November 1, 2019

Living with Anxiety

Sadly, anxiety and depression are often taboo subjects.  And with the holidays right around the corner, these are relatable topics for many of us.  Unfortunately, women especially just don’t seem to want to tell anyone that they suffer from either of these.  I don’t know if they feel that they’ll look weak or less “put together,” but it’s a problem that soooooo many of us face, and often times, in silence.  For some reason, we often feel the need to be this unrealistic superhero female who can juggle whatever life throws her way and do it all with a smile on her face and perfectly coifed hair.  (And we all know that is a total load of crap.) . Personally, I think we should talk about it more openly and honestly with each other.  I guaran-freaking-tee you that each of us has a friend (or two or three) who have feelings of anxiety and/or depression.  And we could ALL benefit by discussing these feelings and getting them off our chests because it sure does help to know that you are not alone.

When I think back in time, I’ve probably ALWAYS had anxiety.  I often experienced “nervous stomach issues” throughout junior high, high school, and college.  But when it really showed itself in all its glory was when my twins were toddlers.  Given that I didn’t have childcare help (by choice because I am a total control freak), I experienced multiple panic attacks as a stay at home mom (heart racing, feeling like I couldn’t breathe and my chest was collapsing) that led me to finally confess these situations to my doctor.  She referred me to a therapist, with whom I just did NOT click, and I ultimately ended up on medication.

At first, I admit that I actually felt shame that I wasn’t strong enough to be a mom without the help of medication.  But as my kids grew older, I realized that the medicine actually helped me to be a BETTER MOM.  I had more patience and was able to enjoy the little moments with my twins, even if they could sometimes be overwhelming and frustrating.  Now, I’m not saying it was all sunshine and rainbows once I found the proper medication.  Lord knows, wrangling children and keeping a house put together are no easy tasks.  However, I felt less like I was about to lose my ever-loving mind every day by 3 PM, and that sure was progress!

As I became more comfortable with the idea that my medication actually helped me, I was more open about sharing this information with people. However, I was actually surprised to find that so many people are very tight-lipped about it, even people who I know were getting help.  And why is that??!!  There is absolutely nothing to feel shame about when it comes to mental health!  I seriously want to put that on a billboard and shout it out to all the world!!!

So let’s think of this post as a conversation starter.  And also?  Just remember – you are taking care of YOU if you seek help.  And seeking help is just the first step.  Reach out to someone, ANYONE if you are struggling.  There is no need to struggle alone.  Some days are going to be good, and some days are gonna be harder.  But what I always try to remind myself is that this is just a bad day, not a bad life.

I’ll be adding more posts about this topic in the future, but I would love to hear from you.  Do you experience anxiety and/or depression?  Have you felt alone in those feelings?  If so, how have you coped with it?  Please tell me down below!

  1. Lesha Henry

    November 1st, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    You mean I am not the only one???? Seriously, I truly thought, for far too long, I was alone. Probably insane. A freak. Then, in a full on crisis mode spoke with my trusted friend who directed me to my physician, who started me on meds. And one fine day…the sky cleared up. And I found out that I was not alone. And your sharing is vital. Absolutely vital. XO

  2. Jennifer

    November 4th, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    I’m so glad the sky cleared up for you too! I wish more people would talk about it openly so that we realize that it’s actually more common that we realize. Hope to keep this conversation going!

  3. Megan

    November 2nd, 2019 at 2:20 am

    Yes!!! I love how you are taking a stand for this. I have suffered from anxiety my whole life. I realized that it was more than I could handle alone after I married and moved 3 hours away from my family. I don’t understand why people are so ashamed about it. We take medications for other things, why not our mental health?

  4. Jennifer

    November 4th, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Amen to that! Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about! And I can totally relate to living far away from family. Raising twins without family nearby has definitely been a challenge.

  5. Courtney

    November 2nd, 2019 at 6:09 am

    Thank you for writing this! It’s so true that no one talks about it but I’m sure there are many of us facing challenges with anxiety! I tried therapy as well but i did not click at all with the man. CBD helps sometimes but some days are much harder than others. Nervous to be on medication because of the side effects I’ve heard about. I just seems like a never-ending struggle! The hardest part for me is that i feel like my child loses out when so much of my thought process is focused on whatever is making me anxious, and not on him.

  6. Jennifer

    November 4th, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    I, too, have tried CBD but didn’t work for me. There are actually many meds that don’t have side effects at all – you just have to find the one that works best for you since they affect everyone differently. I have been on Effexor for years & have zero side effects with it. Hope you can find something that works for you!

  7. Angel

    November 2nd, 2019 at 9:48 am

    It took me years to admit openly that I am bipolar with major depressive disorder and debilitating panic attacks. #Stigmafree. Thank you for your openness to this conversation. We do need to shed more light on this issue so everyone can feel GOOD about getting the help they need. We need to remember it’s a chemical imbalance and needs to be treated just like any other disease. Love to you and blessings always

  8. Jennifer

    November 4th, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    This is sooooo true – it’s just like any other health issue or disease! Nobody chooses this! Let’s keep this very vital conversation going! Thank you so much for reading & for commenting!

  9. Laurie

    November 2nd, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Thank you for this post! I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression for my entire life. I’m never ashamed to talk about my mental health struggles but I have to admit that when I do mention it to someone new, I have the fear of being judged. And that’s so not fair. If I had diabetes I wouldn’t be ashamed ~ so why is mental health perceived so differently? We need to change the stigma. We need people to understand that just like ANY other illness, we can’t control it. We don’t have power over it. So again, thank you for this post and thank you for using your insta platform and your blog to try to bring awareness to something that so many people suffer with. 🙂

  10. Jennifer

    November 4th, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    You are so right about the comparison to diabetes or any other health concern. Mental health is just as important to treat! And I hope that one day, people won’t even hesitate to talk about it openly. Thank you so much for sharing your story & for commenting.

  11. Cheryl M.

    November 2nd, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Hmm…what does one write here? This takes soul searching and “work.” After all, dealing with it all the time is exhausting. Thinking about it is another thing…plus putting your thoughts into written words—wow!
    Fortunately, anxiety is coming out of the closet. We are not alone!!! I recently discovered my own sister deals with it. It is my understanding it can be a familial thing. How we are wired, I guess. However, after all these years, knowing this has helped so much!
    We are not alone!
    I admire you for doing this!
    Cheryl

  12. Jennifer

    November 4th, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    It definitely can be a familial thing. And I’m sure that many of us have family members who’ve experienced it. As we know, times are changing & I know that many of my own family members never talked about it openly. My hope is that we can talk about it freely without fear of judgment but rather with compassion and understanding. Thank you so much for commenting.

  13. Mikki Garman

    November 2nd, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Yes, I have had anxiety probably my whole life also but it came fully out when I was 18! I also when I had my second child had several anxiety attacks and all the drs would say was to go for a walk! I finally seeked help myself and found a physiatrist that put me on medication. It has helped so much but I do still have days that are not great! I realize that I can recognize the symptoms more now and try to pray and take better care of myself and learn to say no when I get totally overwhelmed. Thankyou for bringing. This subject up because there are a lot of people with this problem and we do need to talk about it. I think people that have never experienced this most the time do not understand!

  14. Jennifer

    November 4th, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    I’m so glad you found something that helps you! And you’re so right about people who haven’t gone through it not understanding. However, I hope that by talking about it, people will have more compassion & at least TRY to understand.

  15. Geri Bradley

    November 2nd, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    When I was still having periods, the months that I didn’t experience PMS I had severe depression at the end of my period. Then my mother passed away, and it became full blown depression! My doctor recommended medication, and I was extremely hesitant. My husband encouraged me to try it for my family’s sake! I’ve never regretted it! But this was 1990 and I never told anyone outside my family. In 1998 my fist grandchild was born and I began having panic attacks! My doctor recommended upping my dosage (after extensive cardiac testing because I couldn’t believe I was having panic attacks!) and again I was hesitant! She literally got out her medical dictionary and had me read out loud the definition of panic attacks! I am a RN so I should have been more open, but I’m a human first! I have twice had to up my dose again, and thankfully it works well for me! I’ve never told this whole story because the few times I’ve tried telling someone I have panic attacks or depression they want to know what I have to be depressed about or what I’m afraid of! Thanks for letting me vent here ~ it feels good!

  16. Jennifer

    November 4th, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    I’m so appreciative of you telling your story here! And I know what you mean about being hesitant to admit that you need to have your dosage upped. I’m kind of at that point right now myself. But I have to keep reminding myself that this is not something I CHOSE. It’s a medical condition just like any other medical condition. And panic attacks are no joke – definitely scary & definitely very REAL. I hope that with time, we all feel more comfortable in telling our stories — let’s keep the conversation going!

  17. Desirae Davis

    November 2nd, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Absolutely! I had depression all through my preteen and teenage years then very bad postpartum depression. I struggle these days with anxiety steming from a home invasion a few years ago. Honestly only thing that helps me with that is medication. But ive always found working out helps with depression.

  18. Jennifer

    November 4th, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    A home invasion would definitely make me anxious as well! How scary! I’m glad you found something that helps you!

  19. Ann Marie

    November 2nd, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Anxiety has become a major issue since having a major fall, breaking my shoulder and wrist. I see peril everywhere. It is hard at times to let the kids be kids because I see danger.

  20. Jennifer

    November 4th, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    That is totally understandable – when you’ve experienced something traumatic, you can’t help but be fearful that something bad is going to happen again. Perhaps talking to your doctor might help give you some coping strategies? Thank you so much for commenting & I hope you find something that helps you.

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