I remember my first panic attack in front of Jeff. It happened on his birthday. I ruined his day. I am pretty sure it was one of his worst birthdays ever.
It just … happened. I couldn’t stop it and Jeff definitely couldn’t stop it.
At the time, I HATED my corporate job. I had been living with lupus for over a year and living with intense physical pain every single day. I was in a very dark place. I was in such a dark place, I stopped going to church because of how angry I was. I didn’t even want to see my friends.
A few weeks after Jeff’s birthday, I was part of one of my best friend’s wedding. I remember wanting to feel happy, but I was miserable.
During the reception, I had an epiphany. I was going to “fix” my depression. I decided when I went to work on Monday I was going to quit my job and would start my own business.
That would solve everything, right?
Of course not.
That just added anxiety to the mix of heavy emotions.
A few months into my new business, I had ANOTHER panic attack in front of Jeff (there were some I was able to hide from him). And it was worse than the first one. I could have sworn he was thinking, “this girl is a lunatic. I can’t stay with her.” (Spoiler Alert: We just celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.)
Yes, I was enjoying my business. But self-employment added a whole new level of stress to my life. Not to mention, self-employed health insurance costs, doctor’s visits, tests, medications, etc. I was putting so much pressure on myself to create a successful business, all on top of the stressors of everyday life we all experience.
After a few months of trying to cope with the stress, anxiety, and depression, I knew I had to take the next step. I started seeing a therapist. Soon after that, I started taking anti-anxiety medication.
When I started taking it, I felt like a failure. I didn’t want to admit it to anyone. Did I really need medication? I had a roof over my head, an amazing significant other, amazing friends and family.
But now, I am not ashamed. I realize I am not a failure.
I soon learned mental health is not only a very common issue, but complex. Even if we think we should feel one way, our brain and body are powerful. Let’s be real, I am not an expert on mental health and I don’t know the science but we have to remember sometimes there are things we can’t control.
I have come along way from the day I ruined Jeff’s birthday, but I still have things to work on. The medication has helped, but it isn’t a quick fix. It takes hard work to manage mental health, just like our physical health.
Alison and I decided to share our journeys with you knowing they may not be the same as yours. In fact, Alison and I don’t even share the same journey. We struggle and deal with mental health in different ways.
What is similar is that we lean on each other to understand, cope, and improve our mental well-being together. And we’d be happy to support you too.
Stop back on Wednesday, October 10th for a post laying out the research of which foods have been associated with increased mental health risk and, of course, those known to decrease depression and mental health disorders.
Plus, mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 10th at 7:30 p.m. CT when we will hop on Instagram Live to continue the conversation.
❤️l a u r e n
If you are dealing with anxiety, depression, or another mental health concern, please know you are not alone. If need to talk to someone, reach out to someone you feel comfortable with. If you need an additional resource, you please visit Crisis Text Line to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor for free.