July 3, 2020

Living With Anxiety (Continued)

I’ve written about my struggles with anxiety before, but I wanted to address them again, given the crazy string of events that have happened in recent months.  The uncertainty of quarantine and the pandemic, as well as the volatility of our country as a whole, have been R-O-U-G-H on my nerves.  Not to mention the fact that the one year anniversary of my dad’s death was just last month, so my mental state has been nothing short of fragile.  And I’ve heard from countless other people who’ve said that their anxiety has also been through the roof lately.  So I thought that by opening up here and on my Instagram stories, it could maybe help someone else to realize that he/she is not alone.

For me, what seems to trigger my anxiety the most is stress, and when I’m feeling overwhelmed with things that are out of my control, I often just want to retreat into my own little bubble.  Remember how you’d wanna crawl under the covers when you were a kid because it felt like you could shut out the whole entire world?  Well, that’s similar to what I tend to use as a defense mechanism.  Sometimes I can put on a happy face and push all that worry to the side, but other times, I just can’t.  And as much as I’d like to be the one in charge, my anxiety often declares itself the head honcho.

The worst is when it flares up at night, and I’m left with my own thoughts spinning round and round and round my head.  Trying to fall asleep when your brain has about 25 different tabs open is next to impossible, let me tell ya.  This restlessness then leads to insomnia, which then leads to sleep deprivation, which ultimately leads to even more feelings of anxiety.  It’s like a horrible vicious cycle that never ends.

What’s truly amazing is how people think you can just snap out of it, too.  Believe me, if I could, don’t you think I most certainly would?!  And comments like, “I am really starting to worry about you!” or “There’s nothing for you to worry about!” are actually not at all helpful to someone who is struggling with anxiety or depression.  Those remarks only make you feel worse because you feel like something is really wrong with YOU.  And it’s during those times when I just want to stay at home in my “safe space” where no one is judging me.  (Hello, little bubble, it’s me again!)  What would actually be more helpful is for people to just listen and to say they are there to support you however you need.

I just reached out to my doctor to ask her advice, so we shall see what she says. I have been on the same anxiety medication for years now, but I am starting to wonder if maybe I need to switch it up to a new kind.  Maybe I’ve grown immune to it or something?  In the meantime, my hope is that this post helps to jumpstart a conversation about mental health.  I think women especially feel they should struggle in silence because they don’t want others to think that they can’t do it all.  The thing is though, NO ONE can do it all!!!  And there are far more of us who deal with anxiety than most people even realize.

So, if you are dealing with any of the same/similar feelings as me, I’d love to hear what coping strategies you are using.  How do you think we can best support one another?  And what do you wish people understood about mental health issues?


  1. Jennifer says:

    I know your struggles. This is how I explain it on my FB page:
    Did you know that there is a difference between anxiety and anxiety disorder? Everyone gets anxiety from this crazy world we live in. However, if you have anxiety disorder, it just means you have a low level of serotonin produced in your stomach, which triggers neurotransmitters that lead to the brain, and is usually genetic. It can cause different symptoms in different individuals. For instance, I get tension headaches, stomach aches, and most frustrating, a hard time getting a deep breath, that will sometimes lead to panic attacks. Jacie however will get migraines, and deep stomach pains. Because Jacie had different symptoms than I did, we had a hard time diagnosing her. She went through CT scans, X-rays, multiple specialists, and lots of blood work. When she came back healthy each time, I suggested it was anxiety, and our family doctor agreed, and with medicine she was able to go back to school, and be her happy self again. Medicine isn’t a cure, however it allows you to live with it. The medicine doesn’t change your personality or mood, it just makes your symptoms milder. With anxiety disorder, anything can trigger symptoms, even if you are excited about something or have a fun filled day at Disneyland, or a party. It may not come on until the next day and leave you feeling drained and not feeling well. Its annoying, but be patient with those who have it, and please don’t tell them to calm down and just breathe! lol Encourage them to see someone, and not to be ashamed of medication, that they simply don’t produce what their body needs! 🙂 And that is my teaching for the day! #themoreyouknow 😆

    • Jennifer says:

      That is an excellent way to explain it!!!!!! Thank you!!!

    • Kelly says:

      Wow! Jennifer’s comment is exactly what I needed to hear! I’ve been told that mine is caused from a chemical imbalance (which Jennifer calls an anxiety disorder) and it does run in my family! That’s why I take medication every day of my life. I don’t plan on getting off it because last time I did I spiraled so low into a funk that I thought I’d never feel normal again! The meds take about a month to fully change it. That can be the longest month of your life. Xanax is wonderful to have in times of a flare up too. Antidepressants don’t work 24/7 perfectly. My triggers are when I’m either super excited about something or very nervous about something. I think it’s linked to having no control or high expectations over something. I’ve been on meds since 1997! Thanks for sharing this subject. I often feel alone with my condition because no one really talks about it.

      • Jennifer says:

        I wish there wasn’t such a stigma around mental health because sooooooooo many of us struggle with it. I’m glad you’ve figured out your triggers and have found what helps you to live with it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Deena says:

    Jen I can totally relate . Anxiety hits me like a brick out of no where . I haven’t figured out exactly what triggers it but when I get it I feel like my body is running a race even if I am sitting still . I can’t sleep sometimes and than other times all I want to do is sleep or lay down . I have been on meds and my doctor just changed it . Thanks Jen you are not alone either

    • Jennifer says:

      It’s not easy to live with because you just don’t know when it’s gonna hit sometimes. I’m glad your doc switched up your meds & hope that helps you. Praying that a switch might better help me too.

  3. Lisa says:

    You are definitely not alone, Jen. I’ve been on and off anxiety (and anti-depressant) meds for 20 years. I’ve tried several times to go off the meds by doing meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, working out, changing my diet but in the end I’ve come to terms that my body doesn’t produce what it should to fend off the anxiety and depression. So for me it’s best to stay on meds plus continue to do all the other techniques that help me deal with it. I’ve changed meds several times over the years as my body has changed. Definitely talk to your doctor if the current med isn’t as effective as it once was. We are all going through so much with the state of our country right now and it’s affecting us more than we realize. Take care of you!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with anxiety and depression. I’m glad that you’ve found what works best for you! My doctor has switched me to a new medication starting tomorrow, so hopefully, it’ll help. Fingers crossed….

  4. Dolli says:

    Mine is expressed by terrible acne breakouts (at age 53), IBS, inability to focus, exhaustion, and overeating. Dealing with these issues with my dad, on top of the Covid stuff, work and status of our country has me looking, and feeling, a hot mess.

    • Jennifer says:

      Isn’t getting older FUN??!! As women, our bodies go through sooooooooo many changes throughout our lives. And believe me, I understand all too well the stress of an ailing parent. Sending prayers & love your way.

  5. Tiffany says:

    We have lots of anxiety and our whole family and extended family, and it is frustrating how misunderstood it still is. However, I will tell you that the genetic testing that we had done with genomind changed everything. It’s not that kind of genetic testing where they trace your ancestors. It’s the kind where they break
    down your DNA to the point that they can tell you which medications will work, which ones won’t work, which ones will have side effects and how bad they will be, which ones won’t have any which ones you can
    use in combination with each other. It is amazing. And while we used it for anxiety medication, it lists painkillers as far as surgery would go and anesthesia and your ability to process ibuprofen or Tylenol And how effective it’ll be. And once you get the testing done it’s good for your entire life. One of my sons had tried every SSRI on the book and we were all at the end of our rope, and that’s when we first had this test done and the number one result was that SSRIs would not work and that only SNRIs would, and I’ll be damned, two weeks later, everything changed. It was literally life-altering for him. Because, at least in our house, not only is there no stigma, but also a great understanding that, as you have said, You do what you need to do to help yourself. Hell, I pay out the wazoo for one of my other kids to be on Accutane. Why would I not want to help with this?! And you hang in there. You’ll figure it out, and as a parent who has heard some really awful things said by other kids about people with mental health issues, you are doing your kids a great service by showing them that there’s no reason at all to make a big deal about it.

    • Jennifer says:

      I totally need to look into that testing!!! That would be such a huge game changer!!! You sound like you are an amazing mama to do whatever needs to be done to take care of mental health in your family!!!

  6. Tammy says:

    Thank you for sharing. I can totally relate to all you said. It’s a very lonely struggle. I try to give myself down days when I need them and try to push through the rest. I’ll be keeping all of you in my prayers for Gods peace!

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