Anxiety War- My Search for Inner Peace

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about 2 months ago i wrote a ‘bare it all-here’s who i am and what i deal with’ post called “my war with anxiety.” i received an outpouring of comments, emails and texts of support which made me feel less crazy-so thank you.

here’s part I of the follow-up…

i contacted a local LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) and explained my situation to her. she was very gracious and gave me discount because i was paying out of pocket AND because i was “a colleague” (that totally made me tear up and feel all grown up since i’m a social worker too).

as i walked into my first session, my fists were clenched. part of the clenching was due to anxiety but the other part was determination. i do not want anxiety taking a front row seat to my marriage, my life or my identity. i knew i had less than 6 weeks and currently 45 minutes of paid “focus only on chelsea” time a head of me so i should fully use it. i went in there, laid everything out on the table about how anxiety has been effecting my relationship and life. then i started crying and told her i cry at everything, always, so get ready and she simply said “crying is cleansing and there are 2 tissue boxes within arms reach.”

i also told her that i’m leaving for russia in 3 weeks, would be gone almost 2 weeks and then back just 5 days before we set off on our 6 month tour (that was a lot of numbers) so i was ready to hit it hard because of my limited time.

as we neared the end of our session, she asked if my husband might be willing to come in and share how he sees my anxiety effecting our relationship but only if i felt comfortable asking him and she didn’t want to cause any conflict between us so i shouldn’t ask him if it would. i made a funny face at her and said “ummm of course. absolutely! i know without a doubt that he will come with me.”

i realized how amazing it is to be a in a relationship with someone who i know, without hesitation, will do whatever he can to support me and be there for me.

i met up with my husband at a coffee shop where he was working on his book and told him about my session. he wrapped me in his arms, told me how proud he was of me for being proactive and agreed to do whatever i felt comfortable with and whatever was needed.

the next week we went back together and she asked him what his view is of my anxiety.

his answer, “it’s not her anxiety. it’s our anxiety. she may be the one experiencing it but it affects my life and our marriage. it can be very exhausting. i also don’t want her to miss out on life because of it.”

my answer- tears.

he’s so right. while i may be the one having the day-to-day experiences with fighting anxiety, it does affect him and us. it can play out in little ways like me asking him not to send his latte back because it was hot instead of iced because i get so uncomfortable with that interaction and potentially making that person waste ingredients and feel bad. or larger ways like him having to pick up my weight for organizing this tour we are on because i can get easily overwhelmed by it all and fold into myself, accomplishing nothing.

with his statement of ‘not wanting her to miss out on life,’ i’ve gotten very good over the years at disengaging with life when it feels too overwhelming. i can literally shut it out and it’s not healthy. sometimes i’m like “whoa, where did the day go!?” and sometimes it’s because i’ve been productive or i’m having loads of fun but usually it’s because i’ve zoned out for hours. it’s essentially an unhealthy coping mechanism.

because of the time constraint, she said she wanted to try something out with me that would hopefully create some big, positive changes and i would start seeing results almost immediately. i attempt to be polite and not roll my eyes at the sound of this and focus on the fact that i’m willing to try just about anything.

after we get out to the car, i turned with tears in my eyes and thanked my husband for his unwavering support and continuous love.

then he took me to get a donut because he knows that anything glazed will make me slightly happier.

for richer or for poorer and through donuts and anxiety-or however that saying goes.

the new wifestyle: we are all guilty of sometimes taking the love and support of our partners for granted, thank them and appreciate it.

**if you found this post helpful or know someone who might be able to benefit from this, please feel free to share it.**


  1. Heather Hawkins

    October 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Well said. 🙂

    • chelsea

      October 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      thank you heather 🙂

  2. jennifermckennasays

    October 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I had that thought yesterday. I am so grateful to KNOW my husband will do anything we need to make our marriage work. It’s a fantastic feeling and its far too easy to take that support for granted! Thank you for the reminder!!

    • chelsea

      October 14, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      such a fantastic feeling for sure jennifer! we are lucky ladies and glad i could help with the reminder 🙂

  3. wdenis

    October 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I’m very proud of your relationship! Cindy and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary this week (good start)! So happy to see you guys off to such a great start!

    • chelsea

      October 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      thank you denis! i really appreciate that and we are excited to see where we will be in 25 years (happy anniversary)! i hope it’s marvelous 🙂

  4. Pingback: Chelsea’s Tour Quotes (Part II) | How to Be a Speaker