Health + Wellness

How I Battled Anxiety + Depression AND WON! (Part 1)


Why me?

I was mad that I even had to deal with it.

Let’s talk about anxiety + depression, shall we?

It seems to be less of a taboo subject to talk about these days but it still makes some people uncomfortable. I’m not sure why…

Perhaps they don’t understand it? Perhaps they’ve never experienced it so they think those that do are a little nutty in the head?

Not entirely sure.

But I’m here to talk about it.

I experienced a bit of anxiety with each pregnancy of my kids (we have 3) but it always disappeared as soon as the baby was born.

Until my last pregnancy…

I thought after Lily was born it would go away like the last 2 times but unfortunately it didn’t… and things only got worse. Plus it brought its old pal, depression, along for the ride.

After she was born I continually became more sad and more anxious. Some days I could keep it under control and then other days it felt like one big attack, over and over again.

I thought it would eventually just “go away”. But after a panic attack that seemed to never end, I finally had my husband take me to the ER.

They gave me something that helped to calm me down immediately (within 30 minutes). I was so relieved. I was also prescribed an anti-depressant.

I took the anti-depressant for 10 months and actually felt pretty good. I didn’t have terrible lows BUT I also didn’t experience any highs either. The medication just kind of made me flat. It also caused some pretty hefty weight gain which was a real bummer.

I knew life wasn’t supposed to be like this. I knew I was meant to not just survive but to thrive. I USED to be happy and peaceful and it aggravated me terribly that life felt so “blah”.

So I prayed and talked with my Heavenly Father about what to do.  I clearly felt that I should wean myself off the anti-depressants. I did it over a 2 month period and gradually took less and less until I stopped taking it altogether.

I was doing pretty good. I didn’t experience hardly any depression or anxiety…until my birthday.

I went out to lunch with Jon, my husband, and I couldn’t even eat because I was feeling so much despair and anxiety.

It was awful.

I’d had it. I was furious that I was still dealing with this.

I came home, dropped to my knees and prayed. I pleaded with Heavenly Father…

How I can heal?

How I could feel normal again?

Aren’t we meant to experience joy in this life?

I felt broken.

As I continued to cry out to God the thought came to me immediately… The way I could repair my mind and my spirit was to…

Mediate.

I had never done any sort of mediation before. So I googled it.

And by divine design the very first article I found was called, “Your Brain on Meditation”.

The article was eye opening.  It explained how a daily practice of 20-30 minutes of meditation actually changes the chemical makeup of your brain. It reprograms your brain to think happy thoughts. Neural pathways in the brain actually change, creating you to be more peaceful and calming instead of anxious and worried.

Through meditation you can actually reverse the effects of this toxicity of life whether it’s toxic emotions, toxic environment, toxic habits, and toxic thoughts. The key is to experience inner silence…then your body returns to base line status which is called homeostasis…self-repair! – Deepak Chopra

In the end, this means that you are able to see yourself and everyone around you from a clearer perspective, while being more present, compassionate and empathetic with people no matter the situation. With time and practice, people do truly become calmer and more peaceful.

However, to maintain your gains, you have to keep meditating.

Why? Because the brain can very easily revert back to its old ways if you are not vigilant. This means you have to keep meditating to ensure that the new neural pathways you worked so hard to form stay strong.

So I committed to 20 minutes of mediation each day.

What a difference it made!

I began feeling the peace creep back in and I felt so much stronger. My anxiety started to recede and I finally began feeling like I had a hold on life once again.

That was 4 years ago.

Since then, I’ve continued my daily practice of mediation. (I found myself lapsing this past year or two because I haven’t felt any signs of depression or anxiety!) I’ve learned even more tools that have been the answer to living in complete emotional freedom. (I’ll post more about the other tools I use.)

I feel strong. I feel repaired and I not only feel like myself again, I feel like I’m an even better version of myself.

If you aren’t familiar with meditation (I wasn’t) then let me direct you to Deepak Chopra. He has many free mediations on YouTube but my absolute favorite ones are the series he does with Oprah.

A couple of times a year they do a 21-day mediation series. It’s a easy way to get into the habit of daily mediation.

Click here to check out the Deepak Oprah 21-Day Mediation
Click here for a great Deepak Mediation on YouTube.

In a moment of despair and total frustration over the fact that I had to deal with depression and anxiety in my life I asked God why in the world did I have to go through all of it? Why was I experiencing this in my life?

As clear as anything I felt Him tell me,

“Katie, one of the reasons I needed you to go through it is so that you would be able to help others. There are going to be people who will come to you who need to know how to deal with anxiety and depression and who need to know that you know exactly how it feels.”

I truly believe God turned my mess into my message.

So I talk about it.

I share my experience. I share what has helped me. I do it out of love and complete empathy to others who are going through the same thing I did.

I understand that my path isn’t necessarily the same path for everyone.

But I do know it will be an answer to someone.

Welcome to Being Katie Brave! I’m so happy to have you here. If you’re looking to take better pictures (stress-free!), get the inside scoop on all things Disney World, or be inspired to live YOUR best life (even if especially if it scares you to death) …you’re in the right place. I ’ve written 3 photography books, our family lived at Disney World for 2 years, and wear my heart on my sleeve…all of which would never have come to pass if I didn’t push past my fears and step in the darkness. Join me as I share my adventure of life, one post at a time.

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