It was 1997 and we had just moved to Alabama 2 months before we had our first baby. I didn’t want to move. We were close to my family and friends, I loved my doctor, and I didn’t know a single person in Alabama. But the job was too good to pass up financially for our family, so we went.
I was lucky enough to find an OBGYN that I really ended up loving. It was extremely stressful. We were exhausted with a newborn and we had no family support system to lean on. My husband traveled a lot which meant I was alone in an unfamiliar place and lonely.
One day, we were at the mall strolling around with the baby when all of the sudden this wave of absolute terror came over me. It sent tingles all over my body like tiny pins pricking my skin and the feeling of impending doom washed over me. I could barely breathe as if I was being suffocated. I immediately had to use the bathroom and was barely aware of my surroundings, I just knew we had to leave. My husband tried to talk to me but that just made it worse. I finally made it home and laid down silently on the couch sipping water. My heart racing, my hands sweating and shaking. After about and hour, I started to feel a little better.
What had just happened to me? I had never had this happen to me before. I thought I was going to die. The episodes happened a few more times so I decided to go to the doctor for help. After speaking to her about my life changing events, the stress load we were under, hormonal changes from childbirth, and the lack of sleep, she diagnosed me with having panic attacks. How could that be? What do I do to stop them from happening?
The doctor was not a huge fan a medication to treat these terrible episodes, so she gave me some relaxation techniques to try, told me to start working out, get more rest, and to try and talk myself out of them. Now that I recognized what they were (and that I wasn’t dying) talk to myself in my mind and say “you are ok, you aren’t going to die”. I was blessed that it worked for me. It took a little while, but eventually the attacks got less and less and today I rarely feel one coming on.
Amber Smith who suffers from panic attacks recently took to Facebook to show what she looked like before and after she has one. The picture was surreal to me because it expresses such true and raw emotion that occurs from the debilitating disease.
See next page for Amber’s before and after pictures:
God knows why I’m doing this, but people need some home truths..
Top picture: What I showcase to the world via social media. Dressed up, make up done, filters galore. The ‘normal’ side to me.
Bottom picture: Taken tonight shortly after suffering from a panic attack because of my anxiety. Also the ‘normal’ side to me that most people don’t see.
I’m so sick of the fact that it’s 2016 and there is still so much stigma around mental health. It disgusts me that so many people are so uneducated and judgemental [sic] over the topic. They say that 1 in 3 people will suffer with a mental illness at some point in their life. 1 in 3! Do you know how many people that equates to worldwide?! And yet I’ve been battling with anxiety and depression for years and years and there’s still people that make comments like ‘you’ll get over it’, ‘you don’t need tablets, just be happier’, ‘you’re too young to suffer with that’
F*CK YOU. F*ck all of you small minded people that think that because I physically look ‘fine’ that I’m not battling a monster inside my head every single day.
Someone actually said this to me one day ‘aren’t you too young to be suffering with anxiety and depression? What do you actually have to be depressed about at your age?’ Wow, just wow.
I’m a strong person, I’ve been through my fair share of crap in life (the same as anyone else) and I will be okay. I have the best family and friends around me and I am thankful everyday that they have the patience to help and support me.
To anyone who is going through the same, please do not suffer in silence. There is so much support around – Don’t be scared to ask for help.
This is why I can’t stress enough that it costs nothing to be nice to others. Don’t bully others, don’t put others down and the hardest one of them all (as we have all done it at some point) don’t judge another person. We’re all human regardless of age, race, religion, wealth, job. So build one another up instead of breaking each other down”.
Peace & love guys ☮❤
Here in America, we have a broken mental health system and the stigma that surrounds mental health can prevent people from getting the help they need. I am here to tell you that you are not alone in your battle and there are people who understand and care. Please don’t ever feel bad about getting help. Your a beautiful soul meant to live a beautiful life and it does get better.