly living in a state of fear that I was going to offend someone or make someone hate me
Without hesitation, I would say 2012 was by far the most difficult year I faced in regards to my anxiety and my inability to know how to deal with it, or even recognize what it was. By this time I was aware that it was anxiety, but as for how to deal with it? I’d usually stuff it down until I got home where I’d cry, erupt, or seek material things to make myself feel better.
Christmas of 2011 I got it in my head that a cat would make me happy (it’s okay, you can go ahead and roll your eyes) and I pestered and pestered and pestered and pestered until, begrudgingly, my then-husband agreed; let’s not forget that he was also allergic to all animals. (Yup, wife of the year, that’s me).
You know what doesn’t help anxiety? A kitten who doesn’t let you sleep and is an overall pain in the ass. You know what doesn’t help pain in the ass cats? Buying a second cat to keep the original cat company. We’ll just refer to 2012 as the year of really REALLY bad decisions and leave it at that.
On top of two cats and an allergic husband, I was also working the worst hours I’d ever worked and was struggling to deal with so much being thrown at me at once. I received my first (probably deserved) poor review at work, but I had been struggling so hard just to keep my head above water at that point, that I really just didn’t know what to do. I was miserable and was making everyone around me miserable, too.
There are parts of 2012 that were a complete blur and parts that I remember all too vividly. I wish it were the good parts I remember in vivid detail, but unfortunately, that is not the case.
I was lucky enough to be able to take two weeks off from work during the summer of 2012. My goal was to rest and recharge and come back to work a new person, but that just didn’t work. I came back still struggling and I never could understand why. I couldn’t understand why it was a struggle to wake up in the morning, a struggle to complete simple tasks, a struggle to be a nice person and a struggle to smile. (As someone refered to as “Smiley” by my band teacher in high school, a lack of a smile from me is a pretty big sign that something isn’t right).
The deeper it got into fall, the deeper into a whole I fell. I had a two week work trip that I just felt like I could.not.handle. I just….couldn’t. I didn’t know what to do, so I sucked it up and attempted to tough it out. (Spoiler: this approach is not recommended).
Now, if this were a movie, all neatly tied up in a bow, I’d be able to tell you that my turning point was when my husband and I separated, but it’s not a movie, so this is not true. Instead my anxiety moved more and more out of control and this resulted in me trying to control more and more situations. Have you ever tried to control a situation? It never quite works out as you planned, does it?…….
I finally realized I should talk to my doctor and consider a daily medication when I was watching (wait for it…..you’re totally going to laugh) Married to Jonas.
Nope. Not kidding. Promise. And, yes, it’s totally okay to laugh.
There was a marathon of the previous season on over the Christmas break and since I was off work, I was chilling on the couch watching E! and stumbled upon the show. Kevin (he’s the Jonas Brother that no one remembers) is married to Danielle and Danielle was pretty open about her struggle with anxiety. I was able to relate to so much of what she was saying (weird, right?!) about feeling panicked in crowds and not being able to handle certain things.
It was at that point things finally clicked for me, I’m suffering from anxiety and I need actual help. And so, I made a phone call to my doctor pretty much right away.
Given this wasn’t the same doctor who had written me the script for Ativan back in 2009, and it had been since 2009 that I had tried anything to help, I was given another script for Ativan to take with me on my three week work trip, and I set up and appointment to come in and evaluate when I returned….
No question today, just love to those who need it.