1.09.2013

Get Your Seat Belts On-We're Getting Serious.

I really wanted to show up here today and write a carefree, lighthearted, make you giggle a little, type of post. Really I did. 
But what you get with me is exactly what I am feeling at the moment of writing.
Some people write their posts days in advance (oh to be that organized) for the week.
Not this girl.
I write, I hit publish, and that's that.
I've been told there is this "save as draft" button on blogger but it's not one I'm accustomed to pushing. 
All that to say, I could have great intentions during the day of showing up here in the evening and writing something that will hopefully leave you feeling a little lighter than when you showed up, but what I've discovered over the past two years of blogging is that sometimes you have to offer yourself, just as you are. And the majority of the time, it is the right decision.

I only say the majority of the time because one evening I wrote a post and mentioned how tired I was in it. That sentence caused me to get an email in my inbox that night with the subject line "you are annoying" (you always know it's good when that is the subject line..) and then went on to drop that effin f bomb repeatedly while telling me that all I talk about anymore is how tired I am. I can't help it that my wine induced, candlelit, Pandora orchestrated baths leave me a little exhausted, but they do. Sorry. 

Anyhow. 
So that's where I am at with things tonight. 
I come to you exactly as I feel. 
And that feeling you ask? Defeated. Lonely. Hopeless. And yes, maybe a little sad. 
(I say sad like I didn't fall asleep last night with tears secretly rolling down my face). 

I know I have spoke briefly on here before about anxiety and how it has impacted my life, but I don't think I have shed an honest amount of truth on how it absolutely shakes my world up from time to time.
And right now is one of those times. 

Here's the thing though. I don't think I actually suffer from anxiety. I am not a stressed out person.
I love the freakin heck out of life. I am happy, I am lighthearted, I am outgoing, I am spontaneous, and I am usually about the least uptight person out there. What I do suffer from however is panic disorder.
Full blown I can't breathe, my heart beats out of my body, sweaty palms, throat closing in, pale face, kind of panic attacks. And the funny thing is, most people wouldn't ever know.
Even my best of friends get surprised when I tell them these things. 
My husband though--he always knows when I'm mid panic attack in a group of people. 
He acknowledges it by a wink (one of those "hey, it's okay.." winks that I've come to adore, or a swift kick in the shins under the table. For future reference though I prefer the winks thank you very much..) 
Anybody else though? I am pretty good at having them fooled (how, I do not know.)
source

My panic attacks come on in any situation where I feel "trapped" so to speak.
Speaking face to face with somebody/group of people and I feel like all eyes are on me, when I am checking out a cash register, when I am sitting in a meeting, occasionally when I am driving, eating at certain restaurants, and the list goes on on and on. 
The minute my mind tells itself "hey--it would be really awkward for you to freak out right now.." 
I start freaking out. 

Little do most people know, I have suffered from this as long as I can remember.
As a child I cringed going out to eat sometimes. I hated sitting in church. Going to basketball games with my friends felt like torture on occasion. Because while life was happening all around me, I was freaking the freak out inside. 

So by now you are all saying "why in the world don't you just get on medication?!"
Well let me tell you..I'd like to think I am capable of getting a grasp on it.
I tell myself that I should believe that prayer should be enough. 
And maybe it should. But it isn't. 
So instead, I allow myself to suffer from time to time (this all comes in seasons...trust me, if it was constant, I would've started popping pills a long time ago..) and I continually tell myself "you got this..it will stop...eventually you will feel normal.."
Except a new season will come and I am back in that bottomless, lonely, depressing little hole. 

Which leads me to my next point. 
I am finally doing something about it. 
And the angels sang "halle-freakin-lujah".
Well angels probably wouldn't say freakin' but for all practical blogging purposes, let's pretend that they would. I've started doing some research on meds to take---my husband is recommending anxiety books written by cast members of The Jersey Shore (truth), and heck..I've even thrown the idea around in my head of talking to a therapist from time to time. 

I've been realizing more and more recently that the greatest power in something like this is acceptance. 
Not running...not controlling..not deceiving your mind..but accepting what is before you. 
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Just to say "Hey. These are the facts. Alone, I can't handle it. So let's do something about it."
So that's where I am at. 
Total acceptance. 
I know that I suffer from panic disorder. And it's okay. 

Yes, it brings a lot of frustration. Yes, it brings me to my knees in prayer. Yes, it makes me want to scream and kick things. But it's okay. I am happy. I am fortunate. And I am sure as heck not going to stop living this life in the most beautiful and fiercest way possible. 

Maybe some of you have never had a panic attack (I secretly hate you. kidding. kinda) and think this sounds like the craziest thing alive "Whaaaaaaat? The girl gets afraid to check out at Target when she is all alone?!?" Yes, yes I do. Or maybe you know exactly how I feel because you suffer from the same thing. In either scenario I think we both have just as much grace to extend to others in this situation. 

If you are on the side that I wish I was on, please do not be so quick to judge that somebody is "crazy" because simple tasks make their hearts go absolutely nuts. And if you are on this side of things, never stop telling somebody else who is suffering "hey it's okay..I understand, you are not alone."
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More times than not, I thank Jesus that I get to taste this all. That my heart is capable of hurting so strongly for somebody else who deals with these issues. I cry for you people because I know how hard it is. I celebrate with you people when you get through a situation that you didn't think you could. I take comfort from you people in knowing that we aren't alone. 

I love each and every one of you (yes even you..the one who sends me emails about how annoying I am..) and I am so thankful that you allow me to show up this personal space of mine every evening and throw out at you whatever my brain/heart wants me to throw out. It really is a gift and I can't say thank you enough. The support we have here is abundant. 

Okay I think I am done talking for now. Thanks for listening as always. Come back tomorrow for fun, giggles, and very unimportant topics. 

ps. isn't it amazing how good writing something out can make you feel. consider myself refreshed. 
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102 comments:

  1. I know how you feel, i suffer with a panic disorder as well, here for you anytime

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I suffer from anxiety and anxiety attacks too...I'm a happy person I just worry in the inside. My therapist helps, being on meds for awhile helped and having people who understands help. If you ever need someone to understand, I'm available for you. Adore you pretty lady!

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  3. I used to suffer from panic attacks a lot more severely than I do now. They were the worst when I was planning my wedding. Full-blown, can't-breathe, wake-you-up-from-sleeping attacks. I have no idea what brings them on, but I'm thankfully normally at home. I write this to say that even though I don't have an instant fix, I do know what you're going through. Much love

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  4. I totally understand where you Are coming from! I started getting panic attacks when I flew and traveled overseas. Now it's when I get really stressed out and pressured. Last February was a breaking point-- I had to talk to my doctor. I am so thankful for daily medication (though sometimes I truly don't feel like I have feelings from it) and even every now and then pills when I feel like I cnt breathe. Hope you are able to get it under control. I have just learned deep breaths and a glass of water help. Loving your blog as always!

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  5. sometimes i do feel a sudden panic. like i'm losing myself and don't know what to do.
    thank you so much for write this up.

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  6. I can only empathize with what this must be like for you. My brother deals with this and it is really hard on him. Seeing something like this in a family member is hard to watch because there is not much you can do. Hope you can finally get some help! Thanks for sharing your story!

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  7. i don't personally know what you are going through, as i have no personal experience, but of course i have other issues to deal with. i think that's why we all have these trials to go through- to help us empathize with, support, and lift others who may have similar problems.

    also, aren't husbands the greatest!

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  8. Sending you lots of love and as many hugs as you can handle from a girl who has suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, and all the fun that comes with them.

    I hear, ya. And we're all here to listen, help, and understand.

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  9. Wow I was just about to close out my blogger for the night and am so happy I clicked on this instead. I've recently discovered that I have anxiety and have experienced several panic attacks lately- I can relate to every single word of this. It's not something I've really blogged about, or even told many people about, but maybe I should. The funny thing is, I'm a therapist and it's my job to help people with these things everyday. Going through these issues myself has put a whole new perspective on it and at times made me feel inadequate- how can I help people if I'm suffering from the same exact thing? Well, doing exactly what you did and writing about it, not staying silent, and DOING something about it is what will help people (and yourself!) So, thanks for doing that. It takes strength! In addition to medication, cognitive behavioral therapies can be helpful and also exercise. I'm also going to try acupuncture soon, it's a little "out there" to me but supposed to be helpful. Good luck!! :)

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  10. I think it is inspiring that you are being proactive about your health. There is no shame in saying that you need assistance. No shame at all. In fact it's admirable. Some people are not strong enough to ask for help when they need it and too often it can lead to really harsh problems. Good for you!

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  11. I feel your pain! I have always been pretty outgoing but for some reason, I had a year of hell! I couldn't even go into a stor by myself without getting spots on my eyes and almost blacking out. It would start with me sweating and getting really red and quickly escalate to be frantically searching for an exit. Not sure why it happened! It was really bad for a year and I basically didn't want to leave the house. Once we moved, I was forced to function like it or not. Somehow I overcame the worst of it and now only have episodes once in a great while. I am thankful that it doesn't happen much anymore!!
    Kristin
    Rare Nonsense

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  12. I'm right there with you. I also suffer from anxiety and panic disorder. I feel you with every word that you wrote. Praying for you.

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  13. i've had two panic attacks and they succcccckeddd. my hands clawed up like a dinosaur. this is stinky for you, but press on. you aren't the only one out there who deals with this.

    in other news, i love that you post at night. it allows me to have blogging joy both in the morning and the evening. bless you.

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  14. I never knew the feelings that you have until I had Fletcher. Now I feel them daily. Thanks for sharing your heart, maybe I should find someone to talk too...

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  15. I love this. No I don't love that you have a panic disorder but I love how honest you were. This made me cry a little because its something that I deal with on a regular basis as well. Sometimes I feel like the people around me don't really get it. I don't want to take medicine- I refuse. But it helps knowing there is someone I can relate to and knows what I go through too. So thanks for that! :)

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  16. Sending you tons of love & prayers tonight. I have a panic disorder but I have learned to overcome them. Girl you are not alone and you can always email me if you need anything! And aren't husbands the best!

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  17. THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR HONESTY! I was never like that, but I felt insane pressure to be perfect and make everyone happy all the time. I will stay up at night with my stomach in knots if I think I've pissed someone off or hurt their feelings. Upset stomach, all that.
    I think it is awesome that you are letting people know that they aren't alone. I was just writing my post tonight ... 'hot off the press', not pre-written because the reality that I had an ectopic suddenly surfaces and makes me feel like I hide from my sad personality. It just sort of hits me, and I cry and wallow in self pity, and cry, and then I am exhausted afterwards.
    {Totally random, I guess ... but my point is, I get the feeling of being suddenly gripped by emotions you HATE.}
    Hugs. :)

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  18. I wish I could give you a real life hug. I wish I could say everything is going to be okay. Your hubby is awesome for understanding and being able to see it when nobody else can. I used to have panic attacks a lot more than I do now. Mostly when being confronted with anything, a direct question, a new situation, a difficult decision. As I have gotten older they have lessened although I still have very distinct(and strange) triggers. For example I can not pick a seat in a large group of people. Like say, church. I have somewhere that I sit every week and if somebody is in that seat I would rather leave than have to sit somewhere else. Or a restaurant. My husband is a gentleman and holds the door for me going into a restaurant and if he doesn't get in front of me to lead the way to a seat I start to freak out. Anyways, know that you are not alone and you are not annoying. Hugs again.

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  19. I've never had a panic attack and feel very blessed not to - it's not something I think most people who don't get them can understand unless someone very close to them gets them. You're very brave for sharing this. It's such a shame that anyone out there thinks it's even remotely okay to send someone an email like that, by the way. I'm glad you used it to fuel such a great, honest post.

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  20. oh friend, I feel your pain.
    i have also suffered from panic disorder, and those symptoms you speak of?
    spot. on.
    it's nearly impossible to describe to someone without sounding like a crazy person (the first time I tried to tell my husband about it he was all, "ok..I'll try and understand..but I really don't get it.")
    thank you for your honesty in this post.
    know that you are not alone.
    you have a (crazy large) team of people who love you and support you and have your back.
    press on, sister!
    i'm praying for you. xo

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  21. I can relate 100 % with every word. I too have this same issue and my husband is my rock through it. And like you I DID NOT want to be on medication because, well I just didn't think I was that bad. But eventually, I caved and got a presription for a small dose of xanax. and can I tell you that I had a panic attack trying to take the little pill because I was so nervous. but I did, and it helped, and to be honest, just me knowing that I had an out, that I had this little pill that when it was bad, I could take, actually kind of helped the panic attacks all together, and since getting them, I haven't had to take them very often and that was 4 years ago. So, I know where you are coming from and I know how BAD it can be to live with this. And thanks for putting your "real" self out there.

    Oh! and who emails someone and says you're annoying? that's wrong and not cool, and I couldn't disagree more!

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  22. I stand beside you in knowing exactly what you are going through. I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for years. I'm such a hypocrite because I say that mental health should be open and accepted like we talk about colds, and yet I walk around not receiving any treatment for my anxiety.

    I tried medications many, many, many years ago, but I just didn't like the way they made me feel. I would like to give therapy a try, but the task of finding a therapist I feel comfortable enough to talk to seems so daunting that I just don't have the energy to tackle it.

    I admire you for being open about your struggles, and for starting down the road towards help and healing.

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  23. I struggled with anxiety and feeling panicked after my son was born. Finally after 6 months, I got help and found a huge benefit from seeing a Christian counselor. She taught me some great coping mechanisms that I still use. Thank you for your honesty! Praying for you!

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  24. Don't have a clue what you're going through. I don't suffer from those. I do however have my own issues.

    My advice. Jesus. Always. Jesus. Start each day in His word. Do that for a month. If it doesn't work, I'll give you $20 bucks. He is always enough. He is always faithful. His grace brings an overwhelming peace. I promis.

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  25. Just wanted to let you know that I am a faithful reader and I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog posts. I would of never known this about you because of your carefree and beautiful personality, but thank you for sharing your struggles with us. You can make it through anything :)

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  26. Ps. I can't really give you 20 bucks. Husband would say "Kate, that's not in the budget" #storyofmylife #pennypinchinghusband #i'llbethankfulatretirement okay. Done hash tagging not real hash tags.

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  27. I've been there. The only way I got control of my panic attacks was to stop lying to myself and everyone else about having them. Now they're so few and far between that they almost seem worse when I get them. Regardless, I'm so thankful to not have them as much.

    I wish you luck.

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  28. This made me tear up and struck a chord in my heart. I felt like you said everything I have always tried to say!!! Hugs my friend!

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  29. I will NEVER go into a restaurant or a gas station alone. I literally become red, sweaty and shake. I feel like everyone is staring at me or out to get me. I cannot and will not relax. I have anxiety attacks about quite a few things but I try to talk myself down from jumping off that freak out ledge. It is very hard sometimes. I love reading your blog because you are so honest. Not everyone is happy, laughing and carefree 24/7. It takes a lot to admit your flaws and what you go through every day. But you are correct, once you vent, once you are honest...nothing feels better than those few seconds of relief.
    XO Brooke

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  30. I am right there with you. I was in therapy and on medication because I had anxiety and panic attacks that were truly debilitating. You can get through it. Prayer helped me a lot not to worry and be anxious over silly things.

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  31. Thanks for sharing this, Erin. I'm currently dealing with some (new) anxiety, and it's hard. Most of the time, I think I'm crazy, and it's really scary. I understand what you're going through, and it sucks sometimes. All you can do is do what's best for yourself :)

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  32. I am new to this whole blogging thing and I just want you to know that I really enjoy reading your posts. You are incredibly inspiring and brave to put such a personal story out there. So, thank you for sharing, I really appreciate it!

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  33. I get this. Every single word. I suffer from major anxiety and panic attacks :( my sweet husband is the only one who knows that I suffer from anxiety, I'm so thankful for him and the rock He is for me. I dread going t work because I'm fearful that ill get panicky. My husband prays for me throughout the day and I know it's Jesus who gets me through. This is a very lonely, discouraging thing to suffer from. I feel like if I share it with people they will think I'm crazy or weird. I would do anything not t have anxiety every day... I need to talk to a doctor and take medicine but I'm too embarrassed :( I stopped drinking caffeine to see if that would help, I think it has a bit. And this morning I started my morning out right by reading my Bible and praying for Gods strength. My anxiety was so much better today :) :) I'm looking for natural cures to help me. If you find any please share.
    && thank you for opening up.. It means so much to know I'm not alone & I'm not crazy!
    THANK YOU :)

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  34. First! I freaking LOVE you. Second, I love what you shared here. Reading what you wrote was like someone put MY thoughts on the page (screen . . . whatever). I have panic disorder, too. I, too, am not stressed, and in fact deal with stress really, really well. I do things to deal with normal stress like exercise and be in community with friends, etc. But I GET EVERYTHING YOU JUST SAID. It's hard for me to explain to people how freaking terrifying it is for me to drive on the highway. There is no reason, other than I had some major panic attacks driving on the highway a few times, and now, almost every day I drive the 30 miles to work, and the 30 miles home from work, mostly going 75+ with the flow of traffic, and all I can do is try not to think about how I am going to pass out, lose control, something terrible is about to happen.

    I? Cannot help it.

    Ahhhhhh. It's so SUPER frustrating.

    BUT! I am SO PROUD OF YOU for finally saying that enough is enough. I did that last year, and made some major changes in my life (I'd love to share, but not anywhere online) and it has been a gazillion times better. Honestly. It has. I also have read a lot about it, gotten a better understanding of WHY panic attacks happen (psychologically and physiologically), and that helped, too -- I felt VALIDATED.

    If you ever wanna talk about it, lemme know. I'm your girl. I will be in this with you. Cause, you know, it would totally help me, too. :)

    THANK YOU, again, for sharing. Hugging your neck, lady!

    xoxo,
    Gayle | Grace for Gayle

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  35. PS . . .

    I wrote this: http://www.graceforgayle.com/2012/07/fear.html
    And this: http://www.graceforgayle.com/2012/08/anxiety.html

    More to come in the future, I'm sure.

    xoxo,
    Gayle | Grace for Gayle

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  36. I myself have not suffered from panic attacks but my husband does. At first, I didn't understand it. I would just say can't you just get over it. I quickly learned that you can't "just get over it". I am now his source for working through them. Our biggest obstacle is always keeping him calm enough to not end up in the hospital. Dealing with multiple ER visits becomes a financial hardship on our family. We now do things that help him deal with them. Poor fella can't drink alcohol because of them because it enhances the chances of him getting one. I help him by taking over the drinking for the both of us :)
    Thank you for sharing. You are always so honest and that is admirable.

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  37. I have severe panic disorder, too. I think it is really brave that you have been able to avoid medication. I can't. I literally can't function without it. I build up to the point where I have SEVERAL attacks per day, every day, or an ongoing attack all day, every day. It's really crazy. So I definitely have to have meds. The meds are so mild and it took me a really long time to come to terms with the fact that I can't do it without meds. I felt weak or just bothered. But panic disorder is a legit medical ailment, so just like if you were diabetic and had to take insulin, many people with panic attacks have to take meds. Well, that's just how it helped me come to terms with it. Now I'm okay with it. But like I said, I think it is great and brave that you haven't had to get meds. I think they make it worse sometimes because maybe they can be a crutch, or maybe because your body gets used to having this pill that's takes care of the problem for you and so if you try to get off of the meds you almost can't. I go to therapy, too, but I have yet to find a really good solution for this. I have OCD, too, so it gets tricky. If you find something that works, let me know! I am hoping I will eventually "grow out of it," so to speak- like just get to be an old lady and not even give a crap anymore! Anyway, I hope you find some relief from your anxiety. From all these comments, you at least know you aren't alone!

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  38. You are not annoying! You're a real lady with a heart that cares...Unfortunately, you're like so many of us who don't care the right way. We care so much it undoes us sometimes. We get to be such a mess, we're sure we'll never get it together. You are definitely not alone! You mention church and praying and thanking Jesus....That's exactly where you need to be.

    If I can reccomend one thing it would be this: www.desiringgod.org. Go there, search anxiety (or anything really) and you will have at your fingertips answers that will make a DIFFERENCE. I promise you, it will help.,

    Hold on, there is a mighty God bigger than your panic and bigger than anything your soul decides to panic about!

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  39. You know what I do find annoying? That someone would consider this "crazy". I have never had a panic attack and do not suffer from any type of anxiety. The only way I can think to relate is that what you described is how I feel when on a roller coaster and it's climbing to the top. It freaks me out to no end and yet I'm not afraid of heights or coasters. It's just the ride up that gets me. Upset stomach, sweaty palms, want to literally jump off the ride rather than continue to the top. Hmm, I guess that is my anxiety.

    Good for you for getting this all out. Writing is so cathartic. Now go enjoy a wine induced bubble bath!

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  40. Erin, you are awesome. Thank you for sharing your struggles. Goodness knows we all have them. I also think it is so sweet that your husband knows you so well.

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  41. I hope you get this kicked to the curb as much as possible! I'm a chronic worry wart, nothing that is life impeding but I do worry more than others and I have no idea why! Good luck lady!

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  42. Thank you for sharing Erin! I started really blogging this summer as an outlet, 2 1/2 months after my first panic attack, and in the midst of having daily panic attacks or chest pains and heart palps. My summer was spent going back and fourth to the E.R. because I refused to believe they were panic attacks and thought for sure they were heart attacks or some heart condition. I started reading other blogs and found yours, and of course, instantly fell in love with your blog, all your wittiness, and the joy I felt after reading your blog. It was like watching The Office for me, which Im kind of obsessed with. And then I clicked that link in your Best of LIY about your anxiety and I felt soooo encouraged. And not alone. And like God was affirming to me once again, "It's okay. I am with you. You're not dying of heart attacks. Trust the information I've given you." and so on. And, today, again, I am so encouraged to read this. Of course not encouraged that you are experiencing this and that this is a bad season for you, for that I am so soo so sorry, but that once again, I'm reminded I'm not alone. And reading these comments, I'm surprised at how many people experience the same things. I think I am going to be on a journey with this anxiety panic disorder stuff for a while, I don't think it will instantly go away for me... but I think God is using it as a tool to do some deep rooted healing in my life. Going to an wonderful counselor has really helped me.. she helps me dig at the root of my "control" issues and fear... and getting on medicine has also really helped. I was SO reluctant to get on medicine because it just made me feel like a failure. Like I wasn't depending on Jesus enough or something. But God affirmed in so many ways to me that it was okay. It was okay to get on medicine. It didn't mean I was weak or not trusting Him. I got on Citolopram, (as well as a valium for during a panic attack) because its one of the least harsh SSRI's and have been doing well on it.. not tired or anything.. So I would recommend that & counseling.. but of course we're all different. ALso, I'm sure you already know, but alcohol can make them worse. I drank wine every. single.day before the panic attack. Wine and coffee. Those are my comfort foods. But now with the anxiety and panic attacks I can barely have any... Half a glass someitmes and i can feel my heart start beating faster, and a panic attack coming.. Hopefully, wine does the opposite for you! Since you love it so much! I pretty much bawled like a baby when I realized I couldnt drink wine or coffee.. .especially because we were living in the armpit of China and those were seriously my only physical comforts besides the Hubbs. Praying for you today and for this season to end quickly. Your a rockstar Erin. Thank you so much for sharing the raw stuff too.

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  43. wow. sorry. I didn't mean to write a book in your comment section.

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  44. I constantly worry...ALL the time. I can so relate to the feeling of "panic" and "anxiety". I have been praying for God to change my heart. I've been praying that he will let me give up control and place things in His hands. You can do this! Love the honesty behind your words.

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  45. Your not alone. I know we've talked about this before. Infact I just went through an episode of this very same thing just last week. I'm still getting through it. I'd like to talk to you sometime and give you some things that have worked for me that may too work for you. It's not fun. And I hate to see others suffer from it too. But if others didnt. Go through it, we wouldn't have others there to help us along the way that have suffered from it too wed be lost. Hang in there. It does and will get better. But again I'd love to talk to you sometime about it! ❤Kai

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  46. I suffer the same thing. Freak outs come unexpectedly, in a dressing room, driving through a thunderstorm, at work, or even on occasion while I'm laying in bed. I hated to go on medication for it and even stopped it one time and experienced them even worse. A great woman once told me anxiety medicine doesn't make you any weaker, it is just the same as a diabetic who needs insulin, I have panic disorder and have to take medicine to regulate it. It doesn't define me. I felt guilty because I felt I wasn't leaning on God enough through it but the same lady told me that it is okay to take it from both aspects: medically and spiritually. As a sister in Christ, don't get discouraged! You are stronger than you believe!

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  47. Thank You for being so honest. I'm glad you feel like you can share this with us and know that we are here for you. Even the person that thought you were annoying.

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  48. Wow what a lot of comments but thats what being honest does. It makes people want to respond. Be encouraged and continue to speak from your heart. I don't suffer from anxiety attacks however 8months ago I developed post viral fatigue which is basically the same as chronic fatigue. One day I was fine happy, busy, running around being me, the next I was ill. In bed,couldn't walk to the end of the street, couldn't get out of bed some days! After 8 months it can get you down. I just want me life back! I was asked if I wanted anti depressants or anxiety medication. My initial response was like yours...no. I'm not depressed or anxious, if I am God should be enough. But then I stopped and realised that was my pride talking. A bit like the story of the man on a lifeboat drowning when another boat comes to rescue him and he says no God will rescue me, then a helicopter comes and he says no God will rescue me, then he dies. He says to God why didn't you rescue me and God says I sent a boat and a helicopter! So I filled in the questionnaire ready to accept that if I needed medication God would show the doctors that. Will be praying for you and pray you will feel his strength with you at times of need. Xxx

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  49. Thanks for your honesty. Ill be praying that you find the right solution to get it under control!

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  50. Awesome post! Thank you for being so true and honest!
    And I think you are awesome and you rock! Panic attacks and all!
    Next time when you feel one creeping up on you, close your eyes, imagine the panic attack standing in front of you and say "screw you! I rock! I don't need you trying to break me! And I know I am awesome because Johlet told me so!" And open eyes!
    I am sure you will feel much better after that!
    *big hug*
    http://johced-ourjourneytoeverywhere.blogspot.com/
    xxx

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  51. Powerful post! While I don't suffer from anxiety, I do suffer from OCD. Something I manage to keep hidden from everyone around me. I've chosen not to confide in friends because the one time I did, my friend made it quite clear how "strange" my thoughts were, and for a few days I really felt like I was a freak. Like you I am a pretty positive person and I love life, but some days, I just feel so alone in this stupid thing that I know is all in my mind. I think the worst for me is that it makes me feel so out of control, and it ruins moments that I want to enjoy sometimes. Even though I do the things I'm "afraid" of, it's something I am always conscious of and I find I have to keep my mind really busy to get some relief from it. I don't know what anxiety feels like, but I do know what it feels like to not be in control...my heart goes out to you and other who suffer from anxiety.

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  52. I have panic disorder as well and boy can I relate. I must say that I am on meds and they've helped me a lot! But i couldn't agree with you more that just accepting the fact and that PD is just a part of who you are, is the best remedy there is. Panic Disordered Girls Unite! xo

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  53. I can totally relate. For the longest time I thought it was a self image problem. Why can't I go to the pump and get gas in my car? Why can't I look at the cashier without sweating unless husband is with me? And my biggest question, why don't I know more people that struggle with this... Thank you so much. For sharing your story then going deeper.

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  54. oohhh babygirl, did you read my "if youre crazy and you know it shake your meds post?" Because you = me. Panic disorder is something I have dealt with for YEARS, and after I finally went on medication, OMG my life was changed immensely. It may not be right for everyone, but for me? Changed. my. life. I have had the worst anxiety and going on meds has changed my life. Love this post and love you!!

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  55. Thanks for sharing, Erin! It really is refreshing to see the serious side come out from time to time. Good luck with whatever path you decide to take!

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  56. Your PS comment about writing...sooooo true. Keep at it. Thank You.

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  57. Thanks for being so open, Erin. I had a panic attack in highs school when I was the new kid...ended up passing out right there on the classroom floor! Def not an ideal situation for the new girl, getting dragged out of the classroom (literally!) by her teacher. While I don't suffer from them anymore, I know the fifteen year old version of myself would have really been comforted by this.

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  58. You know how I feel about this topic, and you know that you have been such a support to me. I only hope I can be the same for you, dear. Chin up! Just remember that everything will be alright, and most importantly that it WILL pass! :)

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  59. i think a lot of people suffer from panic attacks and anxiety, it's great that you are putting this out there so others can realize- yes I should get help too.

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  60. Umm, who isn't tired these days!? haha ;) I don't think you're annoying! My opinion matters above all else anyways. Keep on, keeping on, girfrand!

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  61. You know how I feel about this, but just wanted to remind you I'm here if you need me. Give it time as well. There are a lot of options for sure cognitive therapy, desensitize training, breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, eliminating certain things from diet,etc and eventually if needed a small dose of xanax can be used too. It may take time though to find the right remedies for you but try not to feel hopeless because you are not alone, you can and will overcome this or at least learn to live a great life in spite of it!

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  62. I applaud you for being so open. God is using you to help so many others. Keep being the bright, shining star that you are and thank you for allowing me into your slice of life.

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  63. I suffer from anxiety too, so I completely understand where you're coming from. I really respect you for putting it out there like this, it makes me realize that I'm not alone.

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  64. The key is awareness, and coming to terms with it. Its is not taboo anymore and when you decide its ok, you would be amazed at how much better you feel. Imagine having these attacks as a lawyer in court... I know how you feel.

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  65. As a few other have said as well, making the decision to be on meds is not weak nor does it make you "weak in your faith". As more and more people become educated on mental health, hopefully there will be a greater acceptance of the fact that we must take care of our brain just as we must take care of our bodies. If you had an infection and needed antibiotics, you would take them. If you had high blood pressure and needed to take meds, you would take them. Our brain is no different. It does not always cooperate from time to time. Sometimes it needs meds to regulate itself, as our bodies do too. Remember that the God that created you, also gave us the wisdom to create medication that helps our bodies (and minds) function properly.

    Aside from that, I know a piece of your struggle. You are very brave to be honest and open with your readers. It is beyond appreciated! Only God knows exactly how many people's hearts you touched with this post...but I would say the above comments show a little piece of that :) You're far from alone in all of this.

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  66. I enjoy your blog because you are honest...come on now who is not tired from time to time.I consider it a good day when I feel awake for part of the day.It is life and we live it.For someone to complain about you stating how you feel is lame and if they have issues they should read a different blog.
    Whichever route you choose to take in order to solve the issues you are having, kudos for doing it but please do not feel like you have to justify how you are feeling.Best wishes on your journey to find help.

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  67. I have panic attacks as well, so I know what it's like. Sometimes, I can just be in the best mood and suddenly be overcome with anxiety. it can be frustrating, but I've learned to push through without meds and now I get them less and less.

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  68. I have generalized anxiety and just read The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne (checked it out from the library). A lot of helpful tips in there (from nutrition to exercise to facing fears head on, ways to distract yourself, etc).

    Also, seeing a therapist can help SO much (and don't worry if you need to see a couple of people before you find the right fit). He/she can help with distraction techniques and ways to make your symptoms less painful.

    Weird tip: when I had panic attacks in the past, my mom told me to push down in my tailbone (like what you would do if you're pooping, sorry that's gross I know), and that makes your heart beat slower. It really works and can help to calm you down more quickly.

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  69. I have anxiety/panic attacks too... mine come in clusters. I get them frequently for a time, and then go months without them at all. It can definitely be debilitating! I have a quick acting medicine that I take, and it really works for me -- I don't need to be on it all the time, just when I feel it coming. I hope that you find a good medication that works for you and that yours become less frequent :)

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  70. Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable and honest. In my own way, I can understand a bit of your pain. I also am a counselor (in training - almost done with my program!) and want to really encourage you to forget about the silly stigma that our culture seems to have about counseling. If you go talk to someone it doesn't mean you're weak or needy or not smart enough to do it yourself. It just means you're taking care of yourself! I wish people could think of counseling as going to the doctor. We all go to the doctor for those (not-so-fun) once a year check-ups...but we do it because we know we need to take care of our bodies. Same think for our mental health. Anyways...I'll jump down off my soap box now and just say: "Hey, thanks for posting this Erin. You're really brave."

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  71. I love this post. I suffered from social anxiety and this sounds similar to what I was going through. I just couldn't be in crowds of people I didn't know. I don't know why. Finally I realized that I couldn't live this way and I seeked help. I saw a therapist and things were getting so much better. I didn't get on meds until a year of therapy and they were very very helpful. I just needed a little bit more of a push to fully feeling like myself. I was put on a very low dose of Lexapro and it was great. I really honestly believe that talking it out is incredibly helpful. And talking to someone how doesn't show judgement or know you was the key for me. I was resistant to meds in the beginning but I knew I needed them after a year. Best decision I ever made. And realizing you need some extra help is just that much more powerful. You are halfway there. And I don't think you are crazy. I think more people suffer from anxiety/panic disorders than want to admit to. I honestly do. Good luck!

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  72. I know I've told you this before, and I'm just gonna keep on telling you: Thank you for sharing the good and the bad of your story. You inspire me to "keep it real" and keep pushing through. You and your words are a blessing to me! Sending a hug your way :)

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  73. I have a mixture of anxiety/panic attacks & reading through posts like this have helped me to feel less "crazy" and more normal. It's encouraging to know that other girls my age are feeling the same things I am and struggling with similar things as me. Thank you for sharing & I just love your blog & your passion for sharing what's on your heart whether that be serious or silly. =)

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  74. Oh I get you. I have had my share of panic attacks. I used to get them in college when I felt trapped. And sometimes, I still feel that way... like I am going to crawl out of my skin if I don't get the heck out of somewhere. But it isn't as bad as it used to be. I tend to get anxiety attacks more than anything. And I tend to have them over health issues. Any new or different thing that happened with my body would TOTALLY freak me out and send me into an absolute crazy-state to where all I would do is sit at my computer and google things for HOURS and then cry and cry after that because I was convinced that I had a brain tumor or something and would be dying.

    So after they found my thyroid nodules, I knew I couldn't handle my anxiety by myself and I started seeing an psychologist. I had tried using medication in the past to control it but I never found anything that REALLY helped that didn't have side effects I hated. The medication made me feel numb to everything. Definitely helped my anxiety be less of an issue, but it almost made it harder to be happy. But I've been in therapy for over a year and a half and it has made a HUGE difference. I'm no where near where I want to be with my anxiety but it is getting better.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with using medication. For some people, it's all a chemical thing and they just need some meds to level things out. I would just caution you because they do have some side effects and I would hate for you to be any less vivacious than you are. :) That would be a crime.

    I love your blog! Even when you're tired. ;)

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  75. We're all a little crazy, that's what keeps life interesting.

    And I love when you get all deep on us. And you say you're just a "blogger" well I'd call this "writing" if I do say so myself!

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  76. I spent a few years of my life this way. My panic was so bad I practically closed myself off...seemed everything made me nervous, made my heart pound, made me over think and sweat. It's a sucky feeling and you feel everyone around sees it! I used meds for 8 months and during that time I ironed out a few of life's issues and more importantly I trained myself to relax, to recognize peace in quiet,lonely times and awkward/crowded/one on one times. I weaned off with confidence that I run my world and not much could shake it. Here I am years later and it takes ALOT to send me to that place of panic. I have strength in my mind and deep breaths in my soul to keep me from there. It will all click for you, one day, and from there you'll be proud of yourself just like you are today and you'll go forward with your own proven techniques...xoxo

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  77. So I'm a really bad commenter (as in, I rarely comment on my fave blogs) but I just had to today. This is probably my favorite post you've ever written! My husband went through a period of panic attacks at work and it was so scary for him. He is an executive who does a lot of public speaking and presentations and was often paralyzed by the panic attacks that made his heart race. This started happening during parts of his day that had never bothered him before. So I have such an appreciation for people who suffer from this. Thanks so much for sharing this today Erin!

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  78. I'm not going to write some long story about my panic disorder. All I want to say is that you are not alone. It is so reassuring to hear that I am not the only woman in the world that deals with this. It seems when I'm at my wits end with my anxiety, a little something like this blog post comes along and reminds me that I'm going to be okay. So thank you for that. Because we are both gonna be okay.

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  79. Been there. Started in 6th grade while reading a paper to the class - got really dizzy and the room started spinning and I was taken to the nurse. It was the worst junior year of high school - I remember getting to the point that I couldn't really feel my legs anymore, and my biggest one recently was last year when starting a new project for work - at the dinner table - with all of my new co-workers. I excused myself because I noticed they looked nervous about it. (I'm kind of jealous of you for being able to hide it.) My friends from high school could tell when it was starting because I start swallowing air. Nobody since high school has caught onto that though. I also didn't get on medicine because I figured I could handle it. I'd be interested to see what you come up with on this one. My dad likes to tell me I get it from him... I smile extra-sarcastically and say thank you.

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  80. while i can't say that i know how you feel since this isn't something that affects me, i love your honesty. i also cant help but think that writing everything out the way you just did is sort of version of therapy and allows you to release all your feelings instead of holding them inside or only sharing with a select few people. this is your space and you should be able to write exactly how it is your feeling. if people don't like it, i have no clue why they are here still reading (and don't even get me started that someone would even have the gall to send you an email! i mean seriously...). in any event - i hope that you begin to feel better soon & i hope that you find a treatment plan that works for you, whatever it may be. our experiences shape who we are and you are a pretty fabulous, hilarious and caring person so you are definitely doing something right :)

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  81. I have full blown panic disorder too. My heart goes out to you! I am really in a bad place with it right now. So many people don't understand the significant difference between the biological panic disorder and everyday worrying or even situational anxiety.

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  82. I love this post. It really is soo beautiful what an incredible support system we have here. I'm thankful that you are heard, and that you are giving a beautiful, NORMAL face to people who suffer with panic disorders. I personally, do not. But I know that I have my own feelings and emotions that I struggle with. I agree, whether we understand what the others are going through, we need to support each other. Thanks for sharing your heart :)

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  83. Hi, boy wow does your post sound like me. I started having anxiety attacks in 2008 when I was making copies at my school. Soooo random. I wasn't stressed or tired or anything and just freaked the hell out. I now have them from time to time when it seems my brain has forgotten how to shut it off. And then, once I got the attacks under control, it started coming out in other ways like jaw clenching, headaches, diarrhea, not eating, oh yeah it's great. I'm now pregnant with twins and my anxiety is out of control. If I start to worry about something it controls my day and I can't get a grip. Who cares what people say. Obviously those people have never had anxiety or panic disorder. We're all human and if that particular person thinks you are annoying, tell them to quit reading your blog. That person must be way more perfect than the rest of us and I can't really relate to that, lol.

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  84. Let me first say that I'm a skimmer. I very rarely stop and actually READ blog posts. But I read yours. All of yours. Especially this one. I can understand what you're going through. I used to suffer from social anxiety a LOT and have been dealing with depression for a while. It's a constant battle just like yours seems to be. It's always so hard to come to terms w/ my anxiety/sadness when I know in my heart that I have a happy life. It seems like two conflicting lives, actually. But anyway, I hear your pain. It's rough. I'm very happy I turned to my doctor for help. It certainly isn't the be-all, end-all solution but it has helped me cope and grow a lot. Good for you for stepping up and talking about it publicly. That's not easy. And it's so comforting to know someone so together has these struggles, too.

    Also, Who the heck are these people that leave you these awful, cruel messages?!?! I cannot understand it.

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  85. Thank you for your beautiful honesty. I love that quote about accepting things...too true. Sending a hug and a prayer! Know that you're not the only one that suffers from these hidden battles...

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  86. Such a timely post for me. I suffered panic attacks in high school, fortunately not to the point that I needed treatment and I really have no idea if I would still suffer from them because I try my very best to not put myself in a situation that always was a trigger point (ex: public speaking). I do however get to a point where I'm simply overwhelmed with everything. Life, work, laundry, you name it. I'm also a huge worrier and have wondered a lot recently if I need to take something to help me get a handle on it. You should never, ever feel ashamed for seeking help, in any situation, medical or not. And as far as people leaving nasty messages?? I do not understand that at all. If you don't like it, click the box. Jesus Pete, no one's strapping them to a chair and making them read it. I've always thought that people like that (I.E. hiding behind their computer) are missing something in their own life & compensating by being nasty to others. JMO. ;) For me, I read everything you post, simply because I enjoy you and your blog. And I can't think of much that will change that.

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  87. Wow Erin, thank you so much for this post. While I have never had a panic attack before, I do have my fair share of anxiety problems that, at times, take over my life. You are such an inspiration....you really are!
    ♥ Kyna

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  88. erin,

    thank you so much for posting this. i have suffered from anxiety attacks for the past two years. i too struggle as to why i can't quite seem to beat it through prayer, exercise, diet, etc. i was very hesitant about medication, but i do believe that for whatever the reason, there are times when i need it and i've grown to accept that. whatever you decide, having supportive people in your life and a strong faith will certainly guide you through this.

    amanda kate

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  89. Good for you for sharing this! I have PMDD and it is a struggle ever month. Stay strong and take some medication-it helps me tremendously!

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  90. Girl, I know exactly how you feel. I can't even tell you the last time I ate at a restaurant or went to a movie. I just started leaving the house a few months ago after a loooong, bad stretch of time of being housebound because of my condition. It's not pretty and it's not fun, but looking through all the comments, you are NOT alone! No shame in taking medicine if you need it. There's no point in going through life wondering when the next panic attack is gonna hit. I was prescribed an anti-depressant that also helped a lot with anxiety because I didn't want to be on one of those emotionless zombie pills like some of them can make you. Sometimes you have to find more than one doctor who's willing to really listen and take your feelings and thoughts into account before quickly writing up a prescription and sending you on your way. Good luck, you wonderful woman!

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  91. Thank you for sharing Erin! I have never been able to put into words exactly what you have just said. I have some very similar feelings but haven't been able to explain them. I'm not sure my own family really understands what I go through sometimes. For some reason, I get extremely panicky about social situations. If friends invite us out for dinner, or it's time to go to my son or daughter's game, I start to panic. I can make myself attend activities for my children, but to go out with a group at night - I just can't do it. I feel terrible. People are starting to think I don't want to hang out with them, but that's not the case at all. And it doesn't make any sense to me why this is happening. I used to be a very social person. And my job is extremely social - I teach middle school students and see over 140 teenagers every day. Sometimes I really just wonder what is wrong with me. Posts like yours give me hope. I can see from all of your comments, I am definitely not alone in this. Thank you for sharing something so personal!
    <3 Angela

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  92. girlfriend, i'm not going to get all serious on you - especially after reading your next day's post. you already know that i'm a big fan! but i will say that i can relate - i even have Rx asst once in awhile - but it serves as some funny material once in awhile - that's for sure!! do what you need to do and thanks for sharing your story. xo

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  93. You are beautiful inside and out for sharing this moment of insecurity and struggle. There is a scripture where Christ states that we must take his yoke upon us because because he is meek and lowly in heart, and our burden may be made light through him. It's beautiful, and I think prayer to so powerful. Then there are those times when as the humans we are, we need immediate relief that simply isn't there and we're left thinking.... ok God.. I'm ready for help any time! This kind of struggle is real, and scary. I'm glad you shared though. Truthfully, there are some blogs I cannot read because they show nothing but perfect lives, perfect babies, perfect bodies draped in expensive clothes and perfect happiness all the time. It leaves me feeling like I'm in high school insecure next to the popular girl with the perfect life, when I am so flawed or dissatisfied. I struggle with panic attacks too and depression. a lot. In fact, there were a few summer months in 2011 that my blog was mostly posts like this (not a fun time to be a reader of mine! haha) but you know what? It is real, and by sharing this, you let me and others know that we're not alone, and that is oh so lovely. (You are not annoying :) I'll remember you in my prayers girl!

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  94. Thanks for sharing this as I know it was not the easiest of post to write and good for you to look into getting help. We all need some help sometime and can I highly suggest talking to a Christian therapist, somebody who will encourage you to go to prayer as that has been extremely helpful for me as I don't suffer from panic disorder but do have some general anxiety and prayer like you said is powerful. I will add you to my prayers as well.

    www.seetastelove.wordpress.com

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  95. I do suffer from anxiety disorder and for a long time, I thought that prayer should be enough. But then I realized that my anxiety was compounded with my frustration, fear, confusion when it wasn't enough. I've learned there isn't one solution for my anxiety disorder but with a combination of medication, therapy, prayer, and books I finally feel like I'm in a good place. I hope you are able to find a good combination of resources that helps you too.

    p.s. I'm reading "Calm my anxious heart" by Linda Dillow and I highly recommend it!

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  96. I read this post and tears came to my eyes. I know exactly what you mean, how you feel, and my heart goes out to you. I have suffered from panic disorder for 10+ years (diagnosed), but I am sure I suffered from it for so much longer, I just didn't have a name for it. For so long I thought I was crazy. I am one of the most outgoing people I know. I love to be the center of attention, and often I call attention upon myself on purpose. Why is it that I can't step into a basketball gym without full on sweats setting in? Why is it that if I have to drive long distances by myself (or now with my kids) I imagine all of the awful things that can happen. My first (and one of the top 5 of all time) attacks came while driving 75 mph down I20. By the time I pulled over into the median, my sight had gone black and I couldn't move my arms or legs. I prayed like I have never prayed before. Traffic stopped, and a nice elderly man pulled over. I am sure he thought I was having car trouble. He came to my door, opened it, and looked at me. All I could say was " Can you help me, I can't feel my arms and legs!" He took one look at me and RAN back to his car. At that point I knew I was going to die. I knew that whatever I had done in my life really meant nothing because noone was there to help me. I kept praying, traffic stopped again, and beside my car was a 4 Runner (hunter green) with 4 of the hottest guys I have ever seen. All I could do was mouth the word help over and over to them. Thankfully, they pulled over and came to help out. The first question out of their mouths was "Are you on drugs?" I was like "No but do you have some?" They didn't , but they did have water, and they were all perimedics (off duty). They called 911 for me, an ambulance arrived, and they said I had had a panic attack. They asked how much further I had to drive. It was about another hour to my parents house in Georgia. Longest hour ever. Since then I have had numerous panic attacks. Some while driving, some at home, some while sleeping where I wake up unable to move. I was on medication for a time. I didn't like the way I felt. Sure I wasn't have attacks, but I wasn't feeling ANYTHING. Not happy, not sad, not mad--just void. I decided (along with my doctor) to get off of the medicines. I have made small changes to my diet (no caffeine after about 3pm) and added running to help. I thankfully haven't had an attack in over 2 years. I still have fear, I still avoid certain situations because they used to be triggers. I still worry about strange things. Just know you are not alone in this disorder. Many people would have never believed that I would suffer from something like this, but it is real. It is hard and scary and depressing at times. I hope it helps to know that there are others out in the world like you. if you ever need to vent/whatever feel free to email me: hillarykey@yahoo.com

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  97. Anxiety/panic attacks are a lot like allergies...you don't have it all the time. There are seasons when problems related it to it flare up. And if its really bad you should seek medical treatment! I have worked in mental health for the past 5 years and while I know their is a stigma about admitting these kind of things, its a ridiculous one. If you had allergies you would not be fearful of comments or feel like people won't understand. And you shouldn't have to for this. Way to empower yourself, and others! You're funny light hearted posts make people stop and notice you but posts like this make you real, make you worth coming back to read time and time again.

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  98. Hi There - New to your blog! You seem so similar to me in so many ways :-) Nice to know theres other silly people out there in the world bringing such positive vibes! Would love to have you stop by sometime!

    My post today is all about inspiration, and positivity! Take stroll on over...
    www.latteandlegos.com

    Steph
    PS - I am actually doing a giveaway too. For an "Inspire" necklace {Lisa Leonard Designs}.

    Hope to see you around!

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  99. Hey girl, I came across this post while looking for another one, and I'm glad I did. I have some sort of panic/anxiety issue. I'm not sure what it is exactly, I have never seen a doctor about it. I have just been....dealing. A lot of the things you wrote struck a chord with me. The feeling trapped, the waiting in the line at the store (sometimes I put it off and keep wandering the store)...Obviously you have a lot of support behind you and that in turn helps me to realize that I am also not alone in this. Thanks for this post. :]

    xo Julie Ann

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  100. You are not alone. I have talked myself out of so many things because of my panic attacks. I went through a phase where I could go nowhere alone without having episodes. I can't pinpoint the moment when things got a little better for me but I can say it was with help from the lord and my husband. Best of luck to you! And you're right, I never would have guessed that was something you deal with. Thanks for sharing :)

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  101. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Your post and the comments.

    From the bottom of my heart... thank you.

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  102. Some of us hide it really really well, but you're not alone. Mine is made worse by whoremones and I go from my generally happy go lucky positive self to a harpy, sad, stressed out and sometimes literally shaky person. My doc switched my bc pill and put me on Vit B supplements instead of anti-depressants (they've greatly) and I make sure I surround myself with people who can tell me to go out side or shoe shopping if I need to. I don't pretend to know what will help you with this, but you've taken a great step in asking for help.

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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 :)