real women have anxiety

oh blog, you know what i love about you? no matter how crazy my life gets, and how much i ignore you…you're still here, waiting with open arms for my return. there are so many things i want to tell you—so much has happened since we last met, i don't even know where to start. i have been learning so much about myself over the past few months…what i am capable of , when i need to ask for help, that it's okay to fail, to be vulnerable, imperfect, human.

you'd think by 33 i'd know these things…and in theory i did. and as it relates to my family, my patients, my friends, it was clear. but apparently i didn't apply the same principles to myself. i always knew that i was a perfectionist, that i set high standards for myself and others. i also recognized that i was very independent, strong-willed, rational, and "tough." and i never thought these were BAD things. i am slowly starting to realize how dangerous they really are in our lives.

in an effort to uphold my promise of authenticity, i will tell a brief story:

there was once a girl who lived in a big city, she had lots of friends and parties and a job that paid the bills. then tragedy struck her family and the girl moved across the country to be closer to them. over time, she grew to love the new city…making friends, attending graduate school, and getting married. but she was growing apart from the family who originally brought her to this place. she had so many dreams, this girl; she wanted to spread her wings and fly in a different direction from those she had known. she longed for someone to understand her, some connection to a community larger than only she and her loving husband.

one day the couple were driving to a nearby town and something terrible happened…the girl could not move her legs. she was terrified and felt as if her whole body was becoming paralyzed. she screamed out for her husband to save her. she gasped for breath, flailing like a fish out of water. she thought she might die in that emergency room in a distant city. but slowly, she regained movement in her legs, and over time, the terror lessened and she could breathe again. the doctors were baffled, they could not understand what had caused these events, the tests proved nothing.

so the girl went on her way, but quietly worried that she might be going crazy. she could not believe that she—an emergency room social worker—had visited one as a patient. she googled "nervous breakdown" and guess what she found…

p   a   n   i   c       a   t   t   a   c   k

she met 9 of the 13 criteria for a severe attack. she could not believe her eyes. could it be true?

i am proud to say that i am in my second month with a very capable therapist. i spend more time journaling my feelings than writing my beloved blog entries. and i am trying to understand the events—and emotions—that led up to such a horrible experience that weekend in august. i am taking baby steps with myself and acknowledging that i am a work in progress. that i still have a lot to learn, and that i am committed to embracing those vulnerabilities that make me so imperfectly human.

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