It is no secret to those around us, I suffer from horrible anxiety. The events in this world cause it to become even more heightened when in public settings, so how is it that I survive through this supportive wife life?
I don’t always.
I never sugar coat anything in my life anymore, not since I started having panic attacks in my thirties. So, when I say that I am not always a supportive wife along his entrepreneurial journey, it is just me being honest. I can’t always be supportive in person or the present wife he may need me to be, but he still sticks by my side even when I am not by his.
Mental health, mental illness, your mental wellbeing, self-care are not just buzz words around our house, they are my daily life. It took a few years, a lot of sessions with a psychiatrist, and some pretty amazing CBD oil for me to realize what I have to do in my life to get through the really hard days/weeks.
No day is the same; sometimes my anxiety comes in the form of being physically sick and having to cancel things. Sometimes it is just butterflies in my stomach, and other times it is an all-out panic on the inside that no one ever sees on the outside. Those are the moments when people just don’t get it and it breaks my heart. It makes you feel like people, even those close to you, don’t believe you and that you are just “making excuses.”
The thing is, I would never wish this experience on anyone, even my worst enemy, and I know I have a few of those out there. If there was a magic pill to take, a destination to visit, or some fabulous drink you could have, my husband would obtain it for me. Nothing exists, except the hope that once you find out what causes your anxiety you can work towards making your life a little less anxious – something I still work towards daily.
I spent a lot of time with a professional to find the root cause of my problems and to work to fix them. For me, it meant eliminating certain things and people from my world and also finding a good balance in my everyday life. Everyone has a different situation, I rarely share all the specifics as to what caused my anxiety, because I hate people who compare and try to one-up you on life. If you begin comparing your experiences to mine I will shut down, it is something that I realized I do while working through some really tough stuff in sessions. I am not saying your experience is easier than mine, but it is yours and not mine, there is no comparison when it comes to dealing with anxiety and your mental health.
If you are someone who thinks something may be off in your life, it just might, so seek help from someone, it is by far the best thing I ever did.
So how do I do this life with the current situation I face daily? The honest answer is that I don’t always do it well. I may not look like the supportive wife when I cancel on plans at the last minute, but I also know that in the long run, I can’t be a distraction for my husband. I can’t be something that he is worried about when he should be focused on networking, closing a deal, or just being the SEO nerd that I married. My husband is an amazing human and he would, and does, put me before everything, especially when I am having a difficult time in a situation, and that I know, can’t always be the best thing when it comes to his career.
When we got married he did marry me for better or worse and the last few years have been the absolute worse when it comes to my mental health, but he knows that if I could be there I would and that it is not something I can control. He also knows that our life, our marriage, our adventure is not what has caused my anxiety. My anxiety was caused by things that began before he and I became an us.
Do I wish things would be different? Absolutely. I wish that these things that have caused me to suffer would not have been something I let fester for so many years. I wish people would have been my voice when I was younger and had not just said, we have to do things we don’t want to sometimes. The reality is that you can’t change the past, I can only work to make sure our future is better for our relationship and his success.
During the season of busy, which frankly seems to be all the time now, I make sure that I plan everything I can within my control. By having a plan for everything it makes me not worry so much and my anxiety doesn’t get the best of me. Sometimes it means instead of a 9-hour drive to an event, vacation, or for the holidays, we may take two days to get to our final destination, just so that I know how the day will end.
We will never be that couple who does anything spontaneously. I wish I could, but after years of trying, I have come to terms with needing to have a plan.
Having a plan certainly hasn’t been a bad thing when it came to my husband leaving corporate America and doing his own thing. We have planned for so many “maybe type situations” that it is downright comical at this point, but I know in the long run it means that I will be able to be by his side for all the adventures yet to come. Something that I couldn’t even do a year ago and those are some moments that I regret not being able to be at.
When I say I have over planned, I mean it. I make sure we are stocked up on CBD Oil, I take immune-boosting probiotics and get tons of exercise before anything big is on our plate. So, when you see me being my husband’s sidekick at events and I look absolutely normal and chatty, know this, it takes a lot to get me to that point and the minute the day/week/event is over I become a hermit for a few days to get my energy back. This is something that I always thought was a bad thing, but now know that it is necessary for someone who is an introverted extravert. Yes, that’s a thing and you would be amazed at the number of people I meet daily who also feel the same way. I can be an all-out social butterfly but also can have a panic attack if I don’t have enough time to myself.
It also isn’t a secret that my anxiety came back after having to say goodbye to our Ellabear in February. Dog’s truly are incredible creatures and they help those who suffer from anxiety tremendously, at least in my experience she did. Do I want to run out and get another dog? Of course I do. The reality is that we are booked solid for the next year and it would not be fair to a new puppy to not have a stable environment. I also know how much work a new puppy takes and I am just not in the mental space to be able to commit to that. Our Ella was amazing to have with us after my anxiety got really bad last year and I do wish she was still here to help on the ugly days, but I also know that I can, and I will be alright without her.
She was the true sidekick to our life before I became the sidekick to my husbands adeventure.
Just know this – there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help from professionals and from taking extra time to care for yourself. You are, after all, only given one life and one opportunity to make YOUR life an amazing adventure – anxiety and all. We all have to do things to get through this crazy life journey we are on. My journey is unique from others but is also very similar to so many. If you have to remove yourself from certain people, situations, or opportunities to make sure your health is a priority – DO NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT. It took me decades to realize that I am my number one priority and that I can’t be my best self for others if I am not the best self for myself.