Thursday, June 11, 2015
Choosing to Talk About My Anxiety Disorder
Back when I was a child, my dad used to sing a song to me. He would sing, "oh, she worries, oh, how she worries." I would miss my first days of school, because I would "pre-worry" so much that it was debilitating. As I grew older, the "pre-worrying," followed me like a constant shadow. When I would host gatherings or other events for family and friends, the entire time beforehand I would constantly be worrying. Once the actual event or gathering would start, I would be fine. Once I got married and started having children, the "pre-worrying" continued. About three years ago, I went and talked to a psychologist about everything that was going on in my life, because I was feeling a tad "overwhelmed." I distinctly remember looking right at the psychologist at one of my sessions and asking her, "so, do you think I have anxiety?" I expected her to tell me no. She was like, "oh, yeah, you do!" Wow, to finally have a "name," for all those feelings I had for so long was actually, well, life-changing. When I next went to my primary care doctor, she asked me if I wanted to be put on medication (Lexapro) for my anxiety. I was extremely hesitant. Well, let me just say this. I really, truly wish I would have been on the Lexapro since my teens. Up until now, just a few family members and close friends know that I have anxiety and take medication for it. I haven't really been keeping it a "secret," but rather felt that it was my private business. I have come to the conclusion that it is not something to be ashamed of and that's why I am choosing now to talk about my anxiety. It's a conversation that is long overdue. Demi Lovato, the singer, lives with bipolar disorder and has recently become the spokesperson for, Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health, which is, "an initiative encouraging people across America to use their voice in support of mental health. Be Vocal aims to empower adults living with mental health conditions to speak up when talking with their professional support team and to speak up as a community to advance mental health in America." Wow, she is a mature young woman, isn't she? I have a ton of respect and admiration for someone that does that. It seems like just about everyday, we hear of a young person taking their own life. Heartbreaking, isn't it? Robin Williams, the actor, seemed to have it all. He evidently struggled for a long time with depression. How many of us knew that? I know I didn't. I guess he kept it "hidden" pretty well. Sad and tragic at the same time, huh? When someone has depression, unfortunately you can't just tell them to be, "happy," it doesn't quite work that way. Sometimes you need medication and/or therapy. I can only speak from my own personal experience, but I take my medication faithfully, everyday for my anxiety and am glad that I do. My "pre-worrying" has almost come to a complete halt. How about this for an idea? Let's stop sweeping mental health issues under the "carpet" and start the conversation!!!!