It’s Time I Stopped Lying to Myself and Everyone Else

Sad woman in dark room. Depression and anxiety disorder concept

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I’m going to start by saying that I’ve been writing this post for a while. It probably didn’t go live the day I intended it to and it might disappear at some point. But enough is enough. Time for me to put my big girl panties on and stop lying to myself and everyone else.

The Back Story

After my massive panic attack at the entrance of Disney World, I finally realized it was time to get help. I scheduled an appointment with a behavioral therapist and sat in her office for one hour every week. I actually looked forward to it. We spoke about my family, my job and tried to figure out what trigged my anxiety. Everything was on track, until I had a panic attack in her office.

About ten minutes into that session, I asked her if I could lay down on the couch and about a minute later, told her that I was going to have to leave. That is my thing. If I have to choose between fight or flight, I always chose flight. First came the light-headed feeling. Next, cold sweats. My therapist fanned me with a file folder and tried to distract me and get me to breathe while I counted the seconds until I could pay her and get back to my car asap. I never went back to therapy again. It was no longer a safe space. It would be forever be the place I had a panic attack.

My therapist called and left me a voicemail a couple of days later to check in on me and make sure I was ok. She recommended that I see a psychiatrist and consider medication. She knew that was my last resort and knew that I would probably not be back to see her.

Although my therapist suggested it, I wasn’t ready to admit to myself that I needed to see a psychiatrist. Instead, I decided that I was going to ask a primary doctor about medications first. So I made an appointment with a new primary doctor that I found online. I remember one of the first questions she asked me…

Do you also suffer from depression?

“NO. No, I don’t. It’s just anxiety. Aside from that, I’m perfectly happy.” She followed it up with a number of questions that seemed to be many other ways to ask if I was depressed. I answered no to all of them. The word depression scared me. I thought if I said that I had moments where I felt sad, that she would take that as my admitting that I might do harm to myself, which I would never do. So I told her no, over and over again. I said no so many times, I even convinced myself that I wasn’t depressed.

But the truth is, I am and I have been for a long time.

I left that appointment with a prescription and hope that this was going to be what changed everything for me. And it was… just not the way I imagined.

For a full two days after I took that first pill, I was in bed. If I thought anxiety was scary, those meds proved that I had no idea what scary was. The meds made me think things and feel things that no person should ever feel. I was afraid to be alone. I was afraid to do anything but sleep. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t eat.

So, I called my doctor and she said,

Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.

WHAT?! I went to this doctor because I needed help. My anxiety was out of control and I wanted her to help me fix it. Instead, she gave me something that had me thinking the darkest thoughts. What kind of medical professional would prescribe something that was going to make me feel that much worse?

But, she was the professional, so I waited it out. I continued taking the meds as she instructed. As I got used to them, the dark thoughts disappeared. I could concentrate again. I could do every day things. I was ready to live a normal life.

About a week later, I went to visit my Grandma and had the worst panic attack of my life, which resulted in me being stranded in our car, an hour from home, with my three daughters. I was completely paralyzed by anxiety. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t get back on the road to go home. My youngest had to use the bathroom and I tried to get her to pee in a bag because I couldn’t bring myself to walk them into the fast food restaurant that was just a few feet from our car. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t calm down. Instead, we waited for hours until my husband and a friend could come and pick us up.

I called my doctor as soon I got home and told her I needed to stop taking this medication. She told me she would call in a new prescription and instructed me to stop taking that one immediately, something she probably should have told me when I called her the first time.

For a little while, things got better. But that ordeal kept me from leaving my home for almost 3 months. I couldn’t drive and I couldn’t be more than 10 minutes from my house without panicking. I still have a hard time driving anywhere on my own. I’m terrified that it’ll happen again.

I’ve Become Great at Lying

Over the years, I became great at lying. No matter what my loved ones were seeing, I swore everything was fine. I didn’t want them to know the truth. I didn’t want them to know that I was crying myself to sleep and that I was sad more often than I was happy. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without cringing. I was completely disgusted by my weight, my lack of self-care and especially for how I had let myself go.  I hardly recognized myself. I pushed my loved ones away because I was expecting them to leave me anyway. It was easier if I was in control of the situation.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that I’ve been depressed because of the “what ifs”. My life is good. I have a beautiful family, a roof over our heads and a business that is actually fun. I have no reason to feel the feelings that I feel. I think it’s just my mind’s way of trying to stay in control and coping with the fear of what could happen. And I realize that is no way to live.

While I am fully aware of what’s going on, I still battle both anxiety and depression. Most of my days are good ones, but I do have to fight for those good days. I’m fighting to stop the sadness. I’m fighting my sudden irritability that hits me without warning. Mostly, I’m fighting to hide it all from my kids because I don’t want them to think this is normal. This isn’t normal. And I refuse to believe it’s my normal.

So why am I sharing this now, in a public forum? Because I’m tired of pretending. I’m tired of lying to myself and to everyone around me. I have mental health issues, as do lots of other people, millions of people in fact. My secret ends today. If I’m feeling depressed, I’m going to call it what it is. I’m going to address it. I’m going to work toward training my mind not to focus on the “what ifs” so that I don’t miss the good parts that are happening now.

Now you know the truth and I hope you don’t think any less of me or feel sorry for me. I’m still the same person I was before you read this. I’m just a little bit stronger.

The doctor asked me so many different ways. I answered no every single time. But I was lying to her and myself.

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Hello There!

I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

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  1. Generally speaking, It is important to get timely help. However it is easy to say that than do it. Here is where friends and family can help, perhaps. First step is to know and accept that help is needed!.

  2. I am glad you are using your platform to speak your truth and to get yourself to admit you have high anxiety and depression. Its the only way you are going to heal when you admit there is a problem. Yes please continue for the health of yourself and for your family.

  3. So raw and honest. To move forward, we must first acknowledge what holds us up. This is a very important post to share. Thank you!

  4. I know it was not easy writing this but I am sure it has helped a lot of people and starting a lot of important discussions. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Sorry to hear that.. Admitting that you need help is a great start. You are so brave to write about this.

  5. You’re brave for writing this post, my mummy has dark days too and pushes them away – it doesn’t help when people are happy to offer pills to fix you.

  6. It’s so easy to try and convince yourself that everything is okay. It took great courage for you to realize there was more to your attacks. Glad you were able to bring your emotions to light

  7. I can’t imagine how hard or scary that this is. Speaking out about it takes such courage and surely helps someone else that is or has been in a similar situation. Sending you positive vibes and hope that you are able to find something that helps you to feel better.

  8. To talk about these things is important. Removing all the stigma. Thanks for sharing this. It will help many. We all go through difficult times, I’m glad you found the right medication.

  9. I’m sorry that you are going through this. Probably took so much strength to write this. Sending you positive vibes.

  10. I am so sorry that you are going through this. And hopefully you found the right medication for you. I also think that cognitive behavioral therapy is very helpful for this kind of situation. But at least admitting that you need help is the first step to healing.

  11. I have extreme severe anxiety too but my problem is I am unable to open up. I’m a counselor but I am afraid of getting counselled. U r stronger than me thats why you could open up.

  12. I’m so glad that you’re able to get out there and share your story. Depression is a serious thing and I think oftentimes, we think if we ignore it that it will just go away. That is not the case!

  13. Depression is such a heavy topic. I find a lot of persons don’t like talking about it. I think it is important that you’re having the conversation. I know a few persons that this post will help so I will make sure to share it.

  14. I have friends who suffered from depression due to many reasons, stress, loneliness and other factors. They can’t sleep at night and eat a lot during night time and hence gains weight due to excessive eating at night. I hope your post reach out to more people and gained awareness.

  15. I know that it took you a lot of courage to share your story to us. But I am thankful that you were able to talk about it. It would really help you so much. Keep strong!

  16. It is so brave of you writing such a sensitive content. It was never easy to deal with depression. I hope you’ll be doing ok in the near future.

  17. It’s the first and the most important step is to realize that you have a problem and you need help. And you need to be ready to accept help!

  18. Thank you for such an honest, real post. I think this will help a lot of people in the same situation.

  19. I admire your courage to seek help and prioritize your health. Still many out there are in denial, and slowly destroys what they have. Virtual hugs!

  20. This is so brave of you to share a part of you. It is not easy to open up and admit having mental health issues, but you are strong. You stepped out of your comfort zone. That is the first step to healing. Hugs to you and hopefully everything will get better soon.

  21. Good for you for owning your truth. There is such a stigma attached to depression whether put there by others or by ourselves. I too suffer from depression and as I was reading this I saw myself in so many of the words you wrote. I was to the point where my children would be talking to me and I just wouldn’t care. I was staying in bed and lying to my husband about going to work during the day. Thankfully the medication my doctor put me on has helped.

  22. Heather, thank you for sharing your life, your very personal stories. They do help and support a lot of people reading your blog.

  23. It is so important to talk about these things openly and remove the stigma. There is nothing wrong with what you are battling, no more wrong than if you were battling physical pain; and nothing wrong with naming it and getting the help you need just as you would for a broken arm. Thank you so much for sharing.

  24. Wow! Thank you for sharing your story! So many suffer and refuse to ask for help! Glad you are on a healing path.

  25. I think that you are so brave and inspiring to share such a vulnerable truth with the world. Thank you.

  26. Your story resonates with me so much. I appreciate your bravery in sharing your story. I hope that sharing helps both you and others like me continue to heal

  27. It is hard to admit these things and you are not only admitting them to yourself but to us too! That is very brave!

  28. I think the what ifs are what cause my anxiety as well. It is so hard to sometimes see how good we truly have it in the moment.

  29. I’m sorry you’re going through this, but glad you realized you needed the help. This can be tough and scary. I’m very glad you shared this with us too.

  30. I appreciate the honesty heart and soul that went into this post. I have issues I could never share on my blog so I give you credit and hope it helps you cope better.

  31. Thank you so, so much for sharing your story. Depression has such a stigma that many won’t even tell their doctor about it just like you didn’t want to. I’m glad you’re on the road to recovery and getting what you need to get better.

  32. I love your transparency. Admitting you need help is always hard on anyone. I am sure this post will help someone out, it not many. I started getting really bad anxiety after I had my son.

  33. I am glad that you realized that you need help. Depression is a tough thing to go through alone and it is hard to admit that things are not perfect.

  34. What a powerful post! If people who suffer from anxiety and depression would read this, I think it would help them make sense of it all.

  35. I have never related to anything more. When I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression I refused to acknowledge it and avoided doctors and medications and even saying those two words for two and a half years. I don’t drive due to my anxiety and the panic attacks that I have so I TRULY understand. I hate driving by myself. I have had many panic attacks while driving and ended up stranded for hours before I could calm down or someone could come get me. I love this so much and thank you for being so open. This makes me feel a lot less alone in this topic.

    1. Post
      Author

      I’m so sorry to hear that. I think when we are going through things like this, we tend to forget that there are others out there exactly like us. We need to stick together. If you ever need someone to listen, I’m here!