Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Enemy, Anxiety

Remember, how I mentioned in this post that I wanted to start talking more about my struggles? Well, here's one of them. Anxiety. Something I've gotten to know all too well over the past year.

See, I've always been a bit of a worrier. Growing up I was always the person that would overthink things and worry things to death. In the past year anxiety slowly started creeping into my life though. I've had a handful of anxiety attacks over the past few years. Believe me, they're not fun!

Then, last fall I started feeling anxious all the time, for no apparent reason. Anxiety started being something I battled everyday. I soon learned that my anxiety was mostly caused by my gluten intorlance. Yep, if you have an allergy to gluten or wheat, one of the main symptoms can be anxiety! So I nixed the gluten and thought all of my problems were behind me. Boy was I wrong!

You should know that I've always been afraid of throwing up. I'm not sure why. Funny thing is, I've only thrown up twice that I can remember, and that was when I had the stomach flu when I was three. It's not like I've had some traumatic experience with it or anything.

While I've always been a clean person, I've never been a germaphobe or anything. Then, this winter, out of nowhere I became a full out germaphobe and emetophobe (fear of throwing up). Not only that, but I have an intense fear of getting sick period.

Over these past two months I've battled some of the most intense anxiety ever. It comes in waves. Somedays I'm fine, and other days I don't want to do anything because my stomach is in knots.
I pray about it constantly, and the Lord has helped me so much.

I've gone to great lengths to ensure me and my family stay healthy. I take vitamins and airborne like crazy and clean obsessively. I'm now the hand washing dictator in our house and go around cleaning everybodys phones off with clorox wipes. At work I wear rubber gloves a good portion of the time and I clorox and lysol off as many things as I can.

It's gotten to a point where I don't want to do anything or go anywhere because I'm so afraid of catching some illness. I stay home as much as possible and anytime I get together with somebody, I find myself wondering if they've been sick in the last two weeks.

I've done loads of research on sickness, thinking that if I knew the facts it would make me feel better. In hindsight, it probably only made my obsession worse. Now I'm a walking book of knowledge that could pretty much tell you anything and everything about germs, the stomach flu, rhespiatory flu, etc. I drive my sister crazy because I'm constantly telling her things like, "Hold your breath if a person sneezes!", or "Wash your hands the second you get home!", or "Never touch your face when you're out!" I've found myself giving my Dad airborne tablets to take and teaching my brother how to properly wash his hands. Now, none of this bad persay. No one in our household has gotten sick this winter, and I know my efforts have helped. The problem isn't my cleanliness, but my obsession, my anxiety.

I wish I could tell you that I've gotten over it completely, but that would be a lie. I'm doing better and sometimes I don't worry about it at all, but then the second I hear someone I know is sick, I start worrying again.

I've had to do a lot of prayer, a lot of journaling, and a lot of deep thinking these past few months. I believe the reason I'm so afraid of getting sick, is my lack of control over the situation. We all have things we like to control, and for me it just happens to be my health. I'm so afraid of feeling crappy and not knowing if I'm going to get a fever or a headache or throw up.

It took a lot for me to share this with you all. I've tried so many times over the past few weeks to write this post, but I just didn't have the courage. I was afraid that you guys would think I was silly. I know a lot of people might laugh at my fear of getting sick, but I also know that a lot of people share this same fear.

I'm so tired of this anxiety, but I can't seem to let it go. Life is too short though, and if I keep this up, I could miss out on a lot of terrific times. I'm slowly learning to let go and to let God. My prayer for everything this year has been, "Whatever is your will Lord, let it be. Just let it be."

xoxo, em


  1. Awww... That must be so difficult. No one thinks its stupid. We all have our own fears and worries... Just you have the confidence to share them. I am absolutely petrified of burglars and kidnappers and stuff. Like if I see someone I look at them and decide whether they could be ready to attack me. If I am on my own I sometimes run up alley ways and stuff. It's terrible. And I know the chances are slim. But I still worry.
    Eb x

  2. Trust me, I totally understand. I had that same thing two years ago. Really, the EXACT same thing. This may sound weird, but look in to this program: anxiety truly will never go away. But I does get better. I am on meds now, and I still obsess and worry, but it is better. Yes, I am still afraid to get sick, and afraid of throwing up, but I can be myself again. If you want, let me know and I can email you about this, I don't feel comfortable putting my email out, but I would be SO glad to talk to you about this.

  3. I honestly think that everyone goes through anxiety like this at some point, I can think of multiple friends who are dealing with the same thing! You are most certainly not alone in this Em! I used to be terrified of being kidnapped, to the point of where if I would loose sight of my mom in a store for more than 3 seconds, I would start screaming hysterically. Of course, if you knew me today you wouldn't know it because I'm totally fine now. God will get you through it, and don't ever for a second be ashamed of having anxiety. it's not your fault and you didn't choose it. Love you!!

  4. Oh, Em, me too. I've been an emetophobe for just about ever. I've gotten a bit better, but it used to be that whenever I had the slightest stomachache or heard a weird grumble in my stomach I would get a panic attack. It takes a bit more to get me that anxious now, but it still happens occasionally, especially if I'm feeling a bit sick and I start to panic that I'm going to throw up even when I'm not. Oh, it feels good to know I'm not the only one out there who does this. Stay strong, yeah? Together we can overcome this <3
    (Side note: I heard drinking a cup of 100% grape juice a day will keep the stomach flu away).

  5. I am the exact same way. I have the hugest fear of getting sick or throwing up. Whenever someone is sick and I'm around them I will immediately start having an anxiety attack and will continue having one for weeks after because I am so worried about getting sick. Thank you for this post! Just remember youre not the only one having this. I'm with you all the way. I'll be praying for ya!

  6. oh thank you for sharing! you're not alone in this. I struggle with anxiety as well. It's no fun. I am a worrier and I tend to over-think things. It's something I have been learning to overcome, and realizing it's only with the Lord's help I can do this! you are awesome for sharing, thank you!

  7. This is in no way a stupid post! I do think you're extremely brave for writing it though. I've thought about doing one similar, about some of the same topics! I struggle with anxiety as well as the fear of throwing up! It's strange because I had never had a bad experience either. It's nice to know that you're not alone sometimes!
    So thank you for this post:)