June 19, 2011

So Much is a'Changin'.... Eek.

I will first mention that I am pretty terrible with change. Even if it is a desirable change that offers something better, I still struggle with the loss of my former routine. Obviously the change becomes my 'new' routine, but if only I didn't have to go through all the physical, emotional and mental episodes that I put myself through... oh how nice that would be.

I suffer from an abnormally high level of anxiety. It is partially due to my thyroid condition (Euthyroid Sick Syndrome) and well... the chemicals dancing around in my brain. Once a small panicky sensation hits, my body has a really hard time bringing itself back down to a state of 'calm'. It happens sometimes out of the blue and it makes me so sad and scared. I feel it when I see someone sick, when I feel at a loss of control or simply when my body can't cool it's self down. I now have been dealing with this (in varying degrees) for almost three years. It's hard to remember what life was like prior to 'anxiety'. Though I know I have always had a higher anxiety tendency... it prevented me from doing some pretty basic things in middle school and high school. But at the time I didn't know what exactly was the problem.

In discovering that my body actually is not functioning properly, I felt such a huge sense of relief. First I was diagnosed with a mental condition "anxiety&panic". The "title" left me feeling pretty lousy, but with the help of the doctor I was treated with medication, and feeling pretty functional again. However, and after a ton of our own research, I insisted something was still not right.  Almost a year later it was finally discover what was actually happening in my body, my thyroid was failing. The thyroid is a crucial gland that controls almost every aspect of proper body function, including anxiety. Now, I know I have explained in previous posts my experience through the diagnosis of my autoimmune disease, but I have never taken the time to discuss why this has all happened. Why was I so healthy my senior year of college and before, to find my self just one short year later miserably sick?

Euthyroid Sick Syndrome falls under Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's Disease. It is an autoimmune disease. This means my body it treating my thyroid as if it is an enemy. Autoimmune diseases in many cases are triggered by stress, trauma or major life events. huh... imagine that. So let's take a look as to where I was at in life when all 'hell' broke loose.

The summer following my senior year I signed up for a program called A Christian Ministry in the National Parks. I was given the location of Acadia National Park, Maine. Never had I been so far from home (for this amount of time) doing something I was not entirely sure I should be doing (ministering to others, when I needed to be ministered to). I knew God was going to use me and use my time in Maine to teach me a lot. However, I don't think I knew how hard it was going to be. I became homesick and endured some really ridiculous events while living in a dorm with 80 other people my age (those are good stories, ask me sometime). I was not able to last my full contracted term in Maine. I came home early, relieved, yet really disappointed in myself for not being able to complete what I had set out to do.  Once I was home, I was ready to use my degree and get busy with a job. Again, if only I had known what I was in for... I spent almost 6 months entirely unemployed with not a thing to do in a place where I knew no one.

During this time I learned some pretty crucial things about myself... I learned that I am a 'working person' by innate nature. I put a lot of my self worth and happiness in what I am doing. I learned it was not about the money, but about waking up each morning with a purpose. Waking up and knowing I had a place to be, I had people to help, talk to, care for. I thrived in social working settings. And for 6 months I went crazy. I literally thought I was loosing it. For the first time in years I was sitting at home with my parents doing nothing. The "lack of"... was eating me alive. I lost energy, hope and myself. It sounds so silly, but I can't explain how difficult that experience was for me. I learned that graduating from the best four years of my life was no easy 'change'. All that I was told that would come after my higher education experience, never seemed to happen. (Anyone else experience a post-college depression?) All the dreams of a career and an income to pay off loans never formulated. I believed I had again, failed.

January 2009 came around and I had finally (it seemed like an eternity for me) landed a job. I started working as a one-on-one aide for a 16 year old, 6ft. 4in. hefty "behavioral horror" of a male. The school was for high schoolers with behavioral and emotional disturbances... I fit right in, didn't I? ha. My time at this school was not all that long. I was there for almost four months. In that time I started to experience my first intense symptoms of anxiety. The breaking point for me occurred when my student threw a desk at a wall. I was in shock and amazed at his anger (not to mention terrified for my well being. I as there to help with his academics, not get beat up). The following week he punched walls and threw desks once again and was arrested and taken to a juvy.  My student's parents, angry with the school, removed him from the program and transfered him to a behavioral school in Cleveland. There I was, yet again, unemployed. However this time, I had some serious health issues on my hands. Never sleeping, increased heart rate, feelings of fear, light and sounds sensitivity... the list could go on and on. This is when I had my first diagnosis of a mental condition. At the time I could have cared less what it was, I just wanted to feel my self again. 

A few years out now and I can say that I am a lot healthier. I am being treated for my thyroid and learning new ways to deal with anxiety. My current state of anxiety doesn't even compare to what I had endured during all the initial happenings, but it's still there is minor ways. So this finally brings me to the "So Much is a'Changin'"...

Matt got into graduate school at Ohio University. We CAN NOT be happier. This is something we both wanted so badly for him, for us...for our future. So though I am so proud of my husband and all that he will accomplish in the next two years, I would be lying if I said I'm perfectly relaxed and content to move four hours away to Athens, OH. This brings up all that scary stuff contained into one simple word.. "change". This is happening. We are moving. We are stepping into the unknown. Just when I had gotten so comfortable... right here and right now.

I am very excited about this change; but I'm nervous, scared and fearful that I will endure similar events that happened to me during the last major 'life change'. Being fearful is silly, I know. And one huge difference about this change is that it consists of a "We" rather than an "I". We are doing this change together. We are taking this leap hand in hand. One thing I can be so hopeful in is the mere fact that we have gotten this far. God worked some miracles in the eyeballs of whoever looked at Matt's college transcripts, and the confidence and energy He gave Matt for his graduate school interview weekend was pretty incredible. It has all been through God's faithfulness and master plan that we are headed to Athens. And why would he stop paving the way now? He won't. And He won't leave our sides even when the anxiety accumulates and the fear creeps in. We got this.

Happy Fathers Day to the first gentleman in my life. I love you Dad!


  1. So excited for you two :) My brother lives in Athens and goes to school there. When Caleb and I visit him we will stop by and have dinner with you to!!

  2. I recently heard a quote that may apply, considering the challenges that await. "Fall down seven times, get up eight". Failure is the world providing opportunity to overcome. Trepidation can, and should, be faced to teach us the possibilities that lie inside of us.