I remember when I was nine I would babysit my cousin a lot. They lived in a big house with lots of doors and windows, and sometimes when it got dark I would get scared that someone would try to break in or something. I think my nine year old brain realized if there was any danger, I was in charge, and I wasn't really ready to handle that. But it all kind of seemed like a fun game, and of course I didn't really realize things that could actually happen, but I still felt the anxiety from it all.
After one of these nights babysitting, I went home feeling really stressed. I remember crying to my mom that I had a horrible feeling, and I thought something bad was going to happen to someone in my family. I was so worked up that she called all my brothers and had me talk to them so I could see that they were ok. But I still had this horrible feeling that I couldn't shake, and I thought I was psychic or something.
But, nothing ever did happen, and what I didn't realize was that I wasn't clairvoyant, I was just having my first anxiety attack.
I think anxiety is something that is very common in a lot of our lives today. I know a lot of my family has it to some degree, and my oldest brother was even diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. It's something I never really talk about, something I don't really even think about until it decides to rear it's ugly head and remind me that I'm not as in control as I like to pretend to be.
I think it's important to talk about because it is so common, but it's something we all ignore and pretend doesn't happen. I certainly don't like to mention in conversation that anxiety can bring me to a deep, dark place that I feel like I'll never escape from. It is horrible feeling like you can fall into that at any time for no reason at all.

My anxiety peaked in High School. I can remember sitting in class one morning when I felt the weight of it hit me like a ton of bricks. Nothing happened to trigger it, but suddenly it was as if an elephant was sitting on my chest. I felt like I couldn't get any air. I went home in a panic and once again bawled to my mom that something was wrong, that I didn't know how or why but I just knew something bad was going to happen.
Anxiety is scary. It's unpredictable and powerful. It can hit you out of nowhere and stay with you for as long as it chooses.
I try to "live in the light", read my scriptures and surround myself with people who make me happy and keep me calm. Caleb has been incredible for this for me. My anxiety has gotten a lot better since we got married, but I was always terrified that pregnancy and being a new mom would bring in the perfect storm of hormones to cause the worst anxiety of my life.
Luckily for me, having Dayen has actually helped me a lot. I think I just know that I don't have time to waste on feeling that way, because I have him to take care of. That's not to say motherhood doesn't bring on anxiety of it's own.
I don't claim to be an expert, but it's always surprised me how quiet we are about things like this, and I always felt frustrated that I couldn't find any answers on things that actually help when you are in the moment of an attack like that. The only thing I've really found is working through them, waiting them out and talking or crying or whatever you have to do to feel better. But I am fully aware that my anxiety can't be nearly as bad as some people's, and I can't imagine what that must be like. How do you even cope? I can't imagine feeling that way all day, every day.
Because it's not just typical anxiety, "oh I hope this works out." It is truly crippling. It is a deep, dark hole that sucks all the happiness out of you. You can't remember what it's like to feel happy and normal, and you feel like you never will again.
I feel like such a drama queen writing about this, and maybe that's why no one talks about it. Maybe no one wants to sound crazy or weird. But I've found that the times I've opened up about it, I'm usually not alone. I think nearly everyone has experienced it to some degree, and many have what could probably be classified as a disorder, whether they realize it or not.
For me, it's always so random. The things you would think would bring on the worst anxiety generally don't. When my brother was in a bad car accident and we weren't sure he was going to live, I don't remember having a single anxiety attack. When I suddenly realize I've washed the same dish 400 times and it's only going to get dirty again, suddenly full blown anxiety attack.
I personally believe it has a lot to do with the world we live in. Anxiety generally comes from feeling unsafe, or like you're not grounded in some way, and we have so many challenges to face every day and we have so many things bombarding us all the time, we forget to just stop for a second and be at peace. I can't remember the last time I sat down and didn't immediately pull out my phone or turn on the TV or find something to distract me. I think eventually it all builds up until the straw breaks the camels back and we are crying for two hours over dirty dishes.
I wish I had a miracle cure. I wish I could list "10 easy steps for curing your anxiety!" I don't. I am not much wiser than I was at nine, because every time I feel that constricting in my chest, that shortness of breath, a part of me still thinks, Something bad is going to happen.
But I do know that there are many places we can turn for peace. And I think anxiety isn't something you fix as it's happening, but something you try to avoid with preventative maintenance. Take a second to take a breath and just be. Be at peace. Be still. Be grateful for what you have and who you are. 
In my darkest moments, I may still have suspicions that I am psychic, but at least I can take comfort in the fact that I haven't been right yet.

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