Deep Breaths:: Part 2

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I wasn't sure if I do would do another post like my first one on this subject or if I would just stop there.
 That day I wasn't sure if I would leave it up or delete it after a day...or an hour..or a week.
But I decided to leave it's still up.
I felt better just writing it and then I felt fine about publishing it.
The comments and emails helped even more, it was actually a bit of a relief.
I think it was the right decision for me.
And here I am, back for Part 2.

I feel different and a lot better than I did at the time of my first post on this topic. 
It was just posted last week but I had actually written it a week prior and just wasn't sure
at the time whether or not whether I wanted to share it or not. I was outing myself...could I do it?
It's not necessarily that I am embarrassed or ashamed, not really.
It's more just that I don't feel like people who have not personally dealt with anxiety and panic
can really understand it all.
Just like I cannot fully understand any other illness or health issue others have dealt with/are dealing
with that I have not personally had to deal with myself...
Does that make sense?

When I came out of the closet (I say this jokingly but when you come clean and are totally honest about something you want to try and handle yourself, it does feel like coming out of the closet a bit)
to my mom on Easter weekend and let her know how bad things really were, her first response
was that she wanted to help; "I wish I could do something to help."
Of course she does, she is my mom and that's what moms do.
We want to fix it, to make it better, not to see our kids suffer in any way.
But she can't fix it. And I can't even really "fix it" myself, either.
This is something I have struggled with for quite a while and I will continue to struggle with it.
I have to learn how to deal with it.
I doAnd that's what I'm doing.
And it's going to be a long road with lots of bumps along the way.

Taking the first step two weeks ago was the best and only decision for me at the time.
I no longer had control. I was weepy, stressed and not sleeping good.
I did not feel like myself at all.
I was anxious all day long, being woke up by panic attacks in the middle of the night that truly feel like what a heart attack must feel like, and then not be able to go back to sleep at all.
Then you become scared you are going to have another panic attack...and the anxiety returns...
or never goes away in the first place...and the cycle continues.
Anxiety also brings many physical symptoms that begin to really take a toll on you.
The cycle is then compounded by lack of sleep.
And by lack of sleep I mean waking up at 12:30 feeling anxious and not being able to go
 back to sleep until after 5:00 a.m. Oh, I feel for people with insomnia now, I really do.

The best way I can describe my experience with panic and anxiety is this:
Imagine your worries, you average everyday worries and your big stressful worries chugging along in your head in an old-fashioned car, just puttering along...barely moving.
During a rough patch of anxiety and panic those little average, everyday worries and the
big stressful worries just take off.
It's like they have jumped out of that puttering old-fashioned car and are now on a fast-moving
 train with no way to stop. Totally out of your control.
{Wait-did that just make me sound crazy for real? I think it did.}
Well meaning people want you to "try not to worry" but it is beyond that.
It is completely normal to worry but this is beyond worrying, folks.

I have more to say but I think I will save that for another day.
I have gotten so many comments and emails since my first post and I really appreciate
 every last one of them. Really and truly.
I have heard from people by email that do not feel comfortable sharing their own experiences in the comments section and I totally get that, too. Maybe this will help other people in some little way.
I have to laugh that I titled my first post "Deep Breaths" because at that time, two weeks ago or
 more,  I was not able to really take a deep breath, like not at all.
But today I am. Long, deep breaths.
It's a start.
And we'll see what tomorrow brings. 


  1. this is so good, amy. i've dealt with some anxiety in my life too. i loved the book.."calm my anxious heart" by linda dillow. she has some great things to say about anxiety.

  2. ok...this is a hug..


    if i'd ever really moved up the road from we have plotted in the past...i would hug you...

    friends can't fix anything...but we can just *be there* for you...sp thats what i'm gonna do...

    thinking of you....M xxx

  3. Lovely pictures.

    Sometimes continually writing out the emotions I have built up inside of me helps me deal with them. Hopefully these posts are doing the same for you. Prayers and hugs to you that there is relief and reassurance in sight!


  4. I am so glad you are sharing this. I am behind on blog reading so I had to go back and read your earlier post after I read this. All I can say right now is I relate. And I have been feeling so burnt out with blogging and tweeting because it feels like everyone (well, most everyone) presents this shiny happy face and I keep thinking, what's wrong with me? So just know you are not alone. And there are bloggers who appreciate seeing a real face now and then!

  5. I like your follow up post to the first one, and I'm glad to hear you're in a better place now, although I know (from my own experience with chronic depression and anxiety) that there will be ups and downs on the road ahead-- it's good that you recognize and accept that. If I may ask, what are your methods of coping? (Reading books, taking medication, talking to a therapist, meditation?) By opening up, I think you are helping other people to understand better what its like to experience anxiety and anxiety attacks-- so again, thanks for sharing.

  6. I am glad you are sharing because it makes me feel less alone (wait, that makes me very selfish). my panic attacks/anxiety isn't quite that bad, but I can see where it might reach that point, if I don't try to somehow gain control over it....I can't fall asleep until 1-2 and then wake up constantly the remainder of the night and can't get back to sleep and then when morning comes I feel like a truck hit me and can't get up!! it's so hard!
    I totally understand you and I feel so good knowing I am not alone. thank you for sharing!

  7. I wish I had something to say that would be helpful, but all I can think of falls along the lines of "don't worry" and, being prone to this myself, I know just how trite that would sound.

    In my most recent bout of this, I did notice one little thing though. I was panicking about 10 billion potential things, but really, once I got some perspective, I realized they were almost all red herrings. Something for me to glom onto and scrub at because I hadn't identified what was really bothering me under the surface. Once what was at root got resolved, all the other worries just melted away.

    I don't know if that's true in all cases or for different people even. But maybe it's worth taking a look at? Maybe all the multitudes of worries are just distractions from something deeper that you're worried about and that needs attention or resolution, and the rest of the anxieties are just your mind's way of trying to do SOMETHING about it. I don't know. I hope that helps! And in the meantime, HUGS.

  8. and all i can do is chime in on the "i know how you are feeling" i have had this several years and it makes me so mad that me and my family have to go through that. but some days are much better than others ofcourse. thank you for your post today!

  9. Hugs, Amy.

    Keep taking those deep breaths.

  10. i've totally been wanting to delete my last couple posts too. but i know there's power in the telling. i'm proud of you and can see your faith in taking those small steps bravely. just don't forget for one second that God sees you and wants to be there for you too.

  11. hi friend!
    i feel like i haven't seen you in forever (april was sort of a ridiculously busy month around here) and now i want to jump into my monitor so i can come over and chat with you. i struggle with this so i DO understand. ever since i was a kid it would come and go, but at certain times in my life it just took over. counseling helped me more then i can explain. saying how i felt out loud to someone that not only understood, but didn't judge me for it, felt so freeing. being pregnant with piper after samuel died was pretty much my breaking point. i was so overwhelmed that i wasn't sure how to function. after learning how to cope with my anxiety i feel like a new person. i know how to talk myself down before the attack begins. i'm praying for your friend. i pray that you can find the way to cope, too. xoxo

  12. it's so good to know you are not alone. here's to praying that you will find the answers you need to get past this "thorn" in your life.

  13. hi there. i saw your comment on the deeper story today and clicked over. i want to say thank you. it is SO important for people to discuss this topic -- bravo!

    i can relate. i am bipolar and i struggled for so long with no understanding of what was happening to me. I hated myself for not being able to just 'get it together'. once i was diagnosed it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.

    i decided to blog about my experience with a mental disorder because so many people suffer in silence and feel so alone. it is my hope and prayer that more people will be brave like you and share themselves so that others can be comforted and reach out to get help.

    keep it up!

  14. I have experience with this. I got help this past end of summer/early fall when I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. For three months I took anti-anxiety medicine & hit a literal re-set button. Dang that was super tough, but Nick (hubby) was so very supportive. That helped! If you ever just want to talk about what your dealin with let me know. I've totally been there & done that- and manage it still. Some days are worse than others, but you are soooo right JUST BREATHE.

    PS. I have found that if I acknowledge the anxiety attack it will go away much faster than if I feed into it.


  15. Oh, Amy, bravo you, Sweetheart, for keeping on posting about your experiences. So many of us can relate to them in so many different ways.

    Know you are definitely not alone. And you are strong and brave for realising you need help to start changing your thought patterns.

    I have found CBT to be supremely important in shifting my old, unhelpful ones. Best of British to you, my friend! J x


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