So, What Brought Me Here -- My Anxiety Story, Final Installment

To catch up on my anxiety story, click on the anxiety tab in the left column under categories.

I had Reuben and life was great!

Soon after, my mother started having major memory issues that progressed quickly into Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and then she passed away. 

My mother's health has ALWAYS been a source of anxiety to me. Anxiety over the thoughts of the death of my parents has been major throughout my life. 

I learned a lot about death and dying in the process of losing my mother. So much so, that it eased my anxiety. I have always viewed death as a taboo, very clinical thing, but after some reading and being immersed in the dying process, my views have changed. 

I'm certainly not saying that watching someone die is easy. I'm not saying that losing a loved one isn't extremely sad. But, I found peace in the process. 

I grieved. I still grieve.

But, I felt (and still feel) peace. A MAJOR trigger of anxiety had been relieved. 

Also, I was on a quest to simplify my life and cut out as many chemicals in our daily lives as possible. 

So, I went off my meds.

I can sense you know what's coming...

Despite clean eating, exercise, essential oils, and many other natural remedies, I again found myself constantly trying to climb out of the hole of anxiety. 

For awhile, I put on a good show to those outside my immediate home. I could handle a night out with the girls and then, break down when I got home. But, soon I started making excuses as to why I couldn't go out. I started getting worked up the night before about things that were to happen the next day. There were MANY sleepless nights because I was in panic mode, and often if I did sleep, a panic attack would wake me up. Panic... in my sleep. It really happens.

Soon, I was feeling anxiety symptoms intensely for what seemed like all day everyday. I was exhausted because my body was constantly in fight or flight mode. The feelings of "crazy" would convince me that life was too much and I needed to be hospitalized. 

No matter how much I tried to replace my thoughts, no matter how much positive thinking I did, no matter how much praying I did, I still kept thinking and obsessing over irrational thoughts and my body would react in response... which causes more thinking... which causes more body symptoms. It's a vicious cycle. 

The anxiety became exposed beyond the confines of my house when Mike needed to be away for his work over night. In the past, this was no problem! This time, it was too much. I was freaking out. Here is a just a glimpse of my thought process:

Mike will be gone. What if he has to shut off his phone for meeting times? I won't be able to get hold of him. What if I can't get hold of him, because he is hurt or got in an accident? What If I get in an accident? What if since I am home alone, I fall down the stairs and can't wake up? The kids can't even call 911. The kids will not know what to do. They will be crying and screaming and alone! They will be unable to care for themselves. And then... my imagination can just go on from there. 

While he was gone that night, all I could do was sit the kids down in front of the tv with some snacks. I would go upstairs so I could cry, pace, and desperately try to control my symptoms (mainly, nausea, shortness of breath, weak knees and shaking hands). After a couple of hours, I called Mike (who had his phone on). I could barely talk, but he knew. 

As he always does, he came to my rescue. He called for back up. Soon, my dear mother in law came over. She helped me get the kids ready for bed and slept the night on my couch. Bless her! I don't know what I would've done with out her that night

The next day, I made an appointment to get my meds which I didn't actually take until two days later after a heart to heart with my dad. I had lots of fears about long term use of Zoloft.

That was the first of two breakdowns. 

I felt relief from the Zoloft after about 8 weeks, but would still have times of uncontrollable anxiety. 

One of these times, was while on VACATION with Mike's family up at "the lake." Here I was at the most relaxing place on earth, yet I was miserable. I really think it started as a legitimate stomach bug, which is a huge trigger for me. I often feel confused as to weather I am actually sick or just anxious. Regardless, my anxiety symptoms took over, and I couldn't function. I couldn't eat, I couldn't relax, I missed out on all the fun and spent most of the weekend in bed. 

I felt incredibly embarrassed and defeated. 

The next morning, I couldn't put jelly on my kids' toast because I was shaking so badly and the tears in my eyes were blurring my vision. It took days to recover.

When I started thinking about when my last anxious episodes were, I began to realize that since I went back on the Zoloft, the extreme anxiety was directly correlated to my cycle. So, I started back on hormonal birth control, which was the combo that worked for years and is working again.

Since these break downs, I have done a lot of soul searching. Maybe it's just age and maturity, but I am realizing that hiding my anxiety isn't doing anyone any good. 

I know I am not alone, but I certainly have spent life feeling that way. In order to keep appearances that I have it all together, I've avoided talking about it with anyone but my immediate family and very few close friends. 

Well, I'm done with that. I ready to talk about it. I'm ready to help others know that we are NOT alone. No one has it all together, and that's okay. 

Our flaws, our diseases, our disorders do not define us, but we shouldn't ignore them. That's just as unhealthy as letting them define who you are. As in everything, there must be balance. 

I'm done feeling embarrassed and defeated. I feel confident that we will find peace and healing through acceptance and support of each other!

So, let's accept and support. What flaw, disease, disorder, sickness, etc. do you accept but refuse to let define you? Let's encourage each other in the comments.


  1. Wow. Thank you Chris. You are so right. We are who we are, flaws and all. While I don't suffer so severely, I do experience sleepless nights when not on a routine anti-anxiety med. So thankful for your honest disclosure, so many will benefit from it.

    God loves you just the way you are. Thank God for doctors who can come to our aid and family and friends who support us.

    Mary T

    1. Oh Mary! Thank YOU for your comments and honesty. I can't tell you how much you and Sherm and family are in my prayers : ) Lots of love to you!

  2. I love you Chris Rambo! Your mom didn't like going where there was a crowd of people. Her anxiety would always show up before going and after coming home. She would do quite well while attending an event but I knew how difficult it was for her. Introverts we are, but the anxiety is another thing. Without help from the medicines Diane would also revert back to uncontrollable fear and tears. I also like your statement about the dying process. I know that your mom looked at it as a peaceful rest, getting away from the terrible confusion caused by her dementia. I was so fortunate to be able to care for her up to the end. AND, grief, yes I grieve too, each and every day. But I too have peace in my heart that we will be together again one day and I look forward to that with great anticipation. That thought alone should alleviate any anxiety over the death of this parent when that time comes. In the mean time, there is so much to be grateful for, much love and family to experience, and lots of music yet to be played. Peace and love to you and the family.