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12.20.2015

On not being okay

I have struggled to figure out how to write this, and have decided to just come out and say it.

I have anxiety and depression, which manifests itself in panic attacks, among other things. 

I am not suicidal. I don't want to hurt myself. But I feel guilty. I worry. My brain cannot stop itself from going to a worst-case scenario just this side of complete and total disaster. I worry that I am not good enough to do something, and that even trying is pointless, so why expend the energy?

This is not a new phenomenon, but I finally took the step of going to my doctor and talking about it. It has gotten worse over the last couple of years, and in the last few weeks has been fairly non-stop. I started having honest to God panic attacks. 

I truly thought I was going to die. I have never, ever in my life been so scared. My brain knew, somewhere, that it was not really that, and that I needed to pull myself together, but I just was incapable of doing that.

I am grateful for a good doctor who understands, and was able to explain that it's okay that I can't manage this, and that's why he is there, and why they make medications to help with this sort of thing.

I still feel guilty. There are so many worse things going on in the world. There are people who have problems that make mine look small in comparison. This confession is not an attempt to get attention, or meant to imply that somehow what I'm dealing with is worse than what anyone else is. But for me, this is now normal. I at least understand that there is a reason for why I can't stop the reaction, and hopefully it won't take long for things to kick in.

But part of me thinks - you used to be the person who had things together. Do you really want to admit that you don't? To say that you're not okay and that you are asking for help... that's not what strong people do. (Even when asking for help means taking a pill.)

What I'm starting to understand is that sometimes the hardest thing to do, that takes the most of the strength you have, is to say that you're not okay. I talked myself into and out of my appointment on Wednesday. But if I want to be a better wife, a better mom, a better person.... I have to do this and work on taking care of whatever is going on in my brain.

It means I have to get through the holidays, and they're stressful enough already, and figure out how to create calm in the midst of the storms of life. That's going to take time, and change (which terrifies me in a different way.)

So 2016 suddenly takes on new importance for me. A year I'm starting off by admitting there is a problem, and taking steps to correct those problems. My prayer is that by this time next year, all our lives are improved because of the change I need to make. 

Until then, I have to be willing to say "no" to some things, and not be afraid to ask for help.