There is nothing harder and more challenging than admitting something that you are battling with that you have conquered in the past. I have built quit an incredible following on my social media. You all have been through the ups, the downs but primarily you have been through the ups with me! Writing is my source of therapy, and sharing my weaknesses and strengths in hopes to inspire and help someone has become a source of therapy for me as well. I made a promise to myself that I would always be authentic on my social media and share my journey whether it be good or bad.
I do not share any of this with you for pity, a cry for help or support. I ask you not to say “I am so sorry you are going through this” Or “Awe thats tough”. I’ve heard those things over and over again and trust me it doesn’t help. What will help me is if someone who can relate would comment below “I found strength in this and I can relate.” I am sharing this with you for this simple reason: When you have what I have you feel like you are absolutely alone, that no one on this planet understands, and that you will never ever get through this. You feel helpless and out of options.
I have done an amazing job of painting a pretty perfect picture here on my social media. I have built an entire following on strength and inspiration, so it is epically hard to keep that going when you are not feeling that way yourself. I have mentioned in the past few months that I was struggling with an internal battle, but I did not put a label on it, nor did I dive into exactly what that was. I decided last month that I would never tell anyone what I was going through because I did not want to feel embarrassed, weak or ridiculed. I did not want my followers, coaches, and challengers to find out that their leader, their 15 Star Diamond, their top 10 Coach had faults!!! But I am human, and I am real and I am now learning that my faults are not faults at all but they are part of being human.
I soon realized that I was doing all of you a massive disservice hiding behind my truth. I am a leader. I have an incredible business built. I am at the top of a 300,000 plus person company. I am a top recruiter. I have made it so my Family could be financially blessed… people look to my page for strength, and I have done a pretty good job of making it look like I have it all together… and for the most part I did… until July 27th 2015.
Yesterday I was diagnosed with Stress induced Generalized Anxiety Disorder/ Panic Disorder/ and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with more Obsessive than Compulsive. (I have gone through several thyroid tests, gluten test, blood work tests… Ive been through the tests! There were no answers in these tests. I will continue to do a few more testings, but so far nothing body related.)
I already knew this. I figured it out on my own over the last 2 months as I was battling constant fear, depression, panic, sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, crippling disabling OCD. When you are wrapped up in your OCD tornado you forget you have it. If you are someone who has battled with this you would know exactly what I am talking about. There have been days that I could not leave my room and when I did it took everything out of me. There were days that I would sit on google for hours upon hours in sheer terror of impending doom. I will not go into exact details of the thoughts that I was having (heck one day I may just write a book and share) but they were my worst nightmare. I would sit in tears trembling. There were nights that I laid in bed until 3 am running through the possibility that I was going insane. That I was going crazy. That I was going to die. My life looked so absolutely perfect on the outside. We have an incredible business, we are traveling around the world, my marriage is stronger than ever… so why on earth did I feel impending doom?
I then started to feel guilt as a Christian. NO MATTER HOW MUCH BIBLE I read nothing sat with me. In fact in my OCD mind I twisted everything up in my head about the Bible and about my Faith and I had to take a giant step back from my Faith. How painful is that?! The anxiety would get so bad that I could not think straight about my Family, my business, and my faith. I would avoid my Daughter in fear that she would see what I was going through. I could barely look at her without pain in my heart.
Here is an example of exactly how I felt: Imagine finding a spot on your skin. Imagine that it looks like melanoma. Imagine going on google to find out what it is and you read that you could have Cancer. Your heart begins to race, you read horrific tales of this Cancer and your entire body shuts down with chills and panic. You feel like you cannot catch your breath and your heart is beating out of your chest. Imagine that you all of sudden believe that you have Cancer, and now you are searching for an oncologist and reading about how Chemo is painful. Imagine that pain but 24/7 around the clock with a 2-3 hours of peace a day.
That is the crippling truth of the type of OCD I have. Again I cannot and will not quit share what my exact thoughts were but they turned the 4 most important things against me in my own mind (not paranoia (paranoia does not bring anxiety, but true belief. There is no rationalizing), but thoughts about them that were irrational. We all have irrational thoughts and fears in life… but the OCD mind gets stuck on them. The OCD mind obsesses about the irrational fears until it becomes crippling. Once you begin to deal with the irrational thought and you are able to cope through it, you have a whole new thoughts come through and you are in the same vicious cycle… no matter how hard you try to remind yourself that you are suffering from OCD and Anxiety. No matter what you read to find reassurance and peace your brain play tricks on you and causes you to believe what your heart is racing about.
The stress trigger you ask???
All in a 3 months span: visiting my Father in a nursing home for the first time in 7 years, my move to Texas caused me to feel isolated, to much travel (I am a creature of habit and I had 0 habit), and someone told me in a random moment that people get Schizophrenia around 30. I am 29 and my Father has Schitzophrenia. Add that knowledge (which btw is incorrect knowledge!! I learned that this is not true at all) to all of the anxiety, lack of sleep… I spiraled into stress induced OCD and Anxiety and that eventually dropped me into Depression (not that Oh I am a bit sad today because I have not worked out in days, I am talking about crying all the time, not being able to see the happy or excitement in anything that you normally enjoy. Not being able to see hope in the next hour… that type of depression. Like living another minute hurt). As I progressed out of the fear of having my Father’s illness after much guided exposure to the illness and educating myself, I started new irrational thoughts and fears. The anxiety and depression had no where to turn but to the people I loved the most. That is how OCD and Anxiety works.
I went to see several Doctors and they all confirmed that I was not going losing my mind. They confirmed that I have a chemical imbalance from stress and my body reacted in a very troubling way. This was painful to hear, but also relieving. I had a bout of Anxiety and Depression in 2008 and I took Lexapro and was able to cope and come out of my tornado with OCD. I was never diagnosed OCD but looking back now, I know that is what caused the depression. The Anxiety was OCD related. It is so troubling for me to admit all of this because lets face it… I put up a pretty strong front that I have battled my depression with fitness and clean eating. I would be doing you all a disservice if I didn’t shed light on that fact that no matter how clean I ate and no matter how much I worked out… it did not go away this time.
We wanted to have more children and I still intend on it, but it is going on the back burner as I continue to take care of myself. I am in Therapy with an amazing Therapist who specialized in OCD/ Anxiety. I am seeing a Doctor and yes I am taking Lexapro. Let me just say that this brings tears to my eyes because I fought tooth and nail to do this without medication. I cried so hard in Eric’s arms when we decided this was the right path. I did not want to listen to a single Doctor. I thought I knew better. I avoided seeking a professional because I did not want to admit that there was in fact a problem. I have a darn business and family to be strong for… I can’t have a PROBLEM! I finally caved when the problem just got to be to much. When it becomes disabling you absolutely need to take care of yourself. I would play Doctor GOOGLE for weeks. I would search for other people who had this and find out what they did and I read awful awful stories about medication. I would shake in fear looking at my prescription. I would even argue with my Doctor in Austin. I would tell her that I was above this and that I didn’t need it. She disagreed over and over again.
So here I am finally letting my guard down and seeking professional help. Here I am seeking real answers from real professionals, rather than trying to be my own Doctor while going through this battle. Anxiety / Panic/ and OCD can absolutely destroy your life. I just wanted my life back. I am taking the steps to work on this, and I am finding strength in my business, my team, and my Family. This does not mean I am pulling back from my business… in fact I have been told to do the opposite… to continue to do what you love. To continue to do life as if everything was okay, no matter how difficult. ( Imagine traveling to an event where you are being celebrated for being something incredible in an incredible company and all you can do is feel guilt, sadness, and panic…. that was my reality last week. )
Because I have not dealt with OCD and Anxiety as a teenager or a child it is not chronic, however it is stress induced, which means I have a lot of work to do on myself. I have a lot of work to do in myself to recover and avoid relapsing into this. I am a fighter, I am strong and I will conquer this. The one thing that gives me strength and hope… the idea that maybe one day my story will be on paper and it will help someone else find hope, and courage to continue to move forward and find answers.
My advice to you if you ever come across this disorder:
1. Stay away from GOOGLE!!
2. Go see a professional.
3. If you don’t like your Doctors opinion go see another one.
4. You are not alone PERIOD. Find support all around you.
If you are going through this please feel free to message me here on Facebook and lets support one another. I am here to just chat. You are not alone. I have the luxury of knowing a lot of people through my network and I am learning that so many people go through this and its incredible what a solid conversation with someone who is experiencing what you are will do for you.