I woke up this morning, thinking that I needed to blog about anxiety. I wasn’t clear why, until I realized it was World Mental Health Day.
My mental health journey has been an interesting one. From my family’s experiences, dear friend’s struggles, to my own battles.
I absolutely LOVE that we, as a society, are finally recognizing these struggles as illnesses. Maybe now, those who need the help will feel comfortable enough to seek it.
My journey with anxiety has been a lifelong one.
I’m starting to believe it could be environmental, hereditary and even possibly linked to poor nutrition.
I grew up in a very chaotic home as a child.
Early on, I was diagnosed with IBS, acid reflux, you name it. All because I couldn’t actually eat. I would try, but my body wouldn’t allow the food to be digested. Looking back, I now know, it was due to the crazy high amounts of stress my poor body was forced to endure daily.
I recall trying to go to kindergarten, and my Grandma insisted I eat something before I went. Sometimes, I could get down a couple spoonfuls of chicken noodle soup. Only moments later, I’d cry and think I was going to throw up. Many mornings, I walked to school chewing gum to calm my system.
I remember, as a teenager, feeling my heart beat out of my chest, as I walked home from middle school. I thought maybe I was out of shape, so I began to run the track and play tennis that summer. It helped, but I now realize, the exercise very likely calmed my nervous system and regulated my heart.
My adult life has been an array of “episodes “. That’s what I have grown to lovingly call them.
Each episode takes me to a place I have never ventured into before. But, through my unwavering faith and determination to beat this demon, I have learned so very much.
My purpose in writing this today is to help you or a loved one live with some of the same. ♥️
It’s a quiet battle, and sometimes shameful for some.
I often refer to anxiety as a demon. As it can feel like a monster at times. It seems to come out of nowhere, you try to fight it, but then…it grips you like a snake choking its prey.
And, there you sit, trying to frantically figure a way out of it’s suffocating grasp.
My first real bout with what I refer to as“insanity” was about 5 years ago, after an emergency dental surgery. I had an infection in my wisdom tooth and it had to be removed. I had never been put under before and was literally terrified to do so. I now know so much about my childhood and believe my health related fears stem from the lack of care in my formative years.
I was feeling pretty good about things until I had a reaction to the antibiotic I was on. I literally spun out of control.
I was petrified to live.
“What if it’s something else”, “what if this, that”….the anxiety was so strong, it kept me up for days.
I got better , got over it, learned a lot and moved on.
Until the next random wisdom tooth infection no more than 2 years after. That was worse than the first.
I describe my bouts with health related fear as terror.
I feel out of control, shaky, broken, and disheartened.
It’s like this black cloud that just won’t clear.
I moved through life for many years, healthy and calm, until this past summer.
Like I said, demonic.
It’s as if Satan is watching and knows you’re healthy, strong, empowered and all is well. It’s as if the snake is just watching…waiting to strike.
This past August, I had some unexpected, unexplained female issues that just didn’t add up to me. In following my intuition, I went to my Dr., thinking I was just over exercising. Only to be told I needed a uterine biopsy.
The word “biopsy” in itself caused mania to rise inside of my already taxed body.
Long story short, it came back normal and all is well…my last blog talks in detail about that journey. However, in between working, meeting with friends, grocery shopping, and putting on my best face for the world, there was darkness everywhere.
My husband, children, and in laws are humans I hold in the highest regards.
They know me and more importantly, love and accept me for who I am.
I am blessed beyond measure to have the support system that I do. Along with a few treasured friends whom I can be raw with.
And in total honesty, I am not sure I would I have gotten through this last battle without them.
After losing my Dad, about 4 years ago, I had an awakening.
In grieving for him, to the point of crying on my knees one afternoon, I was able to see why he lived the way he did.
That poor man was suffering.
In his generation, Men were supposed to be strong and not cry or feel, right?
He didn’t have yoga, cbd oil, massage therapy, therapists, a huge support system, or the ability to talk about his demons.
I believe his intense, life altering anxiety drove him to alcohol. For, He needed the rest.
Unfortunately, the anxiety and inability to deal with, and manage it…took away the quality of his life. It destroyed his family, any friendships he tried to manifest, along with his ability to work.
My brother, Alan, also couldn’t take the noise. The kindest, most gentle man. The pain of others that he carried on his shoulders, the constant noise, the fear. Also, no support system, no way to find means to help him…he turned to antidepressants and vodka. The cocktail that he overdosed on one night that ended his young life. For 36 years, he fought the good fight, but the demon won.
After seeing this, recognizing these men’s struggles, even as a young woman…I was determined to win.
I have accepted the fact that this is my battle. We all have one. Or many. I will have to be on top of my mental, physical and spiritual health throughout my life….in order to live it fully.
My last episode, in August, has taught me the most.
Let me share…
My work led me into neglect of all the healthy things I know I must do. I said “yes” to a showing, instead of a massage. I said “yes” to a gin and club instead of green tea, in essence, I said “No” to my balance and well being.
The same day I called my Dr., I began a detox.
What I mean by that, is of everything unhealthy for me.
Acquaintances, foods, sugar, my running and intense exercise routine, saying “yes”, and the main detox was of my mind.
I left the hamster wheel for a period of time.
I got back to nature and rekindled my strong relationship with my God. I ate only healing foods, I stripped my life of the noise, and unhealthy friends.
Now, I get that not everyone has the opportunity to do these things. My career allows me to set my own schedule and I am so thankful for that.
However, August was a reminder.
It was a loud voice reminding me that my mental health is affected by multiple exterior elements.
Did you know that certain supplements help ease anxiety and depression? Did you know that just 30 minutes of exercise a day can boost your mood? Did you know that an epsom salt bath allows your body to absorb magnesium, which is a calming factor? If your hormones are off, your anxiety levels can spike? The list of factors that affect it are many!!!
I truly believe it was a wake up call from above and so, I listened.
My God told my body to whisper.
We have this one body that houses our precious soul. Why wouldn’t we put all of our energy, time and money into nurturing it more than anything or anyone else?
So, back to anxiety.
I have still managed, through my delicate diet, yoga and meditation practices, love for self, and protection of my time to avoid medication for my anxiety. I am not opposed to it, it is just what I prefer. I truly believe that our symptoms are warning signals from our bodies that something isn’t right, and I prefer to have those unfiltered.
That being said, I have close friends that have chosen medication, and it has enhanced their quality of life.
It has allowed them to show up, to work, and to get some rest.
I can only live my life with the knowledge and experience I have been blessed with.
I can only pray that those who battle the demons of mental illness realize that it’s OK!!!!
It’s so ok to not be ok!!!
We are human BEINGS….ever changing, growing and sometimes just trying to survive in an uncertain world.
Empower yourselves against the monsters by being proactive with your health!
In all ways, my friends.
My perfect prescription for overall well being is clean nutrition, weekly chiropractic adjustments, bimonthly massages, the proper supplements for your unique self, quiet time, yoga or meditation, exercise, sunshine, a strong support system, and your God🙏
There is power,
And there is Hope when there is God💜
To all of the warriors….
I see you, I send my love to you, and I pray for you to have the courage to fight.
May the world know how incredibly strong we all are and may those who love us offer us understanding, kindness and grace.
I dedicate this blog to my brother, Alan and my Dad.
I miss you , I love you, and I promise to never give up✔️
Blessings and so much love,