I haven't talked about it much, but I've had some health challenges this summer. It hasn't been easy, but I wanted to give you an update to let you know why I haven't been around much. But, more importantly, I wanted to share what I've learned in the process.
I figured it was time for some real talk. About that thing that no one seems to want to talk about: anxiety.
It's real, it's stressful, and it's overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like it wins the battle. But it doesn't have to win the war.
When I started on this book journey over a decade ago, I never knew what would come. I just knew I wanted to write a book, and, though I had no clue where to start, I somehow did. It was a long journey, but I finally got to the point where I wanted to release my book.
So on June 1st, 2018 (has it only been two months??), I announced my book release. I was so excited (and still am) and I couldn't wait to see what would happen. Little did I know things would start happening, that very weekend.
I freaked out.Like crying, near panic attack freaking out.
Fear, anxiety, the constant what-did-I-do mantra that swirled through my head sped up my breathing, made my chest tight, consumed my thoughts. My husband, being the amazing man that he is, talked me down, calmed me down. He was, and still is, my rock. I'm convinced I couldn't do this without him.
I wish that was the end of it.
Nearly every weekend since (I suspect that this is because I work on book stuff the most on the weekend and that's when I try to tackle the hard stuff), I've had some form of a panic attack. I even had two in one weekend (and even two in one day). They're scary, overwhelming, frustrating, annoying, and make me feel like I'm the only writer in the world who doesn't think they could ever get a book out into the world.
But I'm not, right?
I know I'm not. Despite what my brain tells me in the moment, the highlight reel I see on Instagram isn't the whole story. Because mine isn't. I don't want to show my weekly panic attacks, the too-many-times-to-count crying sessions that leave my eyes puffy and red and my throat dry. I only show the happy things, the things that I'm convinced everyone wants to see. Who wants to be depressed? The world is depressing enough as it is.
So that's why I'm writing this post. To show that we're all human, that what you see on social media is rarely the whole story, and that we all struggle. Sometimes it's depression, sometimes it's anxiety, sometimes it's a host of other things. Mental health is important and is lacking in our incessantly busy, constantly distracted culture.
But There's Hope
And that's the other reason I'm writing this post: you don't have to struggle alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are those of us — the ones that you probably see with a smile on Instagram — who struggle like you do. Who think that they couldn't possibly make their dreams come true. The ones that don't see sometimes how they could manage another smile.
Don't get me wrong: the smiles I put on social media are real. I love my life, and I love my online community. But that's not really the point.
The point is that life is sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes we don't think we can keep working on our dream. Sometimes anxiety seems to win.
But it doesn't have to.
We keep going. We keep trying. We never give up. We look anxiety right in its vicious, angry eyes and tell it that we are stronger, that we are better than what it says we are, and that even though it might seem like it has won the battle, we will win the war.
WE. WILL. WIN. THE. WAR.
P.S. If you are struggling with mental health issues and need help, please reach out to someone. You may email me at any time, or connect with me on social media. If you are contemplating suicide, please, PLEASE know that there are people, like me, who care about you. If you need immediate, 24/7, free help, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. I am not a medical professional and this post is not meant to taken as medical advice. I merely wanted to offer a free resource to those who need help, and to reassure them that they are not alone. You are not alone.
This past February, my husband and I took an amazingly relaxing trip to Tampa, Florida. (Above is the sunset in St. Petersburg.) We almost didn't make it out of Michigan due to a snowstorm, but as the palm trees came into view, we could almost feel the weight (probably the weight of the snow) lift off our shoulders.We took the week and rested, ate amazing food, laid out and walked on the beach, drove all over the Tampa Bay area, and watched Supernatural. (Thank you, TNT) And after our minds finally cleared, we decided that we needed to start something.At first, we weren't sure what we were going to start. We knew that between my own Paleo/health journey and his desire to become more fit we've accumulated a lot of knowledge about wellness, health, and nutrition. So we brainstormed, planned, scrawled all over some white boards, planned some more, thought way too much, and came up with an idea. A website! (Not very original, but bear with me.)We knew so many people who wanted help getting their health back on track, so we wanted a place where people could go to find help on their wellness journey. Somewhere people could peruse articles, check out some Paleo recipes, and gain inspiration to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle day in and day out.Our website isn't up quite yet, but we wanted to start getting the word out. If you are considering starting your journey to a healthy life, are ready to get started, or are simply curious, sign up to get notified when the site launches! It's really only a few clicks away. (Get notified here.)Also, we'd love to connect with you on Facebook! My Facebook author page is here; send us a message! If you have any questions or already have ideas of things you'd like to see on the website, email us at email@example.com.And don't worry; my blog will still be here! I will just transition my health and wellness posts to andrewandmelissafrey.com.What would you like to see on the new site? Blog posts, recipes, pictures, something else? We want to create content you'll love! Sound off in the comments!