Faith,  Mental Health,  Wellness

Meet Danielle, Not Giving Up the Fight

In keeping up with the monthly features, this month I want to introduce one of my best friends, Danielle. She and I have known each other since High School. We have shared laughter, tears, good times and bad. Today, she is sharing her story, of how she is not giving up her fight. See how she is winning her fight.

“Hello all! Danielle here! Mother, wife, nurse, friend, daughter, sister and fur mama. I’m also an over-thinker, I get very anxious, total worry-wart and Enneagram ISFJ-A /ISFA-T (I highly recommend taking an Enneagram test if you haven’t before!) I am highly emotional and care deeply for others. I have also dealt with stress, anxiety and depression for pretty much as far back as I can remember.

I distinctly remember having it come to a head in middle school, 6th grade to be exact. I was so concerned with others liking me, seeking their approval and just wanting to fit in. So much so that it affected every single aspect of my life. And truthfully, I think it still affects me and my perspective on things today. I am constantly questioning if people actually like me. Wondering why I wasn’t invited somewhere. Wondering how people feel about me. I have allowed others opinions dictate my own feelings, for a very long time.

After I had my babies, I found myself in full blown postpartum anxiety and depression, two different things but lucky me, I got them both, hear that sarcasm in my voice? I was drowning in thoughts of my children dying, me dyeing, my husband and I both dyeing and thoughts of not being good enough. Not a good enough mother, wife, employee. Anything really. I remember dropping them off with my mom one evening so I could go to target to grab diapers alone. I drove off with a pit in my stomach and thoughts that I was going to die in an awful car wreck on the way there. My husband and parents would have to raise my girls, they would have to explain to them that mommy was selfish and wanted to go to the store alone. Macie would have to drink formula instead of my breast milk. And they would grow up without a mother. This. This was reality in my head. Not a nightmare. These were real fears.

I decided to talk to my doctor, finally, and we decided on trying Zoloft. I used oils, yoga and always reached out to friends, but none of it was enough. The Zoloft did wonders for me. I felt happier, family and friends commented on how happy I seemed and how less-on-edge I was. I was finally happy. Still anxious. Still worrying. But could finally enjoy everyday life without thinking of the absolute worst or having multiple panic attacks a week.

About a year after starting the Zoloft I found myself 20 pounds heavier. The common denominator was the medicine. I spoke again with my doctor and we decided to try something different. I abruptly stopped the Zoloft and tried Wellbutrin. Long story short, I found myself in Zoloft withdrawal. I thought I was going to die on my kitchen floor at 10:44 am on a Wednesday.

 Short of breath, sweaty, but cold, goosebumps, vomiting, pounding headache, if that’s even the word to describe the way my head felt, in a total panic attack and truly thinking my life was going to end. That was the reality of me stopping a medication abruptly without weaning myself off correctly. Zoloft withdrawals are known to be the worst withdrawal from an SSRI you can experience. Had I known, and I probably should have, being a nurse, I would have done it correctly.

I allowed my weight and my worry of how others perceived me come above my mental health. I have now come to realize that no matter my weight, no matter my appearance. No matter someone else’s opinions of the medications I take daily. I have to put myself, and my mental health, above it all. I found God that morning, y’all. Not that I hadn’t known Him before, but that morning I begged him, laying on my kitchen floor near the floor vent, to just let me get through this and never put my physical weight above my mental health again. Promised Him that I would worship this vessel He had given me for my stay here on Earth.

He will bring you through a storm to show you the rainbow. I realized that I needed a wake-up call. I am 30 years old and I need to love myself. I need to appreciate the body that was given to me. I need to accept myself and be ok if others don’t accept me. I found Danielle that morning. On the verge of death (or at least feeling like it) I found who I was. I am so much more than those titles I introduced myself to you all with. I am so much more than my mental “illness.” I am strong. I am brave. I am fierce. I love hard, give my all and am a damn good mother, wife, friend, daughter, nurse and person. And that’s ok! You can toot your own horn every once in a while!

I found out that being you is OK! Being who you are is OK! Putting yourself first is OK, and necessary. If you are struggling, find help! Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a doctor, a therapist. Yoga, medication, oils, time away. Anything that makes you happy and brings you joy. Anything that makes you YOU!!!! Go out there and live your best life!”-Danielle

Thank you dear for opening up and sharing your story. You are strong and brave. I am sure so many can relate to this! If you want to share your story, feel free to reach out to me.

-Chasidy

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