I was standing in my kitchen, surrounded by leftover balloons from my daughters birthday. I felt it coming. The pain in my chest, trembling and unable to catch my breath. I clung to the kitchen sink trying to steady my breathing. For about a week I brushed off these feelings as exhaustion and just normal hormones. But little signs were seeping through that something was wrong. I would flip out about every inch of my house being a disaster. I cleaned the playroom in a huff of anger that my two tiny toddlers hadn't done it themselves. I lost my temper over and over with silly things that normally would be no big deal. I was severely overwhelmed. Defeated.
And something about a pile of balloons did me in. And I lost it. I had a panic attack.
There's something truly terrifying about not being able to control your body and your emotions. I reached out to a friend who I knew had suffered from anxiety, and I'm so glad I did. She encouraged me to seek help. But you see, I'm incredibly stubborn when it comes to asking for help. I have convinced myself that I should be superwoman and I should be able to do it all.
So I had an inner argument in a puddle of tears on my bed that afternoon.
I'm fine. I couldn't suffer from something like this. I'm just having a bad day. I'll be fine.
But I wasn't fine. I was far from fine. I sat there having uncontrollable attack after attack. So I called my doctor and cried to her on the phone. Admitting something was wrong was the hardest part. She wanted to put me on medicine. The kind of medicine that people take who have problems. But I'm fine. This couldn't happen to ME, could it? I have a wonderful life, three amazing kids and a rock of a husband. How on earth could I be having such anxiety? But I am. And there's nothing I could do about it.
There's a common misconception that if you are a follower of Christ, you would never get depressed or suffer from a "mental illness". That's a very very wrong myth. Honestly? I was always one of those people that didn't think mental illness was a real thing until I walked through some tough postpartum depression with a friend.
We as moms go through so much and try to carry the weight of the world on ourselves. Until we break.
I was standing in church with my husband last weekend, with a tiny baby in my arms. Praising God. For all He had given me and all He had done.
But at that moment I had no idea what was really going on with me.
Why my heart was so anxious and my mind wasn't at ease.
"Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7
He asked us to cast our anxiety on him. Meaning there would be anxiety. And some of us suffer from it worse than others. I never dreamed it would happen to me. But it did.
I am currently suffering from post partum anxiety. I have scary panic attacks over silly things like a room full of people or my kids toys being on the floor. I love my life and adore my children, but it still happened to me. I have strong faith and put all my hope in Jesus, and it still happened to me.
It can happen to anyone.
A quick note to family and close friends who are personally walking through this with me and asking what you can do. I'm scared to ask for help, so offer it. Practical ways you can help? Food. Notes of encouragement. Love on my kids. And most importantly, I need prayer. Be patient with me through this time while we adjust and figure out how to handle it. I'm getting help and I'm learning how to better deal with the anxiety.
Thank you so much for your prayers and concern.