AQUIS Unfiltered is a series of honest conversations with strong women who share how they’ve evolved and come to embrace transformation in their bodies, their careers, and their lives.
Whitney Kay Scott is a 28 year old wife and mother of 2, and fashion/lifestyle blogger, she is currently running for Mrs. Idaho America.
I have been yearning to share my mental health journey in hopes of helping another lonely, scared and confused mama out there or anyone walking this harsh path of crippling anxiety. I am so happy I am in a state of life now, where I can share my story and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
There was a time I was a lost mother begging the days to go by. In honor of National Mental Health awareness month, this is my story.
Little did I know my anxiety has been following me around my whole life, rearing itself in different forms and making me confused about its origin. I look back now to my childhood and realize the terrible stomach pains, feelings of being trapped and really nervous in school or social settings and my fear of flying, was really my anxiety. I thought it was normal, that I was just a nervous person. There is a significant difference between the anxiety someone has when they are nervous about a test, or nervous for a date, the anxiety I felt was crippling - it would come out of nowhere and flip my life upside down.
The Summer of 2016 is when anxiety disorder took a hold of my life with both hands, dragging me to the ground. It was the worst year of my life. I remember it very clearly, it was my husband’s last race of his NASCAR career. It was a big weekend for him. For us. It meant the start of a new chapter in our lives, moving to a new state, starting fresh. I was excited yet nervous and sad to leave my family and friends. When traveling the NASCAR circuit, you normally are fortunate enough to have a bus driver and motor home that travels with you and your family each weekend to make the travel feel less like travel and more like home. What was supposed to be a fun weekend quickly turned into a dreadful weekend for all of us. I had asked our sweet bus driver if he would take me to the Fanatics tent where they had my husband Brian’s model race cars and t-shirts. I wanted to buy them out so our kids would have them. Right before we were entering the tunnel “it” happened. My breath was lost and I could barely see. I felt as if I was dying. I muttered the best I could that something wasn’t right, and I needed to go to the infield care center.
They took me in and hooked me up to an EKG machine. I was gasping for air at this point, wanting anything that could save me and help me breathe normally again. My heart was pounding so fast I could feel every beat. Here I was crying and panicking in this horrible state of mind while my husband was qualifying for the last race of his career. He came in as soon as he could and was worried and confused. The nurses urged us to head to the hospital at this point, via ambulance.
At the hospital, they told me I was suffering from an anxiety attack. I didn’t believe them. These feelings in my chest were real, and I really couldn’t breathe. How could that be an anxiety attack? The weeks after, I went into a deep depression because of the confusion I felt about the attack. I couldn’t be the mother and wife I wanted to be. I felt so alone and trapped in an illness I couldn’t easily solve. I was put on medication after medication in hopes it would slow my racing heart down and calm my confused mind. I sought counselors and ultimately was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder.
I really relied on my husband during this time to take care of our family and me. It isn’t until you are ‘out of order’ that you really realize how much you are needed as a mother and caretaker. I was so weak at this point that even getting in the shower was a task for me. It was a lot on our marriage but I’m thankful to sit here today and say because of our gracious, never failing God we got through the trial. There is so much more I could (and will someday soon on my blog) share from this journey but for now my message to you, to us mothers, to wives, to anyone: anxiety can feel like it’s taking control of you and your life but let me assure you, YOU are strong enough to take control and manage this monster.
There were times that I thought I wouldn’t make it a day longer, feeling like I was dying but I am here now stronger than before and can use my voice to help others. As a mother, I can already see the small signs of anxiety sneaking up on my 8-year-old daughter. Not just nervousness but actual, crippling fear and anxiety that brings her to tears and gives her stomach pains. I am thankful that I have the tools I was taught, to now help her and hopefully catch this sooner rather than later.
As a mother, this has given me a brand new set of eyes on how I view things. I certainly have more compassion for those with weaker minds. Time is passing quickly and I don’t want to waste my time worrying when I can be watching my sweet babies grow! Their sweet hugs, sticky fingers and messy mouths might seem like a lot now but they won’t last forever.
It truly has taken strength, prayers, faith and a little bit of Zoloft to get me back up on my feet and feeling human today. Don’t be ashamed of medication or vitamins. At first, I beat myself up for having to depend on medication but really, what difference is it to take medication for a broken leg? Our brain is an organ!
If you are currently struggling, here are some of my tools that helped me to become stronger:
- Remind yourself these are just feelings, not reality. When you feel overwhelmed, talk to yourself and really think about what’s going on.
- Sometimes you need a little break... go out, ride your bike, walk your dog, do yoga!
- Call a friend, your mom, anyone you feel comfortable talking to get your mind off things.
- Get crafty! I found that tedious tasks such as hot gluing pearls onto a jean jacket really took my mind off the negative thoughts and re-directed my focus.
- Watch a show! Let your mind relax and concentrate on something else!
- See a counselor. There are so many excuses you can make up but just do it. Just go vent, let your feelings out and don’t be ashamed.
- And lastly if I may... I’d suggest my favorite devotional reading, Jesus Calling. Even if you are not Christian or deeply religious, this book can give you little nuggets to help you get through the day and realize there are larger forces in control, whoever that may be for you!
This was only a small tidbit from my anxiety journey and it was painful and scary to relive all the hardship it has caused me as I typed these words. I knew someday when I was ready I would share my story in hopes to help one person. I want others to know they are not alone in this journey and that your feelings are real and true, you are NOT crazy. You are beautiful for you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). This is just the beginning for me... this was just my foot stepping through the door, opening up a little. I hope that my story can give you some comfort for today and inspire you to speak out to others, to lift others up and be a little kinder to all.
Remember, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf them.” - unknown
***Pro Tip from Whitney: I like to spray the Restorative Leave-in Conditioner on my hair after my turban has almost dried my hair, I really feel like the hair soaks up the nutrients! Also, on days that I skip washing my hair I like to throw my hair up in my turban while showering, to keep it from getting damp... of course it's not water proof but it helps to remind me :-)