You just never know what life will have in store for you. A few weeks ago, I discussed a little bit about dealing with postpartum anxiety. I had no idea at the time I wrote that post and shared about my experience, that it could get worse.

I always used to hear about people who struggled with things like postpartum depression, panic, rage, and depression. Never would I have thought that I would deal with the same thing that these other women did. It’s just one of those things, especially after having two wonderful postpartum experiences, that you don’t think will ever effect you. Like you can’t be harmed by such a monster.

I will be upfront and honest with you, this monster had me backed into a corner these past few months.

When I talked about it before, it was only at the beginning stages. Now, I am in the throes of it. I’m going to give a trigger warning for those who need it right here, because the rest of this might not be something you want to read.

Take it easy on me… this wasn’t easy to write.

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The Reality of Postpartum Anxiety

It’s debilitating. It is something that I can’t even talk about to those that don’t understand it or have gone through it themselves, because when I talk about it out loud, it sounds crazy.

My anxiety has manifested itself as mostly health anxiety, thinking that I am going to die every minute from some unknown disease. When I wrote about WebMD making you lose your mind, I did so as a reminder to myself not to look at it, because I diagnose new symptoms in myself on a daily basis. For someone who used to never go to the doctor unless it was necessary, I have literally done a complete 180 degree turn around in my personality.

To be far, I have had a lot of physical things going on as well. Real issues that have come out of my c-section. But, the level of anxiety I have has only amplified those ten-fold.

I have turned into someone who I don’t know. There was a point when I looked at my children and thought to myself, “These aren’t my kids”, as if someone else has been living inside my body and I’m just a spectator of my own life being lived out by this shell of a person.

I haven’t been able to go to the grocery store because I’m too worried about being around that many people. Maybe something will happen to me there. Maybe I’ll just pass out. Maybe someone will hit me with their cart on accident and it will throw me into a heart attack.

I can’t hardly drive because I am too afraid I will pass out randomly while driving and get into an accident. I can’t enjoy my children because I’m too scared that I won’t be around for them every day, due to the unfounded disease that is going to instantly kill me that day.

I can’t even be around my closest friends or in-laws without suffering from some type of panic or overwhelming feelings of anxiety. Agoraphobia’s got nothing on me.panic

The physical symptoms turn into what feels like a heart attack. My throat and face feels like it is numb on a daily basis and it always feels like there is a gigantic lump in my throat. I have hand tremors that never end, headaches and fogginess that fill my every day, shortness of breath every minute, and panic attacks so severe that I get throw into a sudden fit of tears. I just know that I have some form of cancer just eating away at me.

I have been tested for every medical explanation under the sun. But I still have to talk myself out of my own thoughts when I am so convinced that I am going to die in my sleep, or just pass out when I am home alone with my children, or that I have cancer somewhere that just suddenly appeared.

It sounds insane… I know. But these are real thoughts and real physical symptoms that I have personally.

For Those Struggling With Anxiety

Don’t let it be a stigma that you cannot talk about. It is too often that people struggling with things like panic and anxiety don’t speak up to anyone about it because it’s embarrassing, or seen as weak, or something that no one will understand.

IT IS NONE OF THOSE THINGS. Speaking up to my husband, for the first time in my life, and making myself vulnerable, has really helped pull me out of things that I otherwise might not have come out from.

Plenty of other people go through it! I have been truly blessed with the women that have come forward in my life with similar issues going on. Some of these women are my family members who have shown so much love and support to me. Others are women that I haven’t really taken the time to get to know fully, by my own fault, but that have spoken to me and told me of their struggles. We pray together, we send verses and uplifting thoughts to one another during the days, we check on each other to see how the day is going. I don’t know where I would be without that.

“In the multitude of all the anxieties within me, Your comfort delights my soul.” -Psalm 94:19

Don’t go through it on your own. People may not understand, but that’s okay. There are others out there that know EXACTLY what you’re going through and that want to tell you, “it will get better”. I don’t know that myself yet, but it has to. It may be something that we battle each day, sooner or later the battles won’t be so difficult to win. Find your safety net. Mine is found in God who rescued me from my lowest point. He has also given me wonderful support in loved ones and true friends. We all need that.

We all can’t be 100% strong, 100% of the time.

*Here’s to those that are struggling. May they be uplifted and feel safe in the support of those around them*

joanna at motherhood and merlot