Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Do you know what an anxiety attack is?
I've had a general idea that an anxiety attack is when a person is faced with a stressful situation their body reacts with a fight or flight response when it's not really necessary.
Thus ones body is pumped full of the necessary adrenaline to deal with a fight or flight situation, 
but one is unable to use it because the said situation doesn't warrant it.
This is my understanding of it anyway...

Daily stress is normal.
A fight or flight response to a normal daily stress is not.

Picture if you will a woman sitting in a church meeting.
Sacrament meeting for example.
This woman is surrounded by her family.
Surrounded by friends, and neighbors.
There are speakers speaking to the congregation.
There are songs being sung.
There are children being rough and rowdy with parents trying to keep them quiet.
There are teenagers doodling on their programs.
Other kids playing on their parents phones, ipads, etc...
There are some people asleep.

And of course there are the people trying to listen to the speakers,
some of them successful, some of them not.

When a child breaks lose from their parent and runs up to the front of the chapel,
most of the congregation is watching and thinking it is funny or adorable.
Laughing for the poor parent who has to chase their child down.
When a child starts bawling over one thing or another and their parent has to carry them out of the meeting, most people are understanding about it.  Filled with their own memories of such times, or laughing nicely about the look on the face of the poor parent.
There are some who don't notice at all 
being so wrapped up in their own children or the engrossing talks.
There are (I am sure) very few who are thinking negative things about any one else in the congregation.

And yet there sits this woman.
Worrying that they are.
Her children climbing all over her.
She can't hear anything but the sounds of 
how bad a job she is doing keeping her children reverent and quiet.

She is wearing a dress, and heels, she is trying to stay modest and appropriate.
Cute and put together.
One doesn't wrestle their children down to the floor in the middle of sacrament meeting 
because said child is misbehaving, 
especially if they are wearing a dress and heels!
This woman is small, tired, and weak.
Her children are full of energy and surprisingly strong.

To pick up one of her children,
while staying modest, cute, and put together;
carry said child out of the meeting,
while they struggle,
while she struggles desperately to not trip or have her dress ripped off,
well that is an enormous task.

So for this woman to be sitting in a church meeting while internally having an anxiety attack,
well it's understandable.
For this woman to be dreading the situation entirely is understandable.
She knows what is coming,
she knows its inevitable.
The stress over it is understandable, but not unusual.
Her bodies reaction to the stress however is not normal.

She is trapped, and there is no way out.
She can't focus,
she can't listen to anything,
and yet she tries desperately to keep control of  herself.
She doesn't start screaming and running up and down the aisles
waving her hands over her head in panic.
She also doesn't break out her karate moves,
who would she use them on?
The Bishop. 
No, lol!

She sits still, 
she speaks in whispers,
her heart pounding like she's running a marathon,
breaking out into a cold sweat like someone faced with an angry animal.
She feels lightheaded,
wide eyed,
and overwhelmed.

But she keeps control.
She acts normal.
She smiles.
She try's to listen.
She try's to feel the spirit.

She fights the flight or fight response and uses all her energy doing so.
One minute she is wide awake, the next she is falling asleep in her seat.
After that internal battle, exhaustion is to be expected.

This is anxiety.
It can happen anywhere, anytime, over anything.

You can imagine just how scary anxiety can be 
when you have no idea why your body is reacting the way it is.
Some people think they are dying,
some think they are having a heart attack.
I keep thinking that I am just too stupid to know what to do or how to do anything.
I've been in denial that anxiety could possibly be a problem that I have.
Turns out it is...


The Mecham Family said...

I've started feeling anxiety the last few years... I wonder if it's something that mother's just battle with as we try to do everything right and try not to have people judge us.. :(

Marshall's said...

Oh Rose, I know all too well how this feels! Pretty much everyday of my life. The way you described it was perfect. Anxiety sucks! I think one day I will die from stress!

Vanessa said...

Oh man I got anxiety attacks when I was like 16-18 BAD my whole hands would cramp up and I wouldn't be able to use them. Not a good feeling!! Not at all.