For as long as I can remember I have been a worrier, as a child, a teenager, and as an adult. My first memories of anxiety and worry come around the age of eight when I had an intense fear of poisons and chemicals. I can remember bringing my mom cleaners wrapped in a towel so I wouldn’t touch the bottle. The fears of different things have worsened as I’ve gotten older.
Five months after I got married, I missed church one Sunday due to the time change. Something clicked in my head that God would hate me, and that caused me to have a major panic attack and meltdown all day. This was new to me, I didn’t know what was happening, my husband had no idea how to help me. I ended up contacting a therapist and started counseling shortly after this episode. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder as well as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). OCD surprised me, I didn’t have the typical symptoms. My therapist informed me that my thoughts were obsessive. Once I fixated on something in my head, I would spiralize until it caused me to meltdown in a panic attack. This is the worst feeling in the world.
After several months of counseling and regulated medication, I was good to go, I even was able to stop medication for several years. Then in July of 2012, pregnant with my first child, my husband was out of town for the weekend and BOOM a thought popped into my head. I don’t remember exactly what that thought was but the panic was back. I consulted my pastor at church several times and he finally suggested going back to counseling and with the OK from my OBGYN, I went back on medicine where I stayed for the next seven years.
I have been feeling great, no issues at all, and in March the start of COVID-19, I just stopped taking my medicine. Why? I have no clue! Who would in their right mind think that stopping antidepressants during quarantine was a good idea? It’s not, and I don’t recommend it. In mid-June BOOM a thought entered my mind and there I went on my spiral. Because I knew what was happening and remembered past therapy sessions, I started working through this, praying about it, and I started back on my medicine. It was a tough couple of weeks as the medicine had to get back into my system but I’m doing much better now.
Dealing with this type of anxiety is horrible, and I often find myself embarrassed, but I know that I’m not alone. This is something my mom and my sister both deal with. As well as so many other people. The most important thing to know is that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. We all experience struggles in our lifetime and this is one of mine. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you need to take medication to help you. Mental health struggles are a real thing, and medication can help. Am I going to have to take medication for the rest of my life? I have no idea. But, I’m perfectly fine taking it as long as I need to.
Being the best wife and mother to my children are the most important things to me. Taking care of my mental health is self-care, probably one of the most important types of self-care. My faith is also a huge part of my life and my healing process. I know that this is a battle I could possibly deal with the rest of my life, and I know that God is seeing me through this.