This is going to be long. Stick with me.
So, about three years ago, I was in the midst of the worst anxiety-ridden season of my life. I had panic attacks on the reg. I cried a lot. I lost weight. It was bad news bears. It sucked. I felt totally insane. I felt like I was dying. It wasn't my favorite. At all. I cried at work. I got to events I couldn't wait to be at and then basically suffered through them as I panicked - namely a Justin Bieber concert and a Harry Potter movie.
I had other close friends who had struggled with anxiety, but they know how to manage it/appear to be over it. It gave me hope that my anxiety would leave me as quickly as it came on. But, as my loving husband reminds me, it isn't just a cold you catch. It isn't something that just goes away. Anxiety is something that you learn to manage and work through. (Ugh. Yuck. I know.)
All I knew for certain was that I didn't want to be on medicine for it. For some reason, there is such a stigma laced to having to take medication for anxiety and depression. These days, three years later, I still feel like it disappoints my family that I have to take it. Whether that's true or not, it doesn't matter - it could honestly be the anxiety talking!! The medicine helps. A lot. It does what it's supposed to do. I still make jokes about it a lot. I guess that's just my way of coping with being on the medicine.
Anyway. Back to the present. The here and now. Y'all, marriage is FUN! We've started our second year married, and it's awesome. I'm so thankful for my husband. The hardest part of marriage for us has been money. Jordan is still in school, so he can only have a part time job right now. I work for the state government and get paid once a month. Budgeting isn't our strong suit, but we're making it. All of that to lead to the story of our week.
Last Saturday morning, being the good sister and brother-in-law that we are to Nicole, we got up at 7:15-ish and headed to the pancake breakfast fund-raiser she was working at. We were taking separate cars because Jordan had to go to work after we ate. And....my car wouldn't start. Thank the good Lord that my wonderful stepdad used to be a mechanic and has connections all over town. It was just my battery, and I was blessed enough to have it replaced for free because it was only two years old. Phew. Dodged a money-bullet!
Yesterday, Jordan was planning on going to get his oil changed. He called to tell me (or texted, I can't remember) that his car was acting funny. He got home to change after tennis, and when he was trying to go to his next class, his car wouldn't start. Y'all, two in one week. That's heavy for a couple who deals with anxiety. (Yep. Both of us.) my stepdad was able to get Jordan's car to start. Jordan got a new battery and an oil change. Hallelujah. Even though it cost money, it could have been way worse.
So after all the car troubles, I knew it would be easy for panic to overtake me yesterday. I knew. Paige (my bff/soul sister of 20 years) and I went walking with her dogs. I knew that was good - sun and fresh air and exercise should all help. We ate dinner, painted nails, watched more bad tv. We laughed. We had coffee. I told Paige that I had felt like I could have had a panic attack, but then I felt better. Jordan came to pick me up from Paige's. I had to bake cookies for a work lunch when we got home.
When we got home, I started cleaning the kitchen and baking. Jordan went into the guest room to practice guitar. I was flipping through a magazine, and it hit me. Panic attacks are my least favorite things in the world. Ever. Worse than lizards, loose teeth, wasp nests and all other things that make me squirm.
Beyond that, it sometimes starts as a whisper from the enemy who makes me feel/think/believe that I am so far from God. Like He can't hear me or help me. It's really scary. And sad. And so full of doubt. Such a heavy cloud. It breaks my heart to think about, honestly.
I went to the guest room, told Jor how I was feeling, and we sat down together to watch tv and try to inhale/exhale/calm down. I went ahead and took my medicine (which i usually do when we get in bed). My sweet husband rubbed my feet. We laughed at Joel McHale on The Soup. It worked briefly. Also, lately I've become a night time shower-taker because it lets me sleep so much later in the morning. Last night, I just got right in bed.
Sleep is my favorite thing. I probably do it more than I should. It is definitely my coping mechanism for anxiety because I know the morning will be better. (Also, I can panic any time, but night and the dark always seem like the worst time.) Y'all, I couldn't go to sleep. I tossed and turned. We watched tv. I would be able to fall into a sound sleep and would jerk awake. Then, I had to run to the bathroom to throw up. Honestly, I think that had more to do with dinner than anxiety since Paige wasn't feeling so hot either.
Finally, at sometime after 1:00, I drifted off. It makes me sad/tired/weary. Thankfully, I have an amazing boss who let me come into work at 9:45 rather than 8:00. Plus, I could've stayed home today, but it isn't good for me to be alone after such a hard night. Not that I'm in any sort of danger, it's just easy for anxiety to creep in and overtake me when I'm alone.
So here I am. Tired of being ashamed of my anxiety. Tired of wishing for it to leave me alone. Tired of feeling like it's bad that I have to take medicine for it. It's time to start living and trusting the Lord.
That's where you come in. Please, please, please be praying for me. I believe in the power of prayer. Pray that I become better at trusting the Lord. Pray that my first reaction is to lean into Him rather than doubt His love for me and ability to help me.
Also, it's probably less-than-smart for me to share this so early, but the Lord gave me this idea a month or so ago. I want it to really turn into something. Whether that's an online campaign or tshirts or whatever, I don't know. I haven't looked to make sure there aren't other people doing it. I haven't developed a business plan or gotten a copyright.
I was in bed one night, and these words just popped into my head, "and then, light!" I just need you to know - things get better in the morning time. Whether it's anxiety, depression, a mistake, or a hard circumstance, the Lord will bring light and is Light. He created light and shines light. He brings light in the morning. He is our hope - even when I feel the complete opposite. So, there it is. We'll see what comes of it.
You are loved and valued and precious and not alone.
Thank you to the ones who help me through it. I love you and am forever grateful.