Digging Out of a Hole

April Fools Day is kind of a weird day for me. My blog FueledByLOLZ would cause you to assume I’m the queen of pranks and funny jokes today.  Believe it or not, I’m not. I debated even posting this but at the end of the day, April 1st is like any day.  It’s a memorable day for some and a day that gets pushed away by others.

I also have a lot of personal friends that read my blog, and I wondered what they would think reading this post about my struggles.  Many knew me throughout my highest anxiety points and had no idea.  Many friends had an idea but never said anything.

On April 1st, 2014 my husband proposed to me.  We had been dating for a while, lived together and even moved together.

engagement photo 3

We began dating during an already turmoiled senior year of college.  Then maintained a year and a half of long distance and eight months of living together.

Living together only reinforced our relationship. I made the decision in 2013 to move from New York to Texas, and I had no idea what to expect.  I’ll never regret my choice.

The day after I moved in, I got a knot in my hair.  It took over an hour to get the knot out but instead of remaining calm, I was in hysterics over a trivial knot.

Just thinking about Texas and my hair is huge....
Just thinking about Texas and my hair is huge….

He asked, why don’t you just cut the knot out?

I still think that could be a front runner of the most dramatic moment of our relationship.  It caused me to panic immediately and get more upset.  But of course, he remained calm and helped me work through the knotty situation. An hour and bottle of conditioner later…it was over.

Since then, he has been the calmer half and voice of reason.  I panic and get upset, and he calms me down.

A long time ago, I blogged more about social anxiety and depression.  I dealt with depression more in college and social anxiety after college.

Between working in Oswego, NY as well as living in Texas, I found myself isolated.  I felt as if I was always moving and making new friend groups.  After I had moved to Texas, I was more stressed and anxious because I had no family or friends, no job and nothing to do.  We were 180 miles in the middle of nowhere. I had blogging, of course, but you can only enjoy blogging for a certain amount of hours, and you can only apply for outside jobs for so long…

There is a real world outside of the computer screen…

Even harder about the military lifestyle is if you aren’t married, you don’t receive the same benefits as a spouse who is.  The city we lived in Texas is centered around the base, so there were a lot of obstacles we faced.  Obstacles that added more stress and anxiety into my life and in turn, Tim’s life.  Unlike where we live now, the base was the only thing to do.

And run to the border of Mexico...
And run to the border of Mexico…

However, I chose to move to Texas.  I wouldn’t have learned so much along the way without.  I did, however, notice old tendencies from college slowly creeping back.  I began sinking into depression and with more anxiety than I had felt before. 

When we found out we were moving to NJ
When we found out, we were moving to NJ

When we found out we were moving to New Jersey, it was a relief.  I’m sure I would have found my way in Texas, but NJ is a short drive to our immediately friends and family.  It is a much better fit for us.  September-December of 2014 flew by, and the change was good for me.  I assimilated well into the Garden State and had so much on my plate with unpacking; I didn’t have time to breath.

moving box meme

Then the Garden State Honeymoon period wore off.

I had a very successful but often gone boyfriend; I couldn’t find a sustainable job, and I was struggling to make friends.  My depression and anxiety began to creep through the cold winter months.  I made friends through (the then small) Oiselle team  I had a solid two friends, but that didn’t help finding a job.  I applied to things in my field (public health) and outside of it (running stores as well as a couple of hospitals).  I sent follow up emails but went weeks without hearing anything back.

Anxiety is different for everyone.  Someone might struggle in overwhelming social settings like parties, but someone else might struggle with mental and personal thoughts.  Personally, I battle with second guessing everything I do.  Not in an average way but a way that can lead to panic attacks.  A way that I have received help throughout the years.

Even when jobs weren’t calling me back, my husband reassured me I would be fine.  We were financially fine, and I was making a small living, but I found myself spending weeks isolated.  Maybe that’s when I made the goal of traveling New Jersey to go to every diner, but I can’t be sure. 

It’s odd to look back and say “my boyfriend” but he supported me throughout everything.

He supported me through anxiety ridden meltdowns to even telling me: no, don’t work there, you will be miserable (and that was most definitely true).

Fast forward to late March 2014.  I was running again; I had just begun working at a local running store, and my anxiety was dwindling.  A long six months after moving to New Jersey my life was slowly coming together.   Even though on paper I should have been happy, I still felt as if I wasn’t providing enough or not doing enough.

On April 1st, I was in the midst of another meltdown.

Anxiety is funny that way; you can be happy, sad or somewhere in between.

You never know, and there is no way to predict it.  At the time I was crying my eyes out, sad…for what reason I can’t remember.  I had gotten over it by the evening, but I was still in a funky mood.  Was I going to go to bed sad again?  It never adds up either…my life was coming together.  I had a job; my running was going well, and I was making friends.  For some reason that is always unknown, I had anxiety.

Tim proposed me to that evening.  I was shocked, and it didn’t feel real.  It took me a couple of seconds to not be as shocked but of course, I said yes.

wedding 9

That was a great week for me.  I got engaged and ran a half marathon PR. 

The engagement wasn’t a band-aid to fix my anxiety.  It wasn’t a cover up to make everything feel better, but it was a turning point in my life.  For a reason, I can’t explain it was the start of building myself out of a hole that I had dug for myself.

Throughout the wedding process, my husband was there for me when he could be.  The wedding planning took up plenty of time, but it wasn’t ever that stressful.  Another interesting point of anxiety is that it can make you very Type A in a certain situation and laid back in certain situations.  The wedding was one situation I was laid back.

So where am I now?

I’m reflecting and thinking about where life has taken me in the last few years.  If you asked me three years ago:

Would I be living in NJ and loving it?  I would have laughed.

If you had asked me two years ago: Would depression be out of my life? I would have also probably laughed.

If you had asked me a year ago: where I see myself after one year of marriage…I don’t know what I would have said.  I would have laughed to buy time but, to be honest, I’m not sure what I would have said.

First dance

While depression is something I am currently not dealing with, anxiety is something I always will.  There are periods my anxiety is worse and periods where it is almost nonexistent.  I would not consider it a day of day battle but I also wouldn’t consider it over either.

My husband has been there for me throughout everything.  Throughout the good, the bad and the ugly.  Throughout trivial meltdowns that I can’t explain and the highs and lows.  Social anxiety will be something I will deal with off and on, but the major battles are thankfully in the past.  April 1st will always have a different meaning to me.

Our wedding Anniversary is on April 12, 2015, so I’ll have more of a story then. 

At the Sunset outdoors