Over the past couple weeks I have been discussing my struggles with anxiety and depression. It is a battle I have been fighting since high school, though I was only diagnosed six years ago. Some people may think that I am over sharing but I think that this is a very important topic to bring up for several reasons. One reason is to help remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues that cause people to keep their struggle to themselves. I think it is unfortunate that people tend to hide their struggles or feel ashamed about them. This prevents the people that love them from being able to step up and help or share their own struggles as well. Now I know that present myself as if I have it all together (HA!!!) and that I am a perfect wife and mother (just kidding!!) but no one is perfect. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE! In fact I think it is safe to assume that everyone you know is or has been fighting some kind of battle in their life whether they choose to share it with you or not.
On a normal day to day basis my anxiety and depression has very little impact. I have done a lot of counseling, take medication and try to maintain a balanced lifestyle that supports my mental health needs. Several times a year though I am caught in a full on battle for my sanity. The main thing that helps me get through these times is being able to talk about it!
So let's talk. Yesterday I had a nervous breakdown at Target. Yeah, it was awesome. I woke up feeling terrible because I had severe back pain. After going to the chiropractor I decided to pick up some food and christmas presents. While shopping I had about a million anxious thoughts in the span of twenty minutes, Aria was upset because she wanted to play a game on my phone but the phone froze leaving her screaming (and me screaming inside my head) as the annoying song looped over and over. I considered leaving my cart full of stuff and just going home but convinced myself I could do it. I didn't need to get everything on my list, just purchase what I already had and finish the other shopping at a later date. I specifically chose a check out lane that looked like it would be quick so I didn't have to explain that I was about to loose my mind...literally. After I told the woman which items I needed gift receipts for she was told by a manager to switch spots and I was left with an elderly woman I would NOT have chosen at this moment in time. (Please know that I love people of all ages dearly and normally would have loved to interact with this woman) I did manage to make my purchases and get us safely home before completely breaking down into tears.
Joel left work early to take care of Aria so I could sleep and relax. Joel took care of Aria all day, made dinner and put Aria to bed. I called Grandma Rose and Aunt Cindy to see if they could provide any extra help with Aria this week. They came and picked her up today, will come to help tomorrow, always have her on Thursdays and my mom will be here on Friday. All of this help came the second I asked for it. I am so glad that I feel safe enough to discuss my anxiety and depression so that when I am in the midst of a battle I can call in reinforcements and people come to help! I am so blessed to be surrounded by people who love and support me.
Last night I spoke to Joel's dad who is a counselor and he advised me to go to the doctor to discuss my medication. I went this morning and the doctor wants me to increase my Citalopram from 20 mg to 40mg a day and prescribed a month of Valium that I can take as needed to calm my anxiety and help with the back pain. He also wants me to make sure I am exercising and wants to do a follow up with me in a month.
In the future I hope to find more natural ways to help my anxiety and depression but I know that I need help right now. So there you have it. That's how I am doing right now. Not great. But I am not too proud to admit it and I'm not too proud to ask for help.
If you are fighting a battle of some kind please talk to someone about it, a loved one or a counselor, you don't have to struggle alone.