I woke up this morning. What an obvious statement. “Of course, you woke up this morning,” one might say. But for a long time, I didn’t wake up in the morning because I never went to sleep.
It was March 2014 and my life was hectic. I was working 30 hours a week as the Director of Communications at my church/school and was also the chair of the largest fundraiser of the year, the annual dinner auction. My husband was traveling out of the country for 3 weeks at a time, and we were raising our two girls (7 & 9). I was stressed, but I honestly like being busy and challenged. I had been in this place before and always managed to plow my way through.
Then strange things started happening. Every morning I woke up feeling sick. Sometimes I actually got sick, most of the time I had to run to the bathroom. I couldn’t eat, and I was shaking all the time. I tried to dismiss it. Maybe I just had a bug. But it didn’t go away. I had too much on my plate, too many people counting on me to let it slow me down, so I just kept going. Usually by 10am or so, my body seemed to calm down and I would be able to eat lunch and move on with life. But then the sleep issues started. I was so wound up by evening and my mind was racing so fast with everything I needed to do that I could not fall asleep at night. This had happened a few time before, so I had a bottle of Ambien on standby. I detest taking medicine, so I broke the pills in fourths just to get a few hours of shut eye. And then the pills stopped working, too.
At this point, I knew something was wrong. I remember telling my auction team volunteers that I didn’t know if I was going to make it through. I thought I might have to go to the hospital or something…I just didn’t know. I went to my primary care physician. He said, “It’s anxiety,” and gave me a script for an ancient anti-depressant and a small dose of Xanax for emergencies. I didn’t take either of them. Relying on medicine seemed to go against my deeply rooted beliefs that I was in control of my life. Plus, I made the mistake of Googling the meds and now I couldn’t get all the horrifying stories out of my head.
So, I asked my mother-in-law to stay with me for the 3 weeks Justin was gone right before the auction, and I started seeking a Christian counselor. I felt better for a little while, worked myself to the bone all hours of the day and night, lost 10 pounds and hoped it would get better if I just made it through the night of the auction. I was like a violin whose owner was tightening and tightening the string. And then the inevitable happened…I snapped.