My anxiety/panic attacks seemed to come out of nowhere.
I was baffled as to why I was feeling the way I was feeling. My husband was out of town, and things with my kids and routine were going fine until I suddenly felt like I was having a heart attack every day and couldn’t calm down night after night. Eventually, I ended up in the emergency room where they assured me (after running tests, blood panels, etc…) I was physically healthy, but it appeared I had anxiety/panic attacks. I thought yes, I can handle this. A few days later, I woke up and could not stop crying and was looking at my kids, thinking, “How am I going to take care of them today when I can’t stop crying?” I dropped my older two at school and was able to get an immediate appointment with my PCM, and stayed in contact with a friend and my mom regarding the situation.
Finding Treatment for my Anxiety/Panic Attacks
If you remember, I’m the girl that ran out on the urine test, so I will do just about anything it takes to avoid going to the doctor. The fact that I had gone to the doctor twice, and the ER once, in five months, was a huge red flag for me. I agreed to try medication for anxiety because I felt as if I couldn’t even think of ways to ease the anxiety/panic attacks without first calming my mind and body. I was also referred to a behavioral therapist who I did a few sessions with before he moved to another position. I eventually realized that although the medication was working wonders, I probably needed to do the work necessary for me to live with, or overcome anxiety and panic in my life. I did not have the panic attacks, but occasionally I would start having those anxious flutters. This was before March 2020. I’m glad I started building a foundation right when COVID-19 was building up.
Realizing My Anxiety/Panic Attacks Needed Support
Looking back over different episodes in my life, I was starting to realize I have had times of anxiousness and panic, but I wasn’t able to identify the feeling until now. When I experienced my worst anxiety/panic attack, my husband was out of town, so it was hard for me to explain what was going on since he wasn’t witnessing it firsthand. It was hard to describe the mental and physical fatigue and stress on my body. This felt different then stress overload, which he can definitely notice in me.
Having a support system within the home has been crucial to me working on my mindset. I am very thankful to have a husband who can help me in our home so that I can have a healthy mind and decrease my anxiety levels.
How do my family members and I create a support system in our home?
- My husband and I do a weekly calendar check-in to see where we can each get alone time during the week. This has been HUGE for us, especially since we’ve spent a lot of time within our home since COVID-19. We are also able to see when we’re going to have a busy week ahead, and one of us might need more encouragement/assistance.
- My husband is supportive of me taking medication. He doesn’t talk down to me or make me feel less than.
- I have to be honest with my husband about how I’m feeling. He can’t read my mind. I also tell my children when I need a mommy timeout or quiet time in my room. I talk to them about how taking quiet time isn’t a punishment (for them or me). It’s time for me to calm down.
- My husband tries his best to be home when I have my therapy appointments. If he’s not able to be home, he supports me getting a babysitter.
- We share the load. There are times where each of us carries a heavier load to balance the other.
- Don’t try to “fix it.” Don’t just tell your spouse to “get over it.” Ask what your spouse needs, how you can help them. They may not know.
I felt a sense of shame when I first realized I had anxiety/panic attacks.
A few years ago, a lot of people around me seemed to be struggling with anxiety, and I almost wondered if it was the “fad” thing or newest buzzword. I avoided acknowledging my feelings and labeling what I was experiencing for fear of judgment.
In the past year, I have been able to discuss my feelings with my closest friend group, my sister, and my husband. I eventually shared a little more on my social media because I didn’t want there to be a public facade hiding personal shame and struggle. I had so many people reach out to me and share their battles with anxiety and things that helped them. My counselor is helping me fill my toolkit with tools to help me on my journey.