I’m slacking on the baking, but I promise I have a good reason. I started a new job a week or so ago, but this is the first week I’m back to full time. PLUS, I’m back on the carb-free sugar-free bandwagon, so unless I’ve got someone to give it to, I’m avoiding baked goods.
Working 40 hours a week after being off for a month and a half is definitely a challenge. I’m struggling with pushing through, fighting the fibromyalgia pain that comes with sitting in a chair all day, and dealing with the stresses of a new job situation.
But I’ve got a secret, too. Something I’ve avoided posting about as much as possible, and something that I try very hard not to discuss IRL.
I suffer from severe social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Wikipedia says that: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friend problems, relationship problems or work difficulties.
But, AlleyRose, you’re so NORMAL! I hear you all saying. (No…I don’t also hear voices…)
The thing is, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for the majority of my life. Starting in the ninth grade, I began losing interest in things that normally excited me. My schoolwork, which often got a lot of my time and energy, began consuming me; hours spent first taking notes in class, and then re-writing them at home with just the right pen, in perfect printing. I started to withdraw, alienating friends and family alike with my nose buried in a book. My parents assumed this was the shy-kid’s typical reaction to starting high school. I, however, assumed it was something different.
By the time I turned 16, I was experiencing panic attacks, night terrors, depressive episodes, crying jags, and a perpetually-bloody lip from gnawing on it all the time. I had turned my obsessive thoughts into compulsive behaviours, meticulously counting and dividing items into even numbers, going days without sleep to complete the perfect school project, and restricting what I ate because it hurt my anxiety-ridden stomach less. Its a miracle that I met J when I did, at age 16, and that’s a fabulous story…but its one for another day He was an enormous help in calming me down, and I know that God brought him to me for a reason.
I got a vague sense of relief from anti-anxiety meds, and I felt confident enough in my mental health to go away to university. Buried in my books, I felt normal again. ‘m not going to downplay the amount that I suffered throughout the years, but I know that what I went through is minimal compared to the struggles that others fight daily.
Is it bad to say that I thought I was “cured”? I got married, graduated with two degrees, moved to a new town, and even tapered down to the lowest possible maintenance dose of Prozac. I worked a full time job, got involved in church, and thought I was doing just fine.
Until the beast crept up on me again. The anxiety, worming its way into my life, slowly so that I didn’t notice its presence. I didn’t think anything of turning down an invitation to a girls night because I was too tired. I didn’t blink before saying no to a weekend away, or a road trip to a new city. But then I began noticing that the same anxiety, the same excuses started creeping up when it came time to go to church….or work….or even step out of the house for groceries. Before I knew it, I was so consumed by this fear; this social anxiety; that I would be content to never leave the house again.
So here I sit. This week has been the worst week (anxiety-wise) that I can remember in the last five years. I’m constantly brushing away waves of panic, torrents of fear, cascades of worry. I’m waking up at three in the morning to write lists of things that I think I’ve forgotten, or questions I have to ask. I’m moody, irritable, exhausted…and all because of this gnawing, angry pit in my stomach. I’m anxious as hell, and I don’t know what to do about it.
I’m headed back to the doctor on Tuesday. I pray constantly that there is some answer, some way I can get my life back to normal again. And the ONLY thing that keeps me moving from day to day is this:
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And the Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Whether you believe that the Bible is true or not (I do), you have to admit…those are some beautiful, comforting, reassuring words. Even if I’m out of control, God’s got me covered.