S I G H.......

On Wednesday I went to the doctor for my post diagnosis check up, which was supposed to happen back in November.  Thankfully I got a good report!  My numbers are going down, I've lost 20 pounds and aside from not implementing an exercise plan, I'm on the right track!  But as the nurse was going over my information she asked me a few questions.  One of them was "Do you ever have feelings of depression or hopelessness?"  I know I've been asked that question before, but this time was different. 

artwork by Jaysen

artwork by Jaysen

I answered yes.  I don't ever talk about it and honestly I've never thought much about it until recently.  I've never really thought it was much of an issue.  You see, a few years ago I experienced some strange sensations in my chest, neck, head, and arms.  I had no idea what brought them on because it happened while I was either reading to my children or spending time with friends.  I eventually went to the Emergency Room during one episode and was told after some testing, that it was due to stress.  I was so thankful that it wasn't something more......serious.  If you had asked me back then if I had felt stressed, my answer would have definitely been No. 

But one thing I didn't realize back then was that you don't necessarily have to be in a current state of stress for your body to feel it and to react in a stressed way and that stress was serious.  I was perfectly calm or seriously enjoying myself when my body reacted in these strange ways.  Years have passed since then, I eventually spoke with my doctor and agreed to start taking an anti-anxiety medicine.  I would rather not have needed to take the medicine but I knew that I needed something more to help with the stress.  Also, my dear friend Melissa, would not let me leave the doctor without acknowledging just how stressful my life actually was and without getting some sort of "help".  Thank you Miss!!

Fast forward to just a few hours ago.  As I was working around the kitchen, I let out a nice, deep sigh.  My son asked me what the sigh was for.  I'm not sure that he was prepared for the answer.  You see, packed inside that one solitary sigh, was a minefield of emotion, struggle and stress.  Ready to dive in?  Okay.......I'm in the middle of baking 6 dozen cookies, I'm trying to clean up from a lunch that I didn't have to make (holla), which led me to the sink that was getting quite full of the day's dishes, which led me to the fact that the dishwasher needs to be unloaded.  I should stop and unload it, re-load it and then wash the extra dishes, but......I need to get this baking done.  Oliver doesn't seem very happy at the moment, I should be out there with him and Maggie so that Joe can get his work done.  Jaysen (the one who asked me the loaded question) was busy working on a paper and Jessica was upstairs, but also has a work load that needs attention.  From there I thought, Joe should take the kids outside, they would love that, but I know that he won't want to do that, no one ever wants to go outside.  Why don't I ever want to take the kids outside?  Somehow, I jumped from that to wondering if I will ever open an actual bake shop, if we will ever move from NJ to AL.  Maybe I'm just letting my OCD get the best of me.  Why can't I just be content where I'm at?   Maybe something really is wrong with me......... 

I struggle with anxiety, daily.  Anxiety coupled with hormones, coupled with a new diabetic diagnosis can and does lead to thoughts and feelings of depression.  If you add to that the wonderful fullness of my life (read stress) at any given moment, I could actually be considered a ticking time bomb.  Okay, maybe not quite, but lately it seems like just about anything can set me off into an anxiety ridden tizzy. 

Take today for instance.  I had to force myself out of bed.  I forced myself to get dressed today.  I forced myself to write in my gratitude journal that I haven't touched in a year.  I forced myself to read the Word.  I felt good after that.  The day was going fine.  Once I started to bake I could feel the annoyance coming on because there was no room to put anything.  But I talked myself down and just moved things out of my way.  I was still good.  Then, all of a sudden, it was too late.  I was on a downward spiral.  Now, it didn't stop me, or render me useless.  I was still working and baking, but I think that if Jaysen hadn't asked me what the sigh was about, that negative feeling would have continued and grown.

Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. An estimated 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment, even though the disorders are highly treatable.
— https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

My point in sharing this today is that you never know who is dealing with anxiety or depression.  Many of us hide it well. Some may actually be afraid of admitting their disorder, or may not even know that it is a disorder and not just normal stress.  Some are embarrassed and/or ashamed, therefore they would never even think about asking for help.   It seems that learning to listen to my body because of the diabetes is also causing me to focus on my emotional health as well.  I am trying to be more aware of my thoughts and feelings and I'm also trying to let those closest to me know how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking.  Recognizing those things that could be causing those feelings is essential to getting healthy.

artwork by Jaysen

artwork by Jaysen

If you think that you may suffer from anxiety disorders, do some research, talk to someone, get help.  I believe that if we can be more open and honest about our humanity, we can help one another.  We need to create an environment in our lives and online where we feel safe to express a struggle or a fear.  We all need to know that we are not alone in this or anything else that we may be struggling with.  The world is so full of hatred and judgement, let's make sure that we are not contributing to that by putting on blinders and pretending not to notice the suffering or by putting on a mask and pretending that we are not suffering. 

Please know, that this is a safe place.  How Sweet it will be to come together, share in our struggles and our joys and to be united.