The “A” Word

I promised you a very personal post. It’s a story I think deserves to be shared so people know they are not alone. So, here I am, now ready to rip open my chest and let you see inside what it’s like to live life with anxiety and depression.

On the outside, I look like I have my shit together. 30-something, fit, attractive, good career, happy marriage, close circle of friends–but on the inside you see a disaster. I like to think of my “inside” looking a lot like an episode of hoarders–you know the before shots? Where everything is one giant hot mess and it’s hard to look at? Yep, that’s how I have felt a lot of my life.

For most of my life, I have been ashamed of my anxiety and didn’t want to broadcast to the world what I was dealing with. And then I had my anxiety managed pretty well–until I decided I no longer needed 120mg of Cymbalta a day–then shit fell apart. I read harrowing stories every day about the struggles people are facing with anxiety and depression and I get it. I don’t want them to feel ashamed and afraid like I have for most of my life–so I will take my passion of writing to help them know they aren’t alone.

SO a little background on me–I promise I won’t bore you with all the minute details since you probably have a story very similar. I have always had anxiety and depression, but as a kid had NO idea what was wrong with me. Just that I was different and couldn’t name what my issues were so figured I was some sort of psychopath. Fast forward to my sophomore year of college where several family illnesses and a death sent me on a downward spiral of panic, depression, failing grades and an addiction to Xanax. Fast forward a bit more, through the years of trying medication after medication–a huge move out of state, followed by a bitter divorce, then sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns until BAM December 2017.  I thought I had anxiety and depression beat, so I ever so carefully wean myself off my meds and GUESS WHAT? Yep–you know the story–I am back at square one.

I hate rides and theme parks, but from December 2017-June 2018 I was riding a roller coaster of panic, anxiety, guilt, shame, depression and all the ugliness that goes with it. Since June, I am back on medication and am happy to say that I am about 90% anxiety free. It’s not exactly what I wanted. I really wanted to stop with the medications, but apparently, I really need it.

So, yep, that’s my story. I stitched myself together with chewing gum, Duct tape and more than a few clumps of dog and cat fur (sorry I have animals and shit always gets stuck to the tape). But I am slowly starting to again heal.

Please know that you AREN’T alone. I get it. Although my days of anxiety and depression are now few and far between, it’s always there, like a rain cloud, following me wherever. I go.