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.