Monday, September 10, 2012

On Support

Bridges need support too!! :P (photo by Kara Haberstock, all rights reserved)
This last week has taught me a lot about the immeasurable value of support.

My anxiety disorder decided to display itself in full force this week, probably more severely than it ever has. Panic attacks came everyday. I had trouble sleeping and near-constant nausea. Eating was a struggle. Small tasks could reduce me to tears, and prolonged social exposure could be overwhelming. I was not at all a "fun" person to be with. But through all of this, Nate supported me, in just about every meaning of the word. And I learned a great deal about the incredible benefits of partnership and the support that comes with it.

According to Merriam-Webster,"support" can mean the following:
1. to endure bravely or quietly2. to assist or help3. to pay the costs of
4. to hold up
5. to keep from losing courage
6. to keep (something) going
And support took all of these meanings this week.

Nate sat with me on the floor of my bedroom, in the corner of the bathroom, and in the car in the dark, quietly holding my hand until the tears and the shaking subsided. He made me food and convinced me to eat when I didn't want to.  He prayed with me and for me, listened as I tried to verbalize what might be causing my anxiety to flare up like this, and told me I wasn't crazy or defective, that this wasn't my fault or my choice. He reviewed applications before I submitted them and reminded me that it's perfectly okay if I'm not accepted, that it's more than fine to take a year off, and that what I do next year in no way defines me.He served as a buffer with friends and family when social interaction got to be too much. He was patient with my changing moods and general unpredictability. And now we're going through the process of finding a therapist for me together. 

It wasn't very much fun to need support. I hated the fact that my mood was so volatile, that seemingly anything could trigger a surge of adrenaline and fear, that even simple tasks could seem like too much. I hated feeling like a different person. And I'm terrified that this all could happen again. But this I do know: I have support. Nate and I are a team; we support each other. We're all in. And that is a source of comfort and strength.

1. The American Psychological Association has some great resources concerning anxiety/panic disorders if you'd like to know more.
2. This APW post is one of my favorites about panic attacks and marriage
3. If anyone can recommend good therapists in Tucson, I am still in the search process and would love a recommendation!

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