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I had to walk my Monster yesterday.

So this is a blog post out of necessity to process my own thoughts. When I'm feeling this way, wrangling with my emotions, even a day after a fairly intense anxiety attack, I feel the need to create something. Write, draw, journal, paint...maybe it's my own way of "letting. that. s*%^. go." So today, I write.

Social media is a funny thing. For the most part, it's happy smiley faces and wonderful moments - and I do love that - I love the celebration and being able to see "on this day" previous years' posts that have been long filed away in my mind but are blissful reminders of the past. Past time with friends, first dates with my now beautiful soul of a husband, pre-Lucy times, brand new Lucy times, outings with my parents, moments with my grandmother that are now cherished memories...but never do I come across a post from my younger self of times like midday yesterday...when I had a good old fashioned anxiety attack.

A gripping, reeling, snowballing, stormy, fast approaching, grade A, fight or flight, heart-pounding, temperature-rising, throat-closing anxiety attack. Raise your hand if you feel me. They're the times barely anyone sees, the ones you don't talk about, the ones that make you feel like a weak human, like a sensitive flower, like a lost. freaking. goose, y'all. Dang those things. Dang them to heck.

 

I've suffered from anxiety since high school. I feel like the tragic, sudden loss of a very close friend of mine, Allison, at the tender age of just 16 years old exacerbated them. I only see that looking back. I now see that although I had my group of friends who were experiencing the same loss that I did, but that maybe my psyche (maybe theirs too, I've really never asked) needed to process it with a professional - counseling - something. We had each other to grieve with, but I don't think I processed it like I should have. That's really eye opening now and I think of it (and her) often.

Then, in college, my anxiety grew into my very own pet monster. You know that saying where if you hide a monster under your bed, you eventually have to walk it in public sometimes...well I had to parade that energetic, hairy thing all over Lafayette it seems. Anxiety and depression totally took over my being at that time. I went to counseling and began medication. I was an advertising major minoring in English and visual arts. I LOVE(D) ART. Art. saved. me. many. times. It still does. Creating things made me feel alive. It always has. But after being on this medication to make me feel like I was "on an even keel" I noticed it completely blocked all of my ups and downs. My ups and downs were my fuel to create and write...and they were gone...and I was an empty shell of a person. I couldn't create a damn thing.

So I stopped. Cold turkey. Off all meds against doctor's orders. A medicinal rebel, if you will. And since then, I deal with them as best I can. I try to fill my mental tool box with tools and tips and tricks to try to pull myself out of them and to not let them control me or my life. Then, I had my Lucy. My beautiful Lucy. A tiny little human that NEEDS me. Not wants...needs. And I couldn't be happier to be called to be her Mommy. But along with motherhood, I found that I had a whole new airline carry-on of baggage. Mommy fears and worries were at their apex and I thought "Okay, bring it on, cause I'm just going to live and survive every single day to do whatever needs to be done to give this little beautiful soul an absolutely wonderful life." Thennnnnnnn I was diagnosed with Graves' disease when she was just 4 months old. It's caused by hyperthyroidism seemingly stemmed from my extremely sick pregnancy. If you don't know anything about Graves' disease, just know this - if you didn't have anxiety, it's here to play now - if you already had anxiety, you now have code red, defcon 5, heaven and earth-moving anxiety that will singe your being daily like dragon's breath. Every. single. day I literally emotionally wrestle with my own thoughts before they take off like one of Elon Musk's rocket ships.

As I'm still learning my mid-thirties, adult-ish, Mom, wife, older self, I learn that some of my attacks are triggered, but others just surface...like, "Hey you! You look like you're having a great time there! Mind if I super f*@^ it up for you real quick? Mkay, thx bye." So I've recently learned to look at it from different perspective - if I can't prevent them from happening, maybe I can work on my reaction to them. Cue the CBD oil, heavy meditation, yoga, gong and chime sound baths, chakra cleansings...cue the ethereal all, y'all. And it helps. It all helps. I love my new mediation life. I plan on meditating every single day for the rest of my life. That's commitment. And I'm so ready for it. But I now know it won't prevent an attack from sneaking in every now and then like an underage teen into a club. Sneaky little monkey.

 

So here I am, today, pouring out my experience, not as a guru on how to rid the anxiety, but to hopefully make those who read it and feel this too to be able to say, "Oh good! It's not just single solitary me in this whole wide universe feeling this way!" This is for the people who just needed to know they're not alone, and that social media presentation isn't perfect, and that everyone has battles...and monsters... and they need to be walked...and fed...and it just so happens that feeding time can happen when you totally don't need it to or want it to, and that it's okay...and it will be okay...and you'll get through it...and I'll get through it...and we can just keep helping each other along...after all, isn't our purpose in life to help others through it?


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