Healthy Living

It Was Not My Anxiety, And I Knew It

I have been trying for months to figure out how to sit down and write this. I knew it was something I needed to share, not just for me, but for those who are or have been struggling with the same thing now.

I was encouraged by a friend who convinced me to SIT DOWN NOW and WRITE. “No matter what you write, someone will need to hear it.” So here it is for me, mostly, and for you.

I never struggled with anxiety or depression growing up. In fact, I saw myself as a very easy going, happy person. However, when I got married I began to question everything about myself that I used to know. I struggled to find a balance between being part of my own family and one that is completely opposite from mine. I over-thought things each day and often found myself awake longer than I should be. I would be worrying about things I did (or did not do) that day as a wife.

I went to work each day doing my job as best as I could. I found work was the one place I could “just be me." I knew that no matter what state each of my clients would come into the salon in, they would leave feeling their absolute best because of me. This was what I lived for: seeing people leave happier than how they walked in.

“I never struggled with anxiety or depression growing up. In fact, I saw myself as a very easy going, happy person.”

After I had my sweet baby girl, I was absolutely complete. She filled a spot I needed to have filled. But shortly after she was born, I had little motivation for anything around me. I would look at my baby and see this little bundle sent straight to me from heaven and have no feelings whatsoever. I loved her with all my heart but found my thoughts racing between “was she breathing at night” to feeling sad about being home alone all day (even though she was right there).

I called my mom, and she encouraged me to go straight into the doctor and talk to them that day. They told me I should come in as soon as I could and sit down with my OB. I arrived and waited maybe 15 minutes before they squeezed me in, between appointments. I honestly felt like a crazy person answering all these questions she began to ask me. I must have “passed the test” because she said it was common for new moms to have hormones all over the place until it balances itself out. She told me I simply had anxiety and that was it. So I left still feeling a little lost but glad to hear it was something I could handle on new medication.

Months had gone by, and I continued to have breakdowns when I was alone. I would go to bed and wait for my husband to fall asleep before crying into my pillow so he didn’t hear. It was just anxiety. The medicine is working and I am just over-tired from having insomnia. I can’t recall a lot of this time because I just followed a routine. “Get up, feed baby, pump a few bottles for dad to have, go to the salon and work, come home, feed baby, make dinner, and do homework.”

I was stuck in a routine. I was stuck in my own thoughts, and I was stuck feeling nothing. I never had thoughts to hurt myself or the baby. I was not sad, and I was not at all angry about anything. I was simply stuck without emotions -- and my husband noticed.

He often encouraged me to “go have fun alone for the day without the baby” to ease some stress that may have been building.

“I never had thoughts to hurt myself or the baby. I was not sad, and I was not at all angry about anything. I was simply stuck without emotions -- and my husband noticed.”

The minute I would leave, I would miss her. I would worry if he could handle it on his own (he could).

By the time my baby girl was six months old, I had learned to deal with my anxiety with a routine. Every now and then throwing in some “me time” and doing things with my other mom friends. But again, it hit me HARD. I found myself right back in the same spot I was before. STUCK. No emotions for my passions; for anything at all.

It was not my anxiety, and I knew that now. It felt different than just being worried. It felt like being stuck in a hole and seeing the surface but unable to reach the top.

“But again, it hit me HARD. I found myself right back in the same spot I was before.”

I went in once again to a new doctor and spoke to them. I cried it all out, confused why I felt nothing or could care very little about anything going on around me anymore. Not only did I leave learning that I did in fact have, and had been suffering from, depression for six months. I left feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

That night I also learned something new. We were pregnant AGAIN. I could go on and on about the feelings that surfaced with this: the trial of finding the right medicine to be on for anxiety and depression, the trial of just learning I had been suffering from depression for six months, etc. But in the weirdest way, finding out we were expecting again was truly a blessing. We were thrilled, scared, and crying -- often (me) -- about how to handle this new adventure on top of taking care of MYSELF first.

I am now coming on five years of marriage and know the difference it made to not just deal with what I would tell myself. Listen to your body and the feelings you feel or do not feel. You know when something is not right or when you aren’t yourself. Once you find what the cause is that makes you feel unbalanced, it will take time to come back to being you. It will take many late nights and early mornings of setting schedules for “mom time” to center yourself again. It was not an easy road to finding myself again. But it can be done, and there are so many wonderful doctors who are there who want to answer your questions and who will take the time to find an answer. If you haven’t found an answer, try a new doctor.

The truth is that sooner or later this topic will affect you or someone you know. Be there for them and be there for yourself.

“Listen to your body and the feelings you feel or do not feel. You know when something is not right or when you aren’t yourself.”

So maybe you needed to hear this and maybe you didn’t, but either way, it’s written. I truly hope it helped someone find some comfort, knowing they are not alone.