It was around 10 PM the first time it hit me. Laying in bed, I was thinking about all of the to-do’s I had to accomplish over the next few days….
“I need to send over information to a lead at work. I have to make 100 cold calls to my client list within the next 2 days. I need to prep worship songs for our bible study on Monday. I need to reschedule the happy hour with my friend so I can take the call with a new bridal client. I need to follow up with a photographer for a wedding I’m working. I must find an assistant to help me with next month’s wedding, I need to work on my pitches for my *actual* job and present them to managers next week and shoot - did I order groceries to get delivered tomorrow? We have a dinner date tomorrow night at the house I need to cook for...”
As I continued running through the never ending list in my head, my heart started to pound faster and faster, my breathing became more rapid and I started to get light headed. My hands were sweaty, I felt like I was weightless but the world was pressing into me at the same time - making it more difficult to breathe. Laying down felt like I was suffocating, standing up felt like I was going to fall down, curling up in a ball on the bed was the only thing that felt ‘safe’.
While I didn’t know it at the time, I was having a full-fledged panic attack.
After about 20 minutes of feeling like I was getting squeezed tighter and tighter, too many tears to count, and my husband holding me, not really knowing what else to do, I finally came to and went to sleep, emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted.
The next morning, I apologized to my husband for my “outburst”. He looked at me like I was crazy. “Why are you apologizing?” He asked me.
Honestly - I was embarrassed. The “for better or for worse” vows I had given to Jacob so many months ago surely couldn’t have meant this. I was always in control, ahead of the game and leader of the pack. I could do anything I set my mind to, and had never had this happen before.
As I explained this to him, he pulled me into a hug and reminded me that I don’t need to apologize for feeling the way that I do. He reminded me that the anxiety I was feeling was normal for someone so busy all the time, but the way I was reacting to it was not normal and that we should talk more about it throughout the week.
A couple days passed, and then I had another one… and another one, until it got to the point where I was constantly worrying about getting triggered and having an attack around my friends or somewhere where I wouldn’t be able to control myself.
Finally, after seeing how much I was taken captive by my anxiety I addressed it with Jacob again. We talked through why I was feeling so anxious all the time, what was triggering it, how my body handled it, and what we could do to prevent it.
After our talks I realized a 3 hard-hitting truths that can be applied to all of us who struggle with anxiety:
I was overwhelmed and needed to do something about it.
Working a fulltime job as a tech sales rep and adding on starting my own business at the same time while also staying extremely involved in our church, our bible study, maintaining friendships, and also maintaining a marriage was taking its toll.
2. My self-care was lacking
With such a crazy schedule, I wasn’t taking time to self-reflect, spend time with Jesus and love myself. My days were filled with me just trying to get to the next day without having a meltdown. Can anyone else relate?
3. I didn’t seek help sooner.
To be 100% honest - I’m stubborn. While I kept thinking that I was busy and overwhelmed, I didn’t express that to my friends or family until I had hit my breaking point.
All in all, I needed to take a step back, focus on my mental health and bring in community to hold me accountable and love me where I was.
To my brides, bridal planning is really difficult - it can be stressful, mentally exhausting and you can feel drained the majority of the time. Don’t let it get you to the point where you’re having panic attacks at night!
To my corporate workers - don’t let your work get to the point where you are drained 24/7 and mentally checked out, unable to enjoy all of the beautiful moments that make life wonderful.
Your anxiety does not define you, and if you need help - ask for it! Nothing is more brave than realizing that we can’t live life alone.
Need help? I’d love to connect you with some amazing organizations that help men and women work through their anxiety.