Ok… I’ve tried to cleverly start this post several times, and I don’t know how, apparently the cleverness isn’t flowing freely today! So I guess I’ll just start instead.
I have anxiety. Lots and lots of anxiety. Don’t worry, I’m not telling you these things as a blog post cry for help, (I’m medicated) quite the opposite actually. I’m telling you so that if you are someone who struggles with anxiety perhaps I can help you find some common ground, learn something about yourself, reach out, get opinions, or just be open and honest.
Since reaching adulthood I have struggled with my anxiety, like many many others do. For some reason, I think that it is still considered a negative thing to admit anxiety or depression are part of your life. It feels a bit like you are a failure of sorts for not being able to pull your shit together. Even more, I felt like I was expected to “cure” myself by working out more and eating healthier. (Which, by the way, I do encourage and those things do help quite a bit.) However, those things just aren’t always enough. So for a long time, I kept this quiet.
I never took action to get help or even considered talking to a doctor about my anxiety. Here’s the strange thing about me, (or maybe this is totally normal for anxiety sufferers) I had this belief that my anxiety was actually a piece of my success as and adult and in my career. I thought that my ability to see every angle of a conversation, think deeply on things for hours and weeks on end, and anticipate things that were yet to happen were all part of why I was successful. I was afraid to lose my edge. Weird right? I know!
So what finally happened? Well, turns out if you’re living with daily anxiety and things in life do start to go wrong, it all compacts… quickly. The anxiety that you can “control” becomes something that you can’t because you’re trying to deal with all the other things in life. At least that’s what happened to me. I lost my father-in-law to cancer, had a miscarriage, and was working on a masters program all within a year. All of this was on top of still being a full time employee, a wife, and “dealing” with anxiety. Needless to say, suddenly I wasn’t in “control” of my anxiety anymore.
I finally went to my doctor and told her all of this. By the time I went to her, I was a bit of a mess and had let it go too long. I was put on an anti-depressant that day to “try out” and help with my anxiety. Wow, my world changed! In all open, honest reflection, I cannot believe I let myself live that way for so long. My poor brain!
I openly discuss this with people now. And when I say openly, I mean in a regular, not hushed whisper voice any time someone has questions or wants to know more. I have no shame that I take medication on the daily to help me keep my brain and anxiety in check. I have no shame that I take medicine that helps me. I don’t feel like a failure because I couldn’t overcome my anxiety without medication. Honestly, I’m proud of myself for being open, honest, and vulnerable!
Folks, the thing is… anxiety is real! You don’t have to be a depressed, down in the dumps, miserable person to need help with your anxiety, they’re not always one-in-the-same. You don’t have to suffer or let yourself get to a point of depression before you advocate for yourself. No one knows your body or mind better than you. We have to move past this shame that we put on ourselves about anxiety. Your mental health is important! You don’t have to share your story, I’ll share mine loud and proud though to hopefully help others who are trying to take on anxiety alone.