No Shame

It’s been over 5 years since I started taking meds and my life radically changed for the better.

I grew up with anxiety but I thought that everyone felt like me, thought like me, lived and struggled like me. I had no idea that it wasn’t typical to overthink everything and worry about everything and wonder what everyone thought of you and if they thought you were weird or stupid. I thought it was normal to try to do everything 100% perfectly and then after an event or meeting or get together, to go over everything you said and did and muse about how someone might have interrupted or taken what you said in a negative way; and to totally beat yourself up for just not being good enough.

I thought everyone was really good at life and that I just needed to try harder. I thought I just needed to be more confident or work harder to be perfect so people wouldn’t think I was weird or strange.

I sort of coped. I’d probably say that I survived my childhood and teen years…..even into my married life. And then we had some financial struggles, work issues, church issues, a stillbirth, secondary infertility, more work and financial issues, parenting issues and then we added in a few years of childhood cancer and special needs.

By that point, I had zero reserves left to even survive. I hadn’t slept more than a few broken hours in over 3 years. I was exhausted and SO lonely. I was broken. So very broken.

In the past, I’d had health care professionals ask if I felt I was depressed. Depression never seemed to fit, especially when I looked into it and read up on symptoms. I didn’t feel depressed….but something wasn’t right. I felt like it took every ounce of effort I had to just survive and even then, I was doing a lousy job of it.

In 2012, I was looking into what anxiety was, for someone else, I came across an article and checklist and I could check every single box. I booked an appointment with my Dr, took the list in and said, “I have anxiety. I’ve struggled with this my entire life and had no idea it was an actual thing. I check every box on this list. And this is the first time, “I” understand why I have struggled and what I have struggled with.

I asked for meds and I truly feel that was the beginning of me “actually living” instead of just surviving.

I spent the next year, feeling more and more calm and still within myself. It was unreal to me to feel my thoughts settle and for the anxiety to quiet. I finally felt like I wasn’t “fighting” myself all of time. I had the opportunity to breathe and to replenish and to recover.

Taking meds, understanding anxiety, getting counselling and talking about it have been life changing for me.

I have (with my Dr.) tweaked my doses over the years, sometimes increasing, sometimes decreasing; and sometimes switching things up. Always with the goal of having me be my best self and living my best life.

If you are thriving without meds, awesome; but if you are struggling, don’t ever be ashamed or feel like you are a failure for needing and accepting help.

I still struggle. I still have anxiety. Sometimes it’s brutal; but most of time, I’m doing well.

I may need meds for the rest of my life and I’m okay with that. If it means the difference between enjoying life or barely surviving, I’ll choose enjoying life every time.

I will never be ashamed of needing help, asking for help and accepting help. I hope you won’t be either.

Today, I am so very thankful for this handful of meds. They have changed my life.

What are you thankful for?

Author: Patricia Culley

I'm the ringmaster of my own circus. Just trying to stay one step ahead of the monkeys.

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