6.07.2011

It's Secret Time...

Here ye Here ye.
As you all know by now {if you actually read this sucker} is that I like to keep things light/funny/awkward/and totally awesome around these parts...
but today, I am switching gears for a second.
Today I am going to try my best to be serious-to talk about something close to my heart-and to hopefully let others out there know-you are not alone.
Ever since the beginning of this little blog, I knew there would come a time when I would feel the need to talk about this. And welp, today is the day.

So here we go...{insert nervousness about the fact I am about to bare all}
{also insert the fact that this will most likely be looooong, sorry Charlies}.
Last year I started experiencing a little thing called anxiety.
But there was nothing little about it.

It came in overwhelming doses, and played out in panic attacks on several occasions.
For me, the panic attacks consisted of my heart beating a thousand times a minute {or so it felt}, feeling out of breath, shaking, and the feeling that I was either going to pass out or die.
To say it was unpleasant is an understatement.
It was AWFUL, frightening, and all-consuming.

Once I had my first panic attack, the only thing I could focus on was not having another one.
And if you know anything about how our brains operate, the more we consume ourselves with thoughts like the above, the more likely it is to happen.
So I would have another panic attack, and then another..
This lasted for months..
It would force me to leave work on occasions,
wake up with a stomach ache from fear and nervousness about what was to come that day,
and it left me in tears night after night.

I was worried that I would never feel "normal" again,
I was scared that my husband suddenly thought I was unstable and would no longer want to be with me,
I was nervous that I would have to get on medication {which is a HUGE deal for somebody like me who hesitates to even take an ibuprofen},
I was angry to feel like I no longer had control over my own emotions, and
I was frustrated knowing that I was allowing my anxiety to enable me to do things I knew I was capable of.
I searched for answers-scoured the Internet in hopes of finding solutions {which included snapping a rubber band on my wrist any time I thought a panic attack was coming on, switching from coffee to chamomile tea in the mornings, and prayer.
{Lots and lots of prayer}.

I held on to every word that somebody else would speak about suffering from this same condition, and took so much comfort in knowing I was not alone.
Thankfully, this season of my life passed and while I do not suffer daily like I did for awhile,
I do experience these same feelings on occasion.
For me-I had to fix my "idle" mind-
fill it with happy thoughts, things that made me excited, and creative outlets
{insert the birth of this blog}.
Betcha never thought this whole thing came into play just to beat anxiety did ya?

While I never wish to go back to that moment and hope for others that you will never experience it,
 I am thankful for several reasons that I did.
I am thankful for the moments that it forced me on my knees to pray,
I am thankful that my heart has softened and hurts for those who suffer from this condition, and I am excited that I can help be a resource to somebody else.
If you are currently experiencing this, you are not alone.
Even that "Easy-going, never stressed, laid back girl who blogs about all things funny and happy" knows exactly how you feel.

It can and will be overcome.

Please talk to me. 
I would love to hear from you and be your partner in crime in kicking this little thing called anxiety's booty.

Last but not least-here is a song that I fell in love with during that low season.
I had the honor of seeing JJ Heller in concert months ago and before she sang this song she told the audience why she wrote it. Turns out, she was suffering from the same exact thing-panic attack after panic attack. Her words spoke so true and brought so much comfort.
Even to this day as I listen to it, tears roll down my face as I think about how thankful I am to have overcome it-but also as I hurt for those who are still hurting.
 JJ Heller "Your Hands"
I love you guys and I hope you still love me...

Anxiety and all ;)

Thank you for reading...just don't expect to see a lot more of this in these parts ;)

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31 comments:

  1. Aw thanks for sharing! While we all enjoy upbeat posts, it's not real life if you don't post struggles as well..so props to you for conquering your fear and sharing! I'm so glad you are doing better with them. I get anxiety in certain situations..not bad or anything..but I think all girls can relate one way or another!

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  2. Erin, I also suffer from anxiety, which before I knew what it was, caused me to go into a deep depression. I love that you shared this. Things like mental illnesses are still not widely accepted in today's society. I know what it's like to suffer from anxiety and TOTALLY agree it's worst when your mind is "idle."

    Things I've found that helps me is Yoga and practicing being mindful.

    I don't think there is a cure but you learn to find a new normal and ways to cope and prepare yourself for certain situations.

    Thanks for sharing Erin-makes me feel like less of a weirdo :)

    P.s So glad blogging is helping your anxiety but for me, It caused way more! Goes to show that everyone deals with things differently and needs a different solution.

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  3. First of all, I am SO SORRY I am so far behind on reading your blog...as you know my mind has been wrapped around other things this past week.

    Secondly, I've dealt with anxiety too. While I have not had full on panic attacks...I have had doctors appts just to discuss the amount of anxiety I deal with. I'm a worry wart - plain and simple - and sometimes it sucks. Just like you I've had to find creative outlets for my anxiety - exercise and eating right also helps for me. Praying works wonders. My mind races at night...that can be the worst time.

    Anyway girl...you are NOT alone.

    Hugs.
    Jamie

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  4. Erin,
    Thanks for sharing and being transparent about your anxiety. Obviously, you are not alone here! I still deal with anxiety issues (I've had issues with anxiety since high school), as even last night I had my husband pray for me as I was having an anxiety attack before bed. Mine are a little different but very hard to explain.
    Our ultimate Healer is only one prayer away!

    XO

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  5. I won't go into my whole story on this comment, because it's long too :) But, I just wanted to add that trying medication to help is not as bad as it seems. I totally connect with you on the "hesitating to even take ibuprofen" thing, I'm the same. I would rather suffer than put medicine in me! However....my doc suggested I try medication and it has totally changed my world for the better. I finally feel normal and balanaced again. Just a thought :))

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  6. Erin - I did not realize that your anxiety attacks were that frequent and severe! I feel like a failure as a mother because I didn't realize what you were going through! You certainly covered it up well. Anxiety is such a common human affliction - it has caused me to go through severe bouts of insomnia, having stage fright, and having a general lack of confidence in myself. It took me 50 years to really work through it - Satan really loves us to feel this anxiety. Keep praying and keep your head up - and you are not abnormal at all! I love you.

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  7. Its so brave of you to share your secret... I know how hard it is to deal with anxiety disorders, I too suffer and its the worst feeling.

    Youre an awesome person for sharing this with all of us - We love you a little bit more now!

    xo Teresa
    www.teresalifeandstyle.blogspot.com
    ps. I am hosting a giveaway at my blog, check it out.

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  8. Erin - Thank you so much for sharing you heart! I deal with anxiety too, even more just within the last year or two. Anxiety displays itself genetically within my family as well in different ways. I have had anxiety attacks since living in Arizona, partially because I have a fear of no family here to help is something did go wrong. I always think, "what if?" and freak myself out. It's not a good way to live. It takes a lot of prayer and breathing and time to overcome. Thanks again for sharing!

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  9. E- I"m so proud of you for fighting back against your anxiety and for being such an encouragement to everyone around you! You are so beautiful inside and out, and you truly make the world such a better place just by being you! Love you sis!

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  10. Thank you for writing about this!! I had anxiety after a terrible break-up, and I too would wake up with a stomach ache, nervous about absolutely nothing. Luckily, I never had panic attacks, but I did need medication for awhile. That wasn't so fun.

    I think you are way cooler since you wrote this! It makes the bubbly part of you shine even brighter!

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  11. hi. :)

    I am a newish follower & have been loving reading. And I love your blog even more now that you've shared this.

    I was diagnosed w/ Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder at age 11...

    and over 13 years later it's something I still struggle with. I've been on meds for 13 years. And there have been times when I tried to go off it but could not and struggled mightily because it made me think that I didn't trust God enough, didn't love Him enough.

    But it's a part of me, and like you I agree it has made me more compassionate-- it has driven me to my knees and ultimately made me stronger.

    email me if you ever need to chat.

    <3 erika @ rougeandwhimsy.blogspot.com

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  12. Really good post!

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  13. You are so brave and I'm glad you take a proactive approach to get ahead of your anxiety. It's amazing how and why things happen but I know without a doubt that this is preparing you for being a mother someday:) Soon please? Love you girl and I'm always here for you!

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  14. Oh, I can definitely relate... I'm currently doing better, but it's like you never know when it might sneek up on you again. One positive thing that it has brought into my life, though, is a closer/"God you HAVE TO help me" relationship with Him. I know I can't make it on my own, but God has ALL the power. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. I have anxiety too. A round of some cognative behavioral therapy REALLY helped. she had me keep a worry journal where i'd write the worry (i don't think i locked the front door, for example), the worst case (i didn't lock it, i'm an idiot, someone will break in, my husband will blame me for the break in and leave me and I'll end up living in a cardboard box), and the most likely outcome (i prob did lock it, even if i forgot, the likelihood of anything happening is small, even if there is a breakin we can handle it, etc etc). it really helps (wow. that's a long comment. with lots of parenthesis)

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  16. Erin... thank you so much for sharing this. I am just now reading it. I struggle with anxiety too, and have since I was 12 years old. For ten years I just assumed that everyone's heart beat the way mine did and experienced panic attacks the way I did. I would wake up crying and not know why. Thankfully I discovered that I didn't have to feel this way. In my case, medicine was a viable option, as was seeing a therapist. Today I feel so much better, although I still struggle with some sort of anxiety every single day. It's nice to know I'm not alone!

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  17. Thanks for sharing! I suffer from anxiety from time to time..not as much panic attacks as just worrying day in & out & a little depression. This was very honest & brave of you to post. :)

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  18. I think this is a great post. Inspiring to those who have dealt with it. I always say, if you have never experienced it, you can't understand it. I battled it for a few years as well, I'm sure many people will find this helpful. New follower, great blog :)

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  19. I too suffer from Anxiety and depression. It's one of the hardest things I've ever been through. People don't understand it and don't treat it like a 'real' medical problem. I'm on meds (Prozac) which really helped but I'm still working on getting through this and the worry that it will come back again. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. Thank you SO much for sharing this. I had tears welling in my eyes while reading this. I know how hard it is to write a blog post like the one you have written because I also started my blog to one day open up and create awareness about suffering from Anxiety and Depression.

    You might be interested in them: http://unspokenconversationsbykirstyarnold.blogspot.com.au/search/label/All%20things%20Health%20and%20Happiness

    I too, am also grateful for going through Depression and Anxiety because it's definitely put things in to perspective for me. I know longer sweat the small stuff.

    Having said that, I hope that I never have to go through it again.

    You are such a beautiful person.

    Thanks for making me laugh and helping to create awareness :)

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  21. So sorry you went through such rough times. I hope it's a ton better these days. I've suffered from depression for as long as I remember but never realized what my problem was until a couple of years ago. I haven't yet found the guts to talk about it with many people. Still feels embarrassing even though these things aren't our fault. Thanks for sharing!!

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  22. Just stumbled onto your blog through another blog this morning, and almost immediatley found this post. Actually, I read the Giuliana and Bill post first, because I ADORE them (so jealous you actually got to speak to her, btw), then I read this one. I was diagnosed with an anxiety/panic disorder when I was 17 years old (almost 29 now) and, girl, let me tell you, life hasn't always been a walk in the park. I've gone years and years with no issues, but the last year has been awful. Stress, worry, etc. have just brought it all to the forefront again. Gross. Anyway, I'm glad to know you've conquered it. So many never do because they're too embarassed to ask for help or talk about it. So you go, girl! Oh, and you're a hoot and I would have started following your blog even if we totally didn't have so much in common. Haha!

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  23. I was exploring your blog a little more today, when I found this post. I love it. I too have major anxiety and I am so glad to read about someone else who has experienced the same thing :)
    Myranda
    www.prettylivingpdx.com

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  24. Omg so let me tell you, anxiety is the worst. A few months ago I was home alone one night and had a panic attack out of nowhere. My first one. I rushed to the ER and they thought I was nuts and didnt understand what was wrong with me. Stupid Germans. Thank god for Google because all my symptoms added up to an attack and for weeks I couldnt stop thinking I was going to have another one and freaking myself out everynight when hubby left for overnight shifts. Its the craziest feeling. I finally went to the doctor and got put on something for anxiety and its been sooooo much better. But I totally thought my husband was going to leave me for being crazy. I felt like I was never going to get better and that I wasnt in my own body. Im always the most carefree person and to go to such an extreme with anxiety is so bizarre. Sooooo happy to hear someone else felt just like I did/do. It makes me feel less like a crazy person!

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  25. Wow Erin! I'm amazed to read this. I've been reading your blog and laughing hysterically (duh) and happened to click on this link. I am so encouraged by this. It's like He knew I needed to read this. This summer I found out I have generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. It has been a rough 4 months. Ive been to the emergency room so many times. But PTL I haven't felt any palpitations or chest pains in 2 weeks!!! Actually, I have fallen in love with blogging this past month. And have found it as a way to rest, and express myself creatively, and take my mind off my body and all I'm feeling! Crazy, that your blog was birthed out of that, too. The Lord is teaching me so much through this and has been so faithful to me. Reading your post today is such a blessing and a gift from the Lord today. Thank you. :) Thanks for being raw and vulnerable sister.

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  26. It's nice to hear someone talking about this, as most of the time it's kept private. I have panic attacks as well, and when I get nervous or put into overly social situations I also break out in hives. It's awful, and people always point out the fact that I'm developing red dots all over my chest and face, which makes it so much worse. It makes me want to never go anywhere. I haven't found any pills that help. It's so strange to all the sudden develop anxiety having been fine my whole life.

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  27. You ROCK! Anxiety is so much more common than I ever thought. I don't have full blown panic attacks often but I do really work myself up about things, I mainly have bad health anxiety which I have good and bad phases with {I'm currently in a good phase...GO ME!} and I definitely think knowing there are other people who have the same problems as I do is so helpful and reassuring.

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  28. You are so brave for sharing!! The last full-on panic attack I had was about 6 months ago and I seriously felt like I was dying. I would say it pretty much topped have melanoma surgery!! I've started taking yoga and it has definitely helped with my anxiety. Learning how to breath and calm myself down has been invaluable.
    I love your blog and you! Just know that things will come into perspective soon, life is constantly changing and we just have to find the new balance that goes with the change :)

    Bri

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  29. Congratulationsns for taking control. I'm a new reader to your blog and this post hit home with me. Been there :) stay positive and your brave for sharing :)

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  30. One of my favorite songs!! I actually like most of JJ's songs!! Wishing you lots of luck on controlling it all!

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  31. YES to this post! I went through the same thing last year, and a lot of the same emotions. I'm so glad that more people are talking about this (and I talk about it on my blog quite a bit too) so that we can remove the stigma about mental health.

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I read and appreciate every one of your comments. Thanks for stopping by my space and sharing a piece of yourself on this huge ole internet. I meant that in the least creepy way possible. I'm just good at making everything awkward. Anyhow, thank you for your comments. They make me smile :)