Tag: anxiety

A Powerful Story of Anxiety and Overcoming Obstacles

I’m incredibly honored to have my friend, Cat from Frugal Living and Crafting, share her story of dealing with anxiety as my monthly Inspire the Best You feature! Her story of dealing with anxiety and still doing her best to live life the way she chooses is so inspiring to me. I hope you find something in her story that resonates with you as well!

My name is Cat.  I’m 36 years old, and happily married to my husband, Jeff.  We’re the proud parents of a cat and dog, but none of the two legged sorts of kids.  I’m a free-lance writer, and  I also blog at Frugal Living and Crafting.  

I was originally diagnosed with anxiety when I was 5 years old.  I had almost constant nausea, and often had a very difficult time keeping food down.  Trips to multiple doctors gave no answers to why I was so sick, and being afraid of doctors, it only made the situation worse.  It took an ordinary family doctor to figure out that my “illness” was the physical manifestation of anxiety.  I was hospitalized, and given ways to deal with my anxiety when it struck.

Nighttime was one of the most common times for my anxiety to flare up.  Often, when I tried to stay the night with friends, I would end up calling my dad at midnight to come pick me up.  I felt less anxious when I was at home with my normal routine, and knowing my dad was usually awake most of the night.  Many times, I was so thankful to come home that my anxiety abated almost entirely, but equally as many times I would spend the rest of the night ill from it.

I went on to be an anxious teenager, still having most of my trouble at night.  My parents were very strict about my grades in school, and when I knew I had not done well on something, I would often literally worry myself sick about it.  Sometimes I ended up tearfully confessing that I had gotten a bad grade, long before report cards came out, just to get it off my chest.  I typically got grounded anyway, but they were usually less angry if I had warned them first.

Two major events in my life occurred when I was 16.  I started dating the man I would marry in 4 years, and spend the rest of life with.  And my father left my mother and me and moved across the country.  My anxiety was sometimes off the charts because I was so used to having my dad around, especially at night.  But Jeff was my rock, and we often chatted to the wee hours of the night to help me get through them the night.

I muddled through life with my anxiety always in tow.  It was the reason I dropped out of college.  After leaving school, I got a job and still, I muddled through.  About 10 years ago, my anxiety took a turn for the worse and I was having a tough time doing anything.  I was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the same time, and suffering with the symptoms of that as well.  I spent a week in a mental hospital while doctors tried to find medications that would work for me.  In the end, I couldn’t control the anxiety enough to function and I became disabled and had to leave my job.

Living by the rules of my anxiety has been my life since then.  Often, I’m too anxious to leave home, or too anxious to leave home alone.  I worry about everything.  The nights, however, are still the worst by far.  Some nights my anxiety affects me so badly that I feel like I can’t breathe, and end up shaking and sobbing in my bed.  Sometimes getting up and reading helps, other times I can’t focus on the words.  The biggest balm for my soul is having Jeff at home, but he works nights so I am often left to fight my demons alone.

By now I’ve learned a few tricks to head off a panic attack.  Focusing on a deep breath, letting my belly expand as I breathe in, helps.  Simply getting out of my own head and doing some writing or reading a book can also be helpful.  These things are only helpful if I catch it before it reaches the state of a full blown panic attack.  Once that has happened, there’s nothing to do but wait it out and try to recover as best I can afterward.

These days I just take things one day at a time.  If anyone reading this suffers from anxiety, know you are not alone.  It’s a difficult road to travel, but sometimes reaching out to someone, just to talk, can help ease your misery.  If you don’t know who to talk to, feel free to reach out to me at frugallivingandcrafting@gmail.com .  I’m a pretty great listener.

My thanks to Bonnie for allowing me to share my story, and I hope perhaps it helps people understand what it’s like to deal with anxiety, and perhaps abate the loneliness for someone who also fights the battle.  

Dealing with Depression and Anxiety at the Same Time

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

For those of us who deal with both depression and anxiety on a daily basis, it can be hard for us but even harder to describe it to other people. These two things often feed off of each other, or one contributes to the other, but they are also total opposites. I know that I personally feel conflicted, or even frozen with overwhelm on an almost daily basis. It is hard to take action or make decisions when your mind is at war with itself. On the one hand, depression makes me feel sad, unmotivated, uninspired, and hopeless. On the other, anxiety makes me feel scared, overwhelmed, stressed, and frantic or panicky. Both depression and anxiety are things that I have dealt with most of my life, at least since I was a teenager when I first noticed them. It wasn’t until much later that I realized what they meant. To learn more about my story of learning what depression and anxiety mean to me, you can read my previous post on the subject: What Depression and Anxiety Mean to Me.

If you deal with either, or both, please check out Depression Proof, a course full of information and steps that you can take to minimize or overcome your depression. Ironically, even though they can be complete opposites, some of the things we do to treat our depression can work for our anxiety as well. Part of that is because they feed off of each other, like I mentioned above, but it’s also because both are mental issues that we deal with.

We worry about not living up to our own dreams.

Oftentimes, we are so overwhelmed and stressed out that we worry if we’ll ever be able to go after our own dreams and achieve a life we have so desperately wanted for as long as we can remember. We are so frozen in place, working to feel some kind of hope, motivation, and calmness that will allow us to do something productive with our lives. I spent many years in this endless cycle, just keeping to myself and not trying, because everything else was just too hard.

We worry about looking lazy to other people, while a battle rages on in our minds.

We see it, that others think we are lazy, unmotivated, and choosing to live like we do. However, they can’t possibly see the battle that is raging in our minds. Our depression and anxiety is silent, invisible from the outside. No one can understand what we go through in our own minds. Even those of us who are inflicted with both depression and anxiety don’t fully understand what one another go through. I know that I personally feel so stressed sometimes that I’m frozen in place by my own feelings of overwhelm, unable to break through that barrier and actually do what I need to do.

We worry about not being able to control our own actions.

Sometimes we can’t control our own actions. You might be wondering how that is even possible because if anyone has control over our own actions, it’s us. Right? Well, when we deal with depression and anxiety, we don’t have full control over our own actions. An anxiety attack can happen at any moment, and no matter how small that attack is, we might flail around or look like a deer caught in the headlights because we simply can’t function. Bigger anxiety attacks reduce our control even more. Fortunately, I’ve only dealt with anxiety attacks a few times. However, sometimes even when I am just feeling super anxious, I do not feel as if I have full control over my actions. I may make involuntary movements or say things I wouldn’t have otherwise, or I may yell when I normally don’t like to yell.

We feel too much, yet nothing at all, at the same time.

With anxiety, we feel way too much at once. We get overwhelmed and overstimulated. On the flip side, with depression, we don’t feel enough or anything at all. We are sunk into a pit of despair and hopelessness that we don’t know how to get out of. I have tactics that help me get out of my depression, but if I don’t notice how fast I’m slipping or how far I’ve slipped into depression, it is that much harder to work my way out of it. I liken the experience to digging myself out of quicksand. Each step in the right direction could be taken away by one misstep, and send me deeper into the pit, causing me to start all over again. Same with anxiety, I have ways to deal with it, to help me feel less anxious in some situations. However, both depression and anxiety can appear out of nowhere or become a problem without me realizing that they have appeared until it’s too late.

We may view sleeping as the only escape we have, if we can even sleep.

Sleep is the greatest escape we have, but sometimes we suffer from insomnia when we are dealing with depression or anxiety, or both. Then even if we do fall asleep, we may suffer from bad dreams or nightmares. When I’m feeling anxious, I deal most with having trouble falling asleep, having bad dreams, and just simply being very restless. Sleep should be restful and invigorating, but instead it can be a means of escape or a torturous experience, depending on the person and their experiences.

This is only a glimpse into what it is like to deal with both depression and anxiety. The point is these issues hit us all differently. Those who don’t battle with both depression and anxiety may never understand what we go through. That’s okay, but we can spread awareness and hope that more people begin to understand what these issues do to us and screw with our life.

If someone you know suffers from depression and anxiety, please let them know that they are not alone and that there is always help and hope for them! If you are the one who suffers from depression and anxiety, I want you to know this too. There are so many of us that deal with one or the other, or both. Please remember that you are not alone and there are always options to find help and improve.

Depression Proof is one of the best resources that you can have to help you with your depression, and maybe even your anxiety, because it will walk you through what you need to know and do to help yourself. You will learn more about what depression is, in general as well as what it means for you. You will learn ways to deal with your depression and how to put them into practice. It is important to take a peek at the course because you don’t have to suffer in silence!

 

 

 

 

~Bonnie~

 

How My Faith Has Helped With Stress and Anxiety

While I grew up in the Church of Christ, I never had a strong faith. I knew all the stories, I listened and absorbed what was said in services most of the time, but unfortunately I did not believe much of it. However, just under two years ago I got an unspoken prayer answered by God. From that moment, things fell into place. I traveled to my hometown and went to a women’s Bible class with a family friend, and I learned something there that hadn’t clicked into place before: God does not expect us to be perfect. We need to do our best, and always strive to serve Him and follow His Word. That class was the final piece to the puzzle that I really needed. After I returned home, I set up a Bible study with the preacher of my parents’ church, one I had attended for a few years as a kid. I was baptized at that Bible study and the congregation there gave me such a warm and inviting welcome.

One of the biggest focuses that I have had since I was baptized was to put my trust in God. I felt driven and motivated to keep working on it, even in the times that it seemed bleak or hopeless. God always has a plan and learning to trust in Him has spilled over into more areas in my life than I could have ever imagined. It has really helped my mental wellbeing, especially with dealing with everyday stress and anxiety.

Some of the things that I have learned to give to God, to be a more centered person:

  • Cares and worries: All of those things that I used to let fester in my mind, I can leave to Him. Imagining them visually floating away from me and sending them up to Him has really helped me to find that peace that I so desperately need. Whenever something pops into my mind that causes me to worry, I remind myself: pray about it! God will take care of it. This especially helps for those times where I find myself worrying about friends and family, or simply people I pass by on the road, in the store, or wherever else. There are a lot of things in this world that can cause me to worry because I care so much about people. So, each time that kind of thing passes through my mind, I pray for those people and that helps me let go of it instead of letting it fester in my mind. What good does that do? Praying and helping in ways that I can are ways that I can take a more active role.
  • Nervousness and anxiety: I have always been a nervous, anxious ball of energy. Life has been overwhelming for me on various levels. Now that I know that God is there for me, I have learned to let things go and know that He will take care of me. That doesn’t make the nerves and anxiety disappear, but it helps immensely, and I continuously remind myself of this fact. I breathe and remember that He is right by my side, there to guide me and to be there for me no matter what happens in my life.
  • Life’s stresses: Life can be stressful in general, so like I mentioned about nerves and anxiety, knowing that God is right by my side and always there for me is a very important part of my mental wellbeing. Each time I start to get stressed, I remind myself or see evidence that God is working on something for my life. He has a plan to help me help others, reach more people, and make a difference.

How has your faith made a difference with your health, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional? I would love to hear from you!

 

~Bonnie~

What Depression and Anxiety Mean to Me

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

Depression and anxiety are things that I have dealt with as long as I can remember, although I wasn’t able to put labels on these experiences until I was a teenager and young adult. There are so many of us that suffer from these issues that I feel it’s important for us to share our stories in hopes of helping others in some way. My own story starts when I was a teenager, possibly even earlier. When I was about seventeen years old, a very close friend of mine pointed out that I was depressed. That news hit me like a ton of bricks and I talked to my mom about it. She had also dealt with it throughout her life as well and knew where I was coming from. Still, knowing that depression was the label for what I was experiencing was only one step in my journey of depression.

In the next few years, I got my depression under control to a certain degree, at least as far as I could on my own. I learned the triggers and the warning signs, and did my best to deal with them as they came. It worked for the time being. However, I now realize that it was a hindrance to my living life more fully. I constantly felt like I should stay in my own bubble and not expanding my world. Then in 2012, my living situation changed drastically. There were a lot of our family members living in a small house, and other stressors that were going on at the time as well. I believe that is what caused things to escalate with my depression and anxiety. Although, this escalation may have been just what I needed to push me to seek further treatment, even though it didn’t happen for a few more years.

As far as my anxiety goes, I started to notice what it meant to me in my early 20’s, when I was in college. One day I went to the school to talk to the admissions office, and realized even after I left that I was feeling really anxious and wound up. At this point, I thought it was only social anxiety and it took me a few years after that to figure out that it was much more than just social anxiety, or even having to just do with being in the spotlight. Due to the tough living situation at the time, I figured out that I had a lot of anxiety about getting things done, expectations or simply perceived expectations of others, having time to think or be alone, and much more. It was an everyday thing, whether I dealt with people outside of my circle of friends and family or not.

My story to really dealing with my depression and anxiety didn’t really start until I started my healthy living journey in 2014. As I worked on getting healthier, I became more aware to how my mind also reacted to stressors and triggers, thus causing me to feel either depressed or anxious. I was beginning to feel better overall but these issues were still very much present in my life, and in the summer of 2015, I was finally able to seek the help I needed. I wanted to approach my treatment from both sides, so I chose to use a therapy and medication combination approach. Therapy was vital either way, and medication was necessary at the time and still is now. Mostly therapy allowed me to talk things out and get some guidance I needed to deal with everyday life in the way that helped me thrive. The medication I started with to treat my depression worked at first, but then it started working less and less, and soon I realized that my depression was also linked to other factors and needed a change in medication in order for me to continue seeing progress. When I approached my psychiatrist about changing my meds, she pretty much acted like I was crazy for proposing a change and wouldn’t prescribe anything else for me to take. Since I had gotten some guidance on the subject from my primary doctor, I turned to her for help after getting this reaction from the psychiatrist. I needed someone who would listen to me, and that is also very vital to treating either of these issues. My primary doctor helped me switch to a different, and much more effective, medication. While this new medication didn’t make the depression disappear, because that wouldn’t be very realistic anyway, it did reduce the symptoms enough that I can live a more normal life.

Dealing with depression and anxiety is not fun, but there are so many options to treating or improving them. Some might include therapy, medications, natural remedies, and much more. Whichever approach that you take is up to you. Most of all, I want you to remember that you are not alone, there are many of us fighting this fight against depression and anxiety.

You might even considering to take a comprehensive, and helpful, online course to help guide you through. One I have found useful in my own life recently, called The Undepression Project!

If your question is what does a course have to offer me that I couldn’t figure out on my own…? I’ll tell you that it has the personal touch of someone who has dealt with depression and has made immense progress in their own journey, and wants to pass along these helpful tips to you! Check it out and see more of what there is in the modules, such as: how self-care and compassion play into how you feel, what social support can do to help you feel better and more stable, how to stay motivated in your journey to improving your depression, and many more topics that will shed light on your depression. Not only that, but you will learn more about depression itself and how it manifests itself in your everyday life. There are so many variables with depression, that we may not be able to identify or understand them all. This course will help you identify and understand more of what depression means to you!

 

What is your story? If you feel like sharing, I would love to hear how you have dealt with your own depression or anxiety.

 

~Bonnie~