The jury is back, the verdict is in. I am crazy.
Let me explain a little better. Since last October I have been struggling with anxiety, and until I experienced it myself I never really had any idea of what it was like. I am a bit astounded at how very physical it is. As the mom of 2 boys with special needs, which include floppy airways (if only we didn’t ALWAYS have to breathe…..) I have not been a stranger to anxious and terrifying moments, but they were just moments, not days and weeks. And as you can see from the photo- they have been doing really well.
In October I started feeling light headed one evening and within a few minutes I seriously thought I was having a heart attack. I was shaking uncontrollably, my heart was pounding out of my chest, I couldn’t breathe and to make it worse, my husband was out of town. My two youngest Ben and Ty cant be left with anyone who is not trach trained so in the middle of this “heart attack” I was planning out how I would call my friend Kris to come watch them, then call 911 and go to the hospital. I had my older kids help me get Ben and Ty in their beds (they have bunk beds in my room) and turn on a show so they were settled, and then I had to just lay on the floor. Good Times. As I was laying there my sweet 9 year old Jack came over and laid on my back, the pressure felt really good and calmed me down, and I realized that when I stopped thinking about what would happen if I died (I know, such drama) I started to calm down a little. The thought came “maybe this is anxiety.” I had Jack go get my phone so I could call my therapist friend Lana and she was over in 10 minutes. It took 2 hours for her to help me to calm down, and for the next few days I felt like I had just been through the ringer, or just over a terrible flu. The fact that I finally broke down was not a huge shock to anyone who knows me, including myself. I have basically been a 1st respond-er for the last 7 years and starting a cake business….. who does that? No sleep, high stress, and we lost our home nurse who had been with us almost 6 years.
Fast forward to now, 5 months later. I have made some lifestyle changes, like limiting how many cakes I make a month, trying to get to bed on time, some anti anxiety medication (which I hope is a band aid until I get this figured out) and trying to rely on my Heavenly Father more. I feel more like myself again but sometimes the rational part of my brain (the little that’s left) hears the emotional part and thinks “whoa baby! simmer down!” I told my husband it feels like that moment at the top of the roller coaster, right before you go over the edge. And it doesn’t go away. Like I said, Good Times!
Right when this started happening in October I heard a really beautiful message during my church’s General Conference that was SPOT on what I needed to hear. What stood out to me especially was when Elder Holland said “there should be no more shame in acknowledging (emotional disorders) than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor.”
This family photo from last November is one of my favorites now even though the only reason it was even possible was because I was too scared to stay home while Jonathan took the big kids on their annual Yosemite camping trip. We had to rent a motel that was 1/2 an hour away from the campsite (Ben and Ty have to have electricity for their equipment) and Jonathan had to drive me back and forth because I was too panicked to go by myself. I am still trying to figure out what I need to be learning from all this, but one thing I know is no matter how good things may look from the outside, EVERYone has something hard they are dealing with.