It’s the New Year! For many of us, we are at that point when we look back on all that happened in our lives this past year. We look back on the things we did, the things we are thankful for, and the things we hope to change in the new year.
2018 started off wonderful for me. Starting a new year as a newlywed gave me so much hope for the future and our life together. I was setting goals and meeting them, going to the gym consistently, trying new things, and eating new foods. It was awesome!
The last half of 2018 was particularly hard on me. I had some major changes happen at work in July that left me unsteady emotionally. Shortly after, my mental health started to decline as I began to really struggle with anxiety. I have dealt with anxiety for a long time, but it had always been manageable until this point. I started having panic attacks and found myself unable to go places because I would get physically ill. Even casual things like going out to dinner with my husband would put my anxiety on the fritz. It is exhausting to be inside your head arguing with yourself about every little thing.
It’s even harder to open up about it to someone who doesn’t understand, because it’s irrational and all in the head. Some people think that anxiety is just an excuse for someone who doesn’t want to do something. Let me assure you, it is not. I do not want to be this way. I don’t want to cancel plans with my friends because my anxiety won’t let me leave my house without getting sick. Or have a panic attack because I went out to dinner instead of getting it To Go and eating in the safety of my home. I can’t go pick up my groceries without my heart pounding in my chest the whole way to the store.
I used to never talk about my anxiety because people who have never had it don’t understand and I was afraid no one would believe me. I felt so alone and isolated for the longest time. I think that Satan wanted me to feel that way. He wanted me to feel alone and angry at God for my struggle. He wanted me to be isolated. But I’m not alone and that’s why I am sharing this, in hopes that someone else struggling will know they aren’t alone either. I have been wanting to write this post for a long time, but I felt like I needed to have my life back together before I shared my struggle. But then I realized that maybe someone would be encouraged by my journey as I walk through it. I am never going to have it all together. But I am looking forward to that day when I will start to feel better about myself, and when I will feel stronger knowing I did whatever it took to get to that point.
So one day, late July, I finally decided I needed help. I went to see my doctor and she has tried me on several different medications. We still haven’t quite figured out the right one yet. At first I was a little wary about sharing that I am on medication, because a lot of people look down on that. But I am doing the best I can and if someone is going to judge me for that, well, then they don’t need to be a part of my life anyway. I have made an appointment with a counselor, because I want to be able to get to a point where I no longer need medication. And I have started opening up about my anxiety with my family and friends, because I want to surround myself with people who love and support me. (Side note: My husband Phil has been absolutely incredible with all this. I am so thankful to have him by my side.)
So if you are reading this and you are going through something similar, know that you are not alone. There are people out there who understand your pain, who understand how you feel, and who want to help. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to seek out help from a medical professional. If you feel that you aren’t at that point, find a friend that you can talk to about what you are going through. You are loved. You are not alone. Never forget that.
If you are reading this and you haven’t gone through this, but know someone who is, reach out to them and let them know you love them and are available to them. Sometimes people just want to know they aren’t alone in their struggles.
So as we start this new year, be a decent human and be kind to those around you. You never know what someone is struggling with. Chances are, someone is going through something similar to what you have gone through or are going through. Encourage others to push forward, to face their battles head on, and to have patience with themselves in the process. Surround yourself with people who want what is best for you. I’m rooting for you!
Also as a side note, I used the picture of the Ocean because when I get really anxious, that’s where I go in my head, and it helps to calm me down. It’s my happy place.♥