This week is Mental Health Awareness Week….there are millions…more than we know that suffer from one form or another.
Back when I just rounded the 30’s corner…right in the midst of raising our four children, and helping Dave farm, I had what I would call a nervous breakdown. I began having severe anxiety. It took a while to overcome, but the Lord and I came to terms. I’ve been mostly panic free since that time. If you’ve never had a panic attack….it’s really hard to understand…and almost impossible to describe. The best I can do is to say that your mind tells you the WORST things you can imagine, and this overwhelming fear comes over you. Fears to the most irrational things you can imagine. It’s so overwhelming that you sweat and shake. Getting the thoughts to go away is very near impossible. The reason I’m telling you this is because this week, my ‘ole nemesis returned. This week I’ve had anxiety that has been really hard to fight. I’ve been praying about this, but I think the main thing is surgery needs to be over with.
A little history might help Y’all understand….and hopefully some of you can connect. When I was fourteen, I had have an emergency appendectomy. I’d never been through surgery, and had no preconceptions about it. Right before surgery they came to give me my prep shot….which was suppose to calm me. Instead it caused me severe anxiety, and I begin to panic, and vomit. Then mid-way through surgery, I woke up….or I should say, my mind woke up. I could hear the surgeon talking, the nurses, and realized they were nowhere near through. What I couldn’t do however, is open my eyes, move my arms, my lips…nothing. I was petrified. As I lay there, I just kept screaming in my mind…please….I’m awake!!! I’m not sure how long it lasted….long enough, but when I finally could move, the surgeon said, “I’m not quite done yet” Great…that was inspiring! I’m not sure what went wrong, but I’ve been deathly afraid of anesthesia since. I know in my heart that this can be fixed, that the anesthesiologist can control it, but this isn’t getting to my heart. Praying helps momentarily, but if I don’t stay busy….it comes right back. The last few weeks I haven’t felt like doing a lot…mostly because of pain and weakness. I think part of that is also depression, which goes with anxiety. I’ve done some paintings…but yesterday I tried…and I couldn’t do anything, but make a muddy mess on my canvas….ugh!
I have to say, I have some really amazing friends. They’ve encouraged and supported my whining through all of this. I seriously don’t think I could have survived this week without knowing they were there for me.
Anxiety is one of the worst types of mental illnesses. And, from what my doctor told me back in the day, one of the most common. His words: “Anxiety is more common, than the common cold!”. So…at least I know I’m not CRAZY!!! Besides, I had a brain scan while doing all my other MRIs….and Y’all, believe it or not, they said my head…..was PERFECTLY normal! So, now I have proof!!! lol
Here are a few things I have found works for anxiety:
- Prayer: I can’t tell you all the things I’ve discussed with the Lord. What seems trivial to the human ear, is important to him. He cares about everything you care about….and then some. Even the bible tells us….he knows how many hairs are on your head….Isn’t that amazing?!! Luke 12:7 King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
- Exercise: it’s one of the best ways. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, just a brisk walk works wonders.
- Find a hobby you love.
- Call a friend. Your friends can help more than you know. Even if you don’t discuss your anxiety with them, don’t close yourself off from the world. It’s natural to do this when you are suffering…resist it.
- Turn on the radio. Music is so very soothing to the heart and mind.
- Play with your animals. Science has proven that pets are relaxing…take advantage of them….they love to be used! lol
- Clean house. This should be the last on the list! I HATE HOUSEWORK!!! But…it works
- Take a class. If you have a local college or places that offer workshops, take advantage. You might find a hobby you didn’t know you love.
- Watch a funny movie. I would love to say watch a love story….but sappy movies kinda make me worse when I’m sad and nervous.
Do you suffer from anxiety? Depression? How do you deal with fear?