Two weeks ago I got up in the morning to get the big boys ready and out the door to hockey camp. Jay went off to work at the farm, and it was just me and Jonathan at home. I felt off and weird, but I didn’t know why. I figured if I had my coffee and made Jonathan some breakfast, I would start feeling better and get going with my day.
I drank my coffee, and it made me feel infinitely worse. I felt shaky and nauseous, and parts of my body physically felt numb. I had never felt like this before and had such a physical manifestation of my anxiety symptoms. I was so incredibly nauseous I was on the verge of throwing up many times, so much so that I had to take a Gravol to settle my stomach. All I wanted to do was to lie down and just wait for it to pass, and for me to feel better. So I laid down on my bed while Jonathan watched a show and must have sensed I needed a gentle touch, because he was such a calm and soothing presence (which never happens with a 3 year old boy).
I shared these thoughts on Instagram, but turned off the comments because I didn’t want to be bombarded with a barrage of “try this, try that, could be this” type suggestions. I know myself and whenever I’ve felt like this, it just passes on its own and then I feel much better. I really like to share my anxiety experiences on social media, because I know that I’m not alone and I like others to know that they aren’t alone either if they ever have these feelings too.
I knew that I needed to snap myself out of these horrible feelings I was having, and I hoped a shower would help—it usually does the trick. It was really hard to get up and shower; I don’t know how else to describe it. It was like my body was full of lead and it took every ounce of effort to turn on and get in that shower. I did my hair and I wasn’t feeling better. In fact, I felt worse. It was lunch time at this time and I forced myself to eat something in hopes of settling my stomach and to take care of Jonathan, of course.
Like a Kidney Stone, It Has to Pass
Why wasn’t this passing? It had been hours and I wasn’t feeling better, I was feeling worse. Usually my anxiety or panic attacks are very short lived, I can find my rational brain to talk myself down and through it knowing that it will pass and these feelings are fleeting. Not this time. Have I mentioned that I could NOT stop crying? I pulled myself together to be with and care for Jonathan, but I’d sneak off and just cry hoping that it would help to release my anxious feelings.
Jonathan was settled watching a movie and I opened up my bible app on my phone and searched anxiety and started to pray. I prayed/begged God to take these feelings away and asked Him why this was happening. Then I suddenly had the urge to text my therapist and asked her if she had any time available to see me this week. The next little bit is foggy to me, I don’t remember a time or a moment when it all passed and the fog cleared, but it did. And I was just…better.
My therapist texted me back and gave me some appointment options and I chose two days later in the evening. Find a good therapist—seriously. I don’t see her on a regular basis, I see her in “acute crisis” mode, and it’s what works best for me. I saw her weekly in the beginning so she could get to know me and my history with anxiety, but now I see her only when I really need to. It is so incredibly important (to me) to have an unbiased 3rd party opinion on the goings on in my life. I use her to debrief from my acute situation and we talk it through. Why it happened, why it needed to happen.
I’ve always, vaguely, shared that the number 1 trigger for my anxiety spikes is my (extended) family relationships. I finally had a really positive breakthrough with my family, but apparently it was still a lot for my brain to process. That, combined with caring for 6 boys the previous afternoon at hockey camp just set me over the edge—loud noise and overall crazy really triggers me too. My therapist figured my body needed a way to release all my nervous energy, and that’s why my attack happened.
Own Your Anxiety
I’m always very open and honest with my husband about what’s happening and why. I texted him that I was riding the struggle bus that day and that it just plain sucked and I couldn’t shake my feelings. He wished he could do something to help, but I told him I knew it was just something that had to pass on its own, but wished it would hurry up.
I really believe in owning up to your anxiety—let others around you know you’re having a rough day and that you need some space. If you need more than space, ask someone for help and/or to take you in for more help. Mental health is not less important than physical health; often I think it’s more important.
Take care of yourselves, friends.