One thing I haven’t written about in regards to my anxiety disorder is medication. Initially when I met with my physician, she gave me several great alternative tools to deal with the anxiety. For me, a huge part of this is changing my life style and thinking in many ways. Having more balance in my life, learning to relax consistently, and “dialing it down a bit” in all areas. It wasn’t until my severe break down at Christmas that I was prescribed drugs to calm me down. I was so terrified and desperate for help. It was Christmas night and we couldn’t get a hold of our doctors to save my life! We even tried my OBGYN! We just needed someone to prescribe me something to stop this nightmare. It wasn’t until the next day at 2pm that we finally talked to a doctor that prescribed me Xanex. I was so scared of what that might do to me. I kept telling my husband, “tell him I’m small. Tell him I want the lowest dosage.” I was afraid that one pill would put me to sleep for a few days (which I probably needed!) and that thought scared me. When I finally got the pills, I was very hesitant to take one, but per my husband’s insisting, I did. I didn’t fall asleep. I didn’t turn into jello. I didn’t feel wonderful either!
But I did mellow out enough to go sit with the family for the rest of the day.
When we returned home after the holidays and met with my physician again, she told me that right now I must keep the Xanax on me at all times. I am not to go out without the medication. For now it is a tool for me and I am to take it when I need it. These words were like a death sentence to me. Not leave my house without drugs? What? I didn’t want to tell anyone because I kept thinking, “what parent is going to let their child come play at our house with an unstable mother who must have pills in her pocket at all times?” It was horrible. It almost became one more thing to panic about! “Wait, I have to go back and get my pills.” Thankfully I didn’t need to take them again, even though there were times when I could have and perhaps should have, I just didn’t feel comfortable taking them. My body is pretty sensitive to medicine and regardless of other’s experience with Xanax, I wasn’t confident of how my body would uniquely react. (Sadly, this was just a huge lack of understanding of this medication and the effects it would have on my body.)
As I wrote about last week, things have been going well and as I’ve seen progress being made, I’ve also been leery of slipping back into my old ways and falling back into an unhealthy lifestyle. If you’ve been reading here for a few months, you know that I’ve been working on my daughters’ birthday party – something that I dream about for months and love to create! I’ve learned to start my projects early and not leave things to the last minute so stress is kept to a minimum. I thought I had done a good job of this for the Rainbow Tea Party. I really have been crafting up a storm for the past few weeks. But come Saturday, I was racing around to put it all together (with the fabulous help of my parents and the little birthday girls!) and as I watched the clock move too quickly, I started to feel myself getting worked up. The party was at 1:30pm, and at 1pm I went to get ready. As I sat down at my vanity I felt a wave of anxiety come over me. “No, not now, I don’t want to miss this. I can’t miss this.” My mind started racing with all the details of the party and as I prayed and begged God to set me free I got up and found my pills. This party was so important to me and my girls that I just couldn’t miss it. I got my husband, explained what was happening, and took a pill. He prayed for me, I asked my mom to pray for me and just pushed through, trusting that everything was going to work out. As guests started to arrive, I was not 100 %, but when my girlfriend dropped off her daughter, I pulled her aside and asked her to pray for me. She laid her hands on me and prayed over me. I went back inside and we had the most wonderful, colorful, fancy, precious birthday party. I’m grateful for that little pill that helped stop my chaos. But most of all, I’m grateful for the power of the Holy Spirit at work within me and for the body of Christ that held me up in prayer. My friend Hillary prayed for me throughout the party and it was so awesome to see her after the party with a huge smile on my face and peace in my heart – both physically and spiritually. I know it blessed her too to see that God answered her prayers and allowed me to enjoy my girls’ special day.
It’s hard for me to write this. Even now as I know I’m going to do a Birthday Party post later this week, I’m afraid of what you might think of me as you look at the pictures of the party, “oh yea, she had to take medication before that party.” I’m nervous for the moms who had daughters at the party to read this! I feel a little bit like a failure. I know I shouldn’t, but I’m embarrassed and feel weak at admitting such a huge struggle I have. Adding the medication fact to the story only seems to make me look worse. It’s really hard for me to admit that I don’t have it all together. Not that I think it is important to “have it all together,” but honestly, as a follower of Jesus I truly believe that His promises to us are our inheritance and we can claim those promises and the power that is freely ours through Jesus. So why then am I struggling with anxiety when I’ve given Him full control of my life? Why am I stressed about things and consumed by them when I know the Prince of Peace gives peace, not as the world gives, but the peace of God to guard my heart and mind?
On the other hand, I know it is important for me to share this story honestly. I know that while I laid on that bed on Christmas, losing my mind, God spoke to me and said, “you will share this story and others will be healed because of it.” I know God can completely heal me from this anxiety. Just like I know that Jesus could have come down off the cross and saved himself – he totally had the power to do that! But God had another plan. A plan that included extreme suffering of his son and a plan that included extreme freedom for his daughter – me. I would never say that God is causing my anxiety for a reason. But I would say that God is using my anxiety for a reason and he is redeeming what is being taken from me. For this season of my life, and I pray that it is just a season, I will keep the medication in my purse at all times and see it as a mere tool if I need it. And I pray that I don’t.
*This will be my last post in the "A New Life" series.
I'll give updates from time to time. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement through this series. I hope that in some way God has spoken to you through it.