Savannah’s guest post is the 36th post in the segment on my blog, called “The Reality Of…” which gives others the ability to share their story and raise awareness of the disabilities, illnesses, impairments and invisible illnesses that they have.
Savannah Shea Blake is a Birth Doula, Confidence Coach and Writer at Earth and Water, who helps moms unleash their inner warrior goddesses so that they can conquer the battles of life and feel more supported in their ventures. Children are our future and creating a positive future for us all starts with supporting our parents.
I spent the first twenty three years of my life without speaking. Frozen so stiffly in fear that I lost major range of motion in my neck. I battled anxiety. When I was young and in school it was the branch of social anxiety so severe that I physically couldn’t speak or breathe around people. I couldn’t make a phone call or talk to the cashier or the server. I couldn’t stand up for myself to my bullies.
When I became older my social anxiety began to have pow wows with its cousins: General anxiety, trauma based anxiety from some wrecks I had, postpartum anxiety and of course, my favorite of the bunch, hypochondria.
I spent my life on the sidelines. Watching everyone else participate. Wishing I could take the martial arts classes I was offered. Wishing I could try out for the volleyball team. Desiring with every beat of my heart to join in and be a part of the group but never knowing how to since my voice shook and my vision blurred every time I tried. I lived in silence. In the back corner of the room. Alone while everyone else socialized.
When I was 22 I became pregnant with my first child. Something my husband and I had been working on for nearly a year. Happiness never came for me though. I was terrified. Statistics showed 1 in 3 women lost their children to miscarriage and I knew so many that were pregnant at the same time as me. Call it premonition or call it manifestation, my anxiety told me I would be the 1 that pulled the statistical short straw.
And at 15 weeks pregnant, just as I was beginning to think “Maybe this is okay. Maybe we will be okay” the rug was pulled out from under me with the loss of a heartbeat and a motionless ultrasound picture that is forever burned into my mind’s eye. I’m convinced my anxiety and the stress it caused is what took our child from us.
Fast forward 2 years and we had a beautiful, perfect little boy in our arms. My basic anxiety now replaced with severe postpartum anxiety. I didn’t know that at the time though because no one talks about postpartum anxiety. No one knows it’s a thing.
It wasn’t until years later that I realized this is what had been going on. This was why I couldn’t drive down the road without having a panic attack and needing to pull over. Why I laid in bed as my heart pounded out of my chest, unable to sleep because the world would surely end if I were to close my eyes. Jumping at every sound I heard because obviously someone was going to drop a bomb on my house and we would all perish in a fiery explosion.
I had chest pains one night when my husband was at work. My anxiety over it made it impossible for me to focus so I texted a friend, hoping she would put my mind at ease. Instead of telling me I was fine, she pushed me off of the side of the cliff. Telling me about a women my age (24) that had recently died because she ignored her chest pains. The icing on the cake was that this unfortunate women had a son the same age as mine.
So I had someone take me to the ER where they ran test after test only to conclude that I was in perfect health and simply suffering from an anxiety attack. The person who had driven me to the hospital looked at me with irritation, “Really Savannah? What could you possibly have to be stressed about? You have a great husband with a great job and a beautiful house and a healthy son.” I cried. I knew it was ridiculous for me to feel the way I did but my anxiety very rarely came with a rhyme or reason. I was usually just a feeling of my nerve endings
unraveling themselves. A buzzing through my whole body that made me disassociate. A wave of darkness through my head and vision that made me feel as though my consciousness was about to float away from my body.
They gave me medicine that made me foggy. I couldn’t write, work or focus. Just sat staring, unable to move and silently melting down in my head. What was worse is that it didn’t even take my anxiety away. Only put a blanket over it. It was still there, I just couldn’t react to it.
My family was split. Half of them were proud of me for getting on meds. They told me to keep taking them and that they would help me. The other half rolled their eyes. Meeting me with words of “Do you really need to take them everyday?” “You’re going to get addicted” and “Just take them when it’s really bad”. So I stopped taking them and was left on my own once again to deal with the crippling effects of my anxiety.
I spent the next 3 years battling my attacks with natural methods. I practiced yoga and tai chi regularly. Cut out excess sugar and caffeine. Went running and on walks. Diffused and doused myself with all of the essential oils, meditated with the appropriate crystals, aligned my chakras, healed old wounds, relived my childhood, explored past lives, changed my eating habits. I cleansed my aura and pushed my comfort zone further and further.
I did everything the internet had for me. Surrounded myself with orgonite and crystal grids, burned sage and incense and tapped along meridian lines and pressure points. I was hypnotized and reiki-ed and took all of the vitamins and herbs I could get my hands on. Drank the teas and practiced grounding, gardening and earthing.
I was a poster child for natural remedies but my anxiety was still present. I had changed, though. It didn’t have the same control over me that it once did. I was living my life despite of it and things were getting easier.
Before, I couldn’t even like a post on Facebook because my anxiety wouldn’t allow for anyone to know that I existed. Now, I post regularly on YouTube and IGTV, run whole support groups online and in person in my community. I put my face and my words everywhere they’re allowed. I share my story and let my voice be heard and I help others do the same through online coaching.
If we can get rid of our anxiety, that’s great. Many of us, however, may have to settle for learning to coexist with it. We can learn to work with it and manage it as it arises, lessening the attack when it shows it’s unwanted face by recognize when it’s starting to pop up and acting accordingly. Take a few deep breaths, embody our inner warrior goddess and live our lives in spite of it.
My Favourite Superhero
My favorite superheros are Doctor Strange and Iron Man. I’m not big into DC but Wonder Woman has found a place in my heart as of late. I’ve always been drawn to intelligence as a super power.
Thanks Savannah for sharing your story with my readers and me!