Sunday, October 21, 2012

Some Thoughts on Anxiety

Some of you asked about my anxiety.  Short answer: copious amounts of therapy.
Long answer below:
I don't care to give out too many personal details, but I will include as much as I feel comfortable with.  I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder about 6 years ago shortly after a miscarriage.  I started getting panic attacks about social situations or even leaving the house at all.  My heart would feel like it was being squeezed and I felt paralyzed a lot of the time.  So I went to my doctor and got some zoloft and also went to therapy.
I cannot recommend therapy enough.  If I could afford it, I would go all the time.  Sometimes it takes a while to find the right fit for you.  I haven't liked all my therapists.  Anyway, after 4 months of intense weekly therapy, I stopped having panic attacks, I was able to go back to church, and my marriage stayed intact.  I wish I could go into detail about what worked, but it was a lot of being honest with myself about myself and forgiving and just general self acceptance.
Fast forward to second baby.  I went back on Zoloft for post-partum depression, but started having situational anxiety. It was mostly me not being able to handle stress. I would freak out a lot when I felt stressed out.  It started getting worse 2 years ago, especially when I was made cubmaster.  I don't know what it is about Pack Meeting, but I simply couldn't handle it.  I had to get Xanax just to get through them.  As my husband puts it, "You were a wreck."  So last year I went back to therapy. My therapist gave me a lot of coping skills. Someday I'll have to find my notes of everything she said.  The main thing was accepting that I am NOT, in fact, an easy going, happy go lucky girl.
No.  I permanently have my panties in a bunch and have ridiculously high expectations of everything.  Being in denial of that only made myself and everyone else miserable.  Once I accepted that about myself, I was able to lower my expectations.  Irony.
My new mantra became, "oh well."  I practiced that a lot.  We forgot the flags for the pledge!  Oh well, we'll use one of our shirts with a flag.  Some didn't bring treats?  Oh well, we wont have them.
I would practice worst case scenarios.  What if I forgot the scout awards??  Well, worst case scenario: I deeply offend someone and manage to get released and never be put in charge of anything again.  At worst we offend so many people we eventually move.  Fine.  Then no one in the new area will know what a horrible cubmaster I was.
So I had a LOT of practice with this kind of stuff and eventually stopped freaking out so much.  I still didn't like pack meeting though.
Money has always been touchy.  I can really panic about money.  But last year I made friends with some people who had lost $200,000 on a house due to the real estate crash.  I couldn't believe it.  How were they coping!? 200,000!!!  Gone!!??  He was going back to school and they were renting a small apartment (with older teenagers) and it was fine.  Oh well.  Guess we'll have to do something else.
When the pharmacist told me how much my medication would cost I cried.  I tried calling my doctor and seeing what else I could do (nothing cheaper).  Normally I would have sat in my room or in the shower going ballistic with sobbing or doing something destructive. Maybe that was too personal.  Oh well. See!!  I did it again!  But instead of doing that I looked at our budget.  I looked at jobs online.  I looked for manufacturer coupons.  Oh well.  If we don't treat it, it will only get worse.  Maybe we'll have to sell the piano. Oh well.  (that was hard.  I love my piano)
So that's what worked for me.  I recommend therapy for anyone who suffers with anxiety or depression.  Sometimes you need medication, but sometimes you can get to the heart of what's really bothering you and that can lead to healing.  My prayers and sympathy are with anyone struggling with mental illness.  It's a very tough road and what works for me may not work for you.  But hang in there.  It's worth it.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing. I wish I could find a therapist I like. I've gone to 2 thus far and neither were a good fit. I wanted coping skills and I got "quit homeschooling, quit Primary, quit all obligations/activities"....not really options for me. I know I do have terribly high expectations of myself and those around me and beat myself up for falling short. Every. Day. I've been able to (mostly) stop the negative self-talk, but still struggle with actually doing something instead of curling up in a ball and stressing about what's not getting done. Owning our own home has brought more anxiety than I thought possible. Every day I'm tempted to sell it and move into an apartment.

    I hope all goes well with the medicine and that you get better soon. I saw something on Pinterest the other day that I keep repeating to myself, "If Brittney Spears can get through 2007, I can get through this year." So true!

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  2. I smiled through this whole thing because I can hear YOUR VOICE just from reading it. I have been working on the OH WELL thing, too. I need to let more things go and not get so upset if things don't turn out how I envisioned them. I miss you! And I'm still so happy that the medication situation has worked out for you. Truly.

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  3. I like your mantra. I'll have to pass it on to Josh.

    Thanks, friend.

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  4. I love you Kristi!!!
    I did a year of therapy when I was at Ricks and another year a couple years after that, both were cognitive therapy. I love how it helped change some wrong self-destructive ways of thinking I had. It led to decisions that changed my family's life. I wish I could go back, now that I am a wife and mother I think it would help so much from slipping back into old thoughts. I completely agree with you, I wish more people would take advantage of what it has to offer.

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  5. This is my favorite post ever.

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  6. I heart you so much. I need to find a way to come spend time with you.

    Also, this made me lol: "At worst we offend so many people we eventually move..."

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