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Anxiety and the Struggles That Came With

Anxiety has been a part of my life for a while... I personally did not struggle, but I have had lots of family, close friends, and acquaintances struggle and I have watched their pain. It is a lot different when it happens to you though. You won't truly be able to understand what someone feels like until you have personally felt this way.

My issues started happening a few days after I got to Nebraska. I was so excited to finally be able to begin teaching. Things were great to begin with and I felt on top of the world. Until I woke up one morning super anxious: heart racing, headache, felt like I couldn't breathe, upset stomach, and couldn't focus. I figured I'd take some ibuprofen for the headache and call it good... This however did not fix the issue. It got worse slowly. Each morning I'd wake up feeling worse than the day before. The problems went from the moment I woke up to the moment that I went to sleep (even woke up because of it most nights). I tried keeping it to myself, but I realized that I couldn't handle this by myself. I thought that I was going crazy.

I finally came to the decision that I should call my Mission President and let him know how I was feeling. I explained and he said that I should practice some breathing exercises and look at Adjusting to Missionary Life. I had previously been trying that, and felt like it wasn't helping. I continued trying these and called his wife multiple times each day to discuss how I was feeling. This helped slightly each day, but definitely did not take away what I was feeling.

I was on a mission and as a missionary we pray all the time. I kept asking for a little bit of relief in each prayer. I never felt that relief... I felt hopeless and helpless. Each day I was getting worse and no one could tell me why or how to feel better. They would listen and add how they work through stress, but it wasn't helping me.

Finally, one night my Mission President's wife said that we should look into a counselor and doctor. In order to get the counselor process going, I needed to answer a questionnaire to find out exactly what was going on. The answers/ my choices were: never, rarely, sometimes, often, or almost always. As I began answering, I confused myself. My answers before I got there would have all been never or rarely. My answers, all but one, were almost always or often. The one question that I was able to say never to was suicidal thoughts. I realized that I wasn't super crazy at that moment and finally felt some hope that I could find help.  

I still didn't know what to do, but felt a little relief. The next day was Sunday and I was beyond excited to go to church. Throughout that day things got to the point that I wasn't able to function. I couldn't think; I felt numb to the world. I wasn't myself and didn't know how to get to that point. That night after a phone call with Sister Gardner (Mission Pres. wife), I started having a thought that it would be better for everyone if I just didn't wake up in the morning. My rational self pushed the thought away, but in the morning it returned.

This thought persisted and is currently a problem that I am dealing with, but it scares me more than anything else in this world. Each time a push the thought away, it gets harder to say no to. I called Sister Garder the next morning when I kept having the thought and she told me that we should pack to meet with her and President. That's when things started to get better.


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