Ironic that someone who is struggling with anxiety and social fears would title a blog post, "Don't Be Afraid" I am aware of said irony. Too often when we are struggling or having issues, when things go wrong financially, or whatever the world throws at us, has us down we say to ourselves, "I can handle this. I'm strong. I'll just keep it to myself."
It's great and wonderful to think that you are strong, but this shouldn't make us afraid to share our struggles with others. If we hold it all in we never know what else might be waiting around the corner that we will have to handle as well. We may expect one result but darned if our expectations don't get messed up along the way.
I decided when things started weighing down on me to ask for help and that included therapy, seeking spiritual guidance, and even willingness to try taking medication. I'm breaking in no new territory with these things. Many people smarter than I am have been willing to try these things much sooner than I did. Hopefully most don't wait until things get as bad as I did to seek that help. but the sharing and asking for help doesn't stop with one thing.
Shortly after beginning to take my medication I began to experience increased anxiety. Prozac is known to cause these symptoms in the first few weeks. I asked my wife to call the doctor, but after doing so decided to read some more online about what I was taking and realized that this was normal and that this was why he had also prescribed a low dose relaxant to help with those episodes. So before the doctor even called back to say he wanted to wait one more week I had decided the same thing.
Shortly after, the agitation and anxiety began to wear off and I even felt less agitated than when all of this started. However, I also felt the blues pretty bad. One day I dragged myself out of bed to take the kids to school and then upon returning home I stayed in bed. Tina had to pick up the kids from school and cancelled some appointments that I had. I had no motivation to do anything. Even eating was a chore. I was becoming less anxious but my depression was coming back. This time I made an appointment to see the doctor for the next day.
That evening I received a message from a friend who said that she had been struggling with the same things and was doing well for a time but that she was feeling really bad again. My heart broke to read that this sweet person was struggling and for the brief time we messaged back and forth online, I forgot my own problems. My advice to her was also important for me.
Even if you think you should be ok by now, talk to someone. Find a counselor at school if you are still that young, find a bishop, stake president, home-teacher, parent, sibling, whatever. Just talk. If you are on medications and not feeling right talk to the doctor, you may have developed a tolerance. Asking for help is not weakness.
I went in to my appointment that day, knowing that I had to fix things as much for my friend who had reached out to me as for myself. My wife went with me and helped me talk it through with the doctor. We decided that since the medication was having some effect on the anxiety to add a different medication that helped with a different type of neurotransmitter.. In any case it's been a week and I can already see the improvements.
I got back to running that day just to spite the depression and forced myself to run with my Aunt at the Tomato Days 5K in Hooper the next day. I'm so glad I did. It was fun. I was really touched when she asked me to come run it with her. I know she had been reading my posts and wanted to help me. It really helped motivate me to work towards the goal and I want her to know how much it meant.
Real strength comes from all around us, and it flows through us,and binds us all together. No it's not "The Force" but it comes from the lives of those around us. We touch people even when we don't think we do.
To my friend who is struggling out there, know that you helped me that night when you asked me for help. I hope you can get through this as well, but keep talking to people and looking into your problems and research them until you get the answers that help. And keep on singing. You can never go wrong when you are singing, even if it's just a song playing in your heart.
Don't Be Afraid! There are many who love you and many who need you.