I had such amazing feedback from my first entry and I want to thank y’all for taking the time out and reading what I have to say. I think women uplifting women is a beautiful thing and it’s also something that isn’t preached enough.
As women, we tend to be guarded. We have this automatic sense to act stronger than we may feel. Women judge. We all do it, some more than others.. so we never want to reveal our weaknesses. I’ve always noticed women seem to be in competition with other women, who can lose the most weight, who is more stressed, who has more patience with their kids, etc. I can go on and on about what I observe women doing to each other. Why can’t we all just be supportive of one another and not judge? So many things are left in secret because we don’t want to feel weaker than someone else. We don’t want anyone to think they are stronger than us, more equip to handle situations than us, or more ahead of us in general. So we bottle it up and seal it with a nice little ribbon and send it on down the river.
We shouldn’t have to do that. You’d be surprised how much you may have in common with someone once you really sat down and listened to one another. Everyone needs a friend. Everyone needs someone to listen. To care. To understand.
I’ve been battling with anxiety for the past two years. When I say anxiety, I don’t just mean I’m scared to be home alone because I fear a man in a black hoodie is going to break in and stab me with a knife. (Although, that is one of my thoughts every time I hear a noise.) I mean, I’ve been battling something that I could no longer control on my own. I’ve always had little things happen where I say, “omg this gives me such bad anxiety.” But just over this past two years has it gotten to the point where I feel like I’m dying. Like death just knocked on my door and turned the knob a few times to scare me.
At first it was just heart palpitations. I say “just” because it gets much worse, but heart palpitations are just as scary as anything else. I became obsessed with checking my heart rate, being so overly cautious of when my heart would skip a beat. I had a calendar on my phone of all the days and times that I thought my heart stopped.
Then, the choking started. No, I didn’t choke on my hidden bag of skittles in my purse, I would choke on nothing. I felt hands squeezing my neck and I physically could not swallow. I would start coughing and grasping at the air to catch my breath. It was one of the scariest things I have ever been through.
The worst of it all was the headaches. Every single day my head hurt. It felt like a blood pressure cuff was squeezing my head and I would feel my head pulsating all day long. It hurt, it was uncomfortable, it was torture. I saw doctors, had CT scans done and really embarrassed myself with all the trips to the hospital I made because I was convinced the pain and discomfort was a brain tumor.
My left eye was blurry for over a year. I saw floaters in my eyes for over a year, and I hated what my life had become for that year.
I’ve had my license for 12 years and have never been in a car accident. When all of this was happening to me, I backed up into a mailbox in my husbands truck, which had a back up camera, because the floaters were so bad they blocked out most of my vision. The truck is okay y’all, I know if you’re a man reading this, that would be your first concern. (My husband’s was, but I knew he cared about my well being too.) I didn’t hit it hard, but hard enough to know someone was going to wake up to a little dent in their mailbox.
I contemplated life a few times. Is this really how I want to live my life? Can I be the mother and wife I need to be when I can’t even get out of bed without crying? Was I going to kill myself? No. I wasn’t. I had three beautiful children who needed me and didn’t see me as “sick.” I hid it well. (another one of women’s greatest talents.) I never let them see me cry. See me stare off into nothing. See me crumble. I was their whole world and to them, I’m perfect.
At one point, I lost 35 pounds. Not from the natural, healthy way of diet and exercise.. but from not eating. I wasn’t not eating on purpose. I would try. I just couldn’t swallow food. Yup, you read that right. I got to a point where I physically couldn’t swallow food. I would cry trying to get it down. I was so brain washed that this food was bad for me, that ibuprofen was going to give me stomach ulcers, that too much coffee was going to make my heart beat too fast. I had all these ridiculous theories engraved in my brain. They were real to me though. I honestly believed them.
Looking back now, I think, omg how didn’t my husband divorce me?! He married a psychopath. He stuck by my side through all of it. All the hospital stays, all the nights I laid in bed and cried, all the days when I needed to be alone, all the fits, the breakdowns, the panic attacks. He stood by my side in my sickness. That’s what anxiety is. It’s an sickness.
Today, I still struggle with it. I am on medicine now, so it’s better, but it’s still there. I am a stronger woman because of what I went through. I am a wiser person because of what I went through. So please, reach out. If you are dealing with anxiety, depression, addiction, whatever it may be, don’t be afraid to find a friend. Don’t be afraid that someone will think less of you, or that you aren’t suitable to take care or your family. (That was one of the main reasons I stayed silent.) I promise you, people who genuinely care and want to see you succeed will be the listening ear you needed and the helping hand to give you. No one is perfect, we all have our faults, our experiences, our traumas. We can learn from one another, we can grow, we can see, we can understand one another if we just listened.
Someone may have seen me on a bad day and said, “damn, she let herself go.” Instead of judging, think…”I wonder why she looks so down?” I wonder if I can help. Be the leader, not the follower.