Saturday, November 2, 2013

So Much to be Thankful For

I have struggled with anxiety for years (as you probably know by my posts over the years).  As of my last post, I really assumed that I would never know what it feels like to NOT struggle with it.  I have tried everything.  Medication (5 different ones).  Food change.  Exercise.  Relaxation/breathing techniques.

All of these things helped some, but honestly, the "help" was only temporary.  The majority of time, I walked around with an enormous weight on my shoulders and chest (it literally felt that way).  Everything that didn't turn out perfectly hit me as a blow to the stomach.  I always worried about what was going to "come up" next.  I over-analyzed everything, and felt as though everyone was annoyed with me all the time.  I had extreme paranoia about everything.

All of the difficulty of the past few years was also weighing on me.  All of the death in my family, the constant changes, having little ones in the midst of everything... I carried that around as heavy baggage on top of the constant weight of everything else.

I knew I was feeling awful, but I didn't realize how bad I was feeling until this past week.

A week and a half ago I went to the doctor again, feeling extremely defeated.  I told her that I felt like I would never get better and that I would never find the right medication.  The new one that I had started 2 weeks before was making me extremely worse and I felt like a complete mess.  My heart was constantly racing, I was always nauseous, I was freaking out about everything.  It was awful.  Just as bad as this summer when I had shortness of breath for a few months.

She reminded me that I'm okay, and we WILL find the right medication.  The feelings of defeat were just feelings, and she continued telling me that we will get this worked out.  I'm thankful for her because she's very practical and she focuses on more than meds.
She told me that she REALLY wants me to start doing yoga and getting back to running.  Also, she told me that I really need to get back to taking a good fish oil and whole foods multivitamin.

She took me off of the medication that was making me feel worse, and decided to try me on another one.  I was skeptical because of all the issues that I have had over the past several months, but I figured we could try it.  This particular medication was highly recommended by a friend of mine who had gone through a similar journey... she's tried almost all of them with lots of bad reactions.  She started taking this one and she said it changed her life.  I thought I could give it a try.  

I also went straight to Target and bought a beginners yoga kit.  And I went to the store and bought some more cod liver oil (I was out) and a whole foods vitamin.  I began yoga and running again this week (only exercised a few times, but some is better than none at this point!).

The pharmacist said that the new medication would take 7-10 days to start working.
I felt it with-in 2 days.  Immediately, I felt a weight lifted, my heart stopped racing, and the knot in my stomach went away.  All of the things that typically bother me deep down have been more "normal."  I don't really know how to explain the difference, but it is as if a cloud has been lifted and I can think normal for the first time.  I still have normal emotions (sadness, frustration, etc), but the extreme anxiety that I have felt for years is not there.

My desire is to slowly get back to eating real foods again (I have NOT been eating well) and become more regular with my exercise.  One thing at a time :-).

I'm so thankful for the team of people that have been so diligent to help me get better.  From my family who has been listening to me and praying for me, my husband who has allowed me to be alone anytime I have needed it, to my doctor and counselor who have been trying everything possible to help me.  I have some amazing friends that have been there for me through the really rough days.  I feel like I've been a drain on so many, but all of my family and friends have been there through it all.  I'm so undeserving.

I know that I might be sharing "too much," but I want to share because I know that so many struggle and feel hopeless.  Don't give up!  Sometimes it takes a while (years for me), but things will eventually get better!  I am living testimony to that.

At this point I am so excited about life and all that God has blessed me with.  I have an amazing husband who has been there with me on even the darkest nights.  I have beautiful, bright, healthy children.  I finally feel that I have a career that I can and will stick with for years to come.  I know now that God has called me to teaching, and even though it is an incredibly difficult job, I know He will give me what I need to get through each day.  My co-workers have been understanding on the days that I've had to take off to go to the doctor/counselor.  My principal has been incredibly supportive and understanding through all of this, and believes in me.  I'm so thankful for the place that I work, because that was not the case before.
We have all of our needs met, and more.  It's so nice to be able to buy groceries without worrying about spending money.  After we get caught up, we'll be able to put money in savings and pay off some debt.  Eventually, we might be able to buy a little bit bigger of a house (but we're content with our current house!).

I pray each day that God is glorified through me, and I know that He will be, even in my lowest points.  Because He the strength in my weakness.  He is the Light in my darkness.  He is the joy in my struggle.  He knows what I need, when I need it.  He has brought me to this form of treatment, and I'm so thankful for modern medicine today (despite my past complaints about it).  I know that there is a time for everything, and this is my time of peace and joy (after years of struggle).  Life is harder, but God is good.  :-)

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