Almost a year ago, I was standing in Target with my then 2 year old, helping her try on a pair of shoes. Suddenly the terrifying feeling came over me again, I went numb, my heart began racing, and I felt like I was going to pass out, then I proceeded to shiver as I raced through the store to grab the things I had to have. By the time I got to the van and loaded the kids up my hands were shaking and I was crying. I called my husband in tears and told him, " It just happened again, but I had the kids this time, I am so scared". I can't do this anymore. See this had been happening on a more and more frequent basis since I had my first panic attack in the middle of my spa day. Now I had gotten to where I was having panic attacks every time I went to the grocery store, and now with the kids, I was really, really scared. Not only was I scared, but I was very down. I was ashamed. I was confused. What was happening to me?
After the incident at Target, I got an appointment with a doctor. I went in and explained to her what was happening. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. She listened and sympathized, and made me feel that it was okay and that we were going to find out what was going on. She took blood and asked if I wanted her to prescribe anything for the anxiety, I said no. A few days later I found out that my thyroid was completely out of whack and she prescribed some thyroid pills. After a couple of weeks I started to feel better. So much better in fact that I thought I could take a trip to my family reunion with all four kids by myself. The drive was fine and I slept great that night, but by the next night I would be in the middle of the worst panic attack I had ever had.
Thankfully my mom was there to take care of me and she talked me down and kept me okay, but I could not sleep, could not stop shaking, could not stop waking up in a panic every five minutes. It was terrible. After that weekend, I began having trouble sleeping and would be up until 3 am sometimes, having panic attacks. It was very scary. My husband tried to comfort me, but there really wasn't much he could do. One day things got so bad, that I spent the day crying and was so afraid of my state of mind that I called my husband to come home and take care of me and the kids. He asked me to call the doctor and tell her what was happening. He even offered to call for me. He took care of me and really helped me that day. I needed it, badly.
My doctor prescribed Xanax to help with the panic attacks until the thyroid problem had been fully resolved. The Xanax helped tremendously, when I would start to have a panic attack, but it also made me pretty loopy and tired. But I continued to have panic attacks even after my thyroid levels evened out. A few weeks later, Josh's dad passed away three weeks before we were scheduled to be in town for a month. We packed up very quickly and made the long trip to Nashville, and as we drove along I-40 into the Cumberland Plateau, a relief of being home came over me like nothing I had expected. I knew that we needed to move back, that we had no business living that far away from our families. Through the sadness, it was so good to walk into Josh's parent's door that evening and see our family. We were finally home. Even through his grief at his father's passing, I knew that it was just the same for Josh. He needed to be with his family, we needed to look at photos together, laugh with and at each other like we do.
The kids and I wound up staying in Nashville, while Josh flew back to Richmond for the remainder of July. I came home briefly to see my doctor, and we decided that for now I should be on an anti- depressant, every day. If I had been resistant at first, I was just as relieved now to be taking these meds. It took a while to get used to them, and thankfully my mom helped out with my kids every day. But bit by bit, things began to look up and I started to get better.A few weeks later we all packed up and drove back to Richmond. That was hard, because I was going to have to go be alone again. I was going to have to function again on my own two feet.
And I did function. I got better. Life looked differently. I was happy again. I began to realize that while the thyroid problem may have made me finally recognize that things were off, that I had actually been pretty depressed for a long time. I think it began after I had my son in 2009. That seems to be the last time I wasn't struggling in a major way with depression. I think that I fought it for so long that I finally just gave in. I wish I had known all along what was happening to me. But I just didn't. Now that I do, my life has changed so much for the better this last year. I have been able to dig deep and resolve many issues within myself that I have never properly dealt with.I let go of things that I had needlessly saddled myself with.Of course, things are not perfect, but things are really good. Things are better than they have ever been and I have learned better ways to deal with stress and sadness. I meditate, I do yoga, I read, and I take care of myself, so I can take better care of my family. I also have learned to accept who I am and embrace it, and reading Momastery and Carry On Warrior has been a huge help to me. My Monkee friends have been a huge blessing to me also. That is why I am choosing now to share my story. I hope that if you can identify with my story that you will not be afraid or too proud to ask for help like I was for way too long. And also, I am here, for anyone who may need to talk or ask questions.
Peace and Love,