“Just keep swimming.” – Dory, Finding Nemo
How I have dealt with stress and anxiety.
By Sara Gamachu
Do you know what keeps me going these days? My faith, reading books, and my writing. Weeks ago, I got a message that threw me for a loop. I felt like I was thrown into a pit like Joseph. I gave myself time to grieve. I started questioned everything food, people, and especially myself. The tension in my body ripped apart and began showing itself in my personal appearance. It was that bad.
So my young self whispered to me. Let go of this and come find me. You are better than this do not lose yourself.
I was already reading self-help books or anything I could get my hands on. My mom pointed out that the key to my getting better was to know myself that meant going back to my first love, which had been reading. She knew my mind and soul still needed to be fed. To feed my mind I chose books from the classical section that could inspire me to grow from a casualty of bullying to a survivor of life. I began with The Scarlet Letter, which introduced to me to the ultimate shero in Salem, Massachusetts. Next, I traveled to Northern England with Pride & Prejudice. I discovered that love could look past a person’s social class.
To help with my soul I accepted a self-challenge to read the Bible hoping to find my way back to my true self. When I had gotten married, I made a choice that changed my life forever. Being the daughter of a pastor, I grew up wanting to live a healthy and content life. I was not satisfied watching my peers grow up doing social experiences while I lived in the past or even on pause. After years of the single and over protected life, I decided that there was more than one way to live. By then I was stepping into the virtual world via the chat rooms. I figured if it could not live it up in real life than I would go to the next best thing.
Boy was I ever wrong. I began lying to my parents and totally ignoring everything just for that few moments of pleasure. A few months of this, my health began to spiral downward. I was spending so much time online that I did not want to eat, sleep, or do anything else. I gradually lost weight and become oblivious to anything, but my new lifestyle. It was during this time that I opened an account with the social site myyearbook.com. Now remember I had no real dating experience what so ever. I had previously tried the online dating sites that did not pan out.
So I went along with a friend I had made thinking this was just another site. Once again, boy was I ever wrong. I decided that bad boys would just be trouble. I needed something that met my wholesome nature. After narrowing down a few of the suggestions one person caught my eye. He had sent me a “flirt” and we began talking. His picture showed a person who seemed to match what I was looking for in a friend. Not to mention he looked very handsome and average.
I gave it the “don’t judge a book by its cover” evaluation. After a couple months of messaging back and forth, I discovered that he was new in town and wanted to know places to visit. I gave him some landmarks that I thought he would like to visit. Finally, in October he asked me to talk on the phone. Afterwards he had the courage to ask if we could meet in real life. This lead to our first date. My first date ever. It was the beginning of a new chapter of my life.
Without any experience in dating, I went along with everything. He invited me to visit him on the weekends. At first, it was difficult because we were on opposite sides of the Puget Sound. I was determined to make this work so I conquer my fears and went into this relationship headfirst and heart last. This road was a not the traditional dating journey. It went way to fast, but at the time, I figured it was normal.
After dating for 9 months, the decision to meet his parents came up. Being in the military taking time off became a scheduling issue. We made it work though. After I met his family, I should have noticed some warning signs. Like the race card for one. Never in my life did I ever get questioned about my background. A few weeks after this meeting I got the surprise of my life. He proposed to me and within a few, we were married.
I began a life on the fast lane. Within months of getting married, we got our first apartment together. I did not exactly have a lot and he wanted to make sure I was provided for. I heard that phrase several times. I should have known that our life was not normal per say. For one thing, when Valentine’s Day came around he did not shower anything or me with gifts. His theory was everyday was Valentine’s Day so don’t expect anything special. This was the polar opposite of the flowers and gifts he gave me when we were dating.
I remember that holiday feeling awkward and confused. Was this what married life was like? Was this normal? Did I do something wrong? A few weeks later, I noticed that my body began doing some stranger things than normal. For one thing, I did not have my normal monthly visitor. He chalked it up to stress and transition. I wished it were just that. Next thing up was I could not keep food down.
I mean sure I had eating issues, but this was way different from what I was used to. Finally, I was more tired than usual. I chalked that up to my iron deficiency anemia. It sometimes made my hormones go wacky so how could this be any different. I had talked to a friend about it and she convinced me via phone that I should take a pregnancy test. I was like wow do you think?
With her on the phone with me, I walked from our apartment area to the nearest Walmart. Thankfully, it was not too far just crossing some streets lights and a straight line. I than went to the unknown section in a familiar female aisle. “Which one do I pick?” I asked her confused by the boxes. After a little advice I took the one that had the words displayed not the check marks. If I was going to do this, I wanted to be able to understand it.
I made my purchase and headed home nervously. I had not told my mother because I was not sure what to expect. We have discussed my hormones and anemia. So how could this be any different? When I got home, I opened the box and saw there were two tests. I guess I might need a back up just in case.
Remember I have no experience with anything like this so this was a huge moment in my life. After I did the test and waited the time, my future was sealed. Well folks I am glad there are two tests cause according to it I was pregnant. I shakily made three calls. One to my friend who had waited for my call back, one to my mother without knowing what was happening, and finally to another friend who was already pregnant cause I needed advice about what I was about to go through. I was a navy wife about to have a baby. Wow talk about life changing!
What happened next will go into the weird files. He came home and I was still taking in this new information. I shakily told him about my day. I thought he would take the news well. He was upset that I wasted money on a test that may not be accurate. He would not believe it and pretty much dropped the subject irritated. I than set up my first appointment at the military hospital.
I mean we were only married for a few months and had to wait for paperwork to get confirmed before I could see a doctor for anything. So a few days later, I went and saw the doctor. She was very kind and listened to my story about the test and not sure what was happening. We went through the physical and I went to the lab to do a blood test. It was then I realized that pregnancy tests were more accurate via a blood test.
I was told that I would get my results in one to two days. So naturally, I kept my phone on my awaiting the call. I went home and told him about what the doctor said. So the waiting game began. Luckily, a day went by and I got the call. Yes, my anemia was back… and I was pregnant. Oh and because of the argument the other day, I took the backup test because I was very emotional and unsure of everything. It came back positive!
It was a huge moment in my life because I never thought I would have children of my own. It was all very surreal because a year before I would never thought this would be happening to me. Sure, my life had never really been normal so why would this be any different. He did not take the news as expected. I began my speech with yes my anemia was back… and I was pregnant! I could not quite tell what he was thinking. Then he called his mom with the news, “We have a bun in the oven”.
A few weeks later I was scheduled for my first prenatal appointment. The feeling of nervous and excitement filled me. This was a new road I was about to travel in my life journey. I remember picking up the heading to the office to get the paperwork that needed to be filled out. I had a couple days to jot down the information that they needed about both our families. Getting information about my family was easy enough. The hard part was asking him for the information. For me it was a life changing moment.
I tried to find the right time to ask him these basic questions about his family background. He didn’t want to be disturbed after work. So finding the right time became a difficulty. When I did get the courage to ask him I got the feeling that it was so obvious. I ended up leaving things blank and hoping for the best. I mean it wasn’t a huge test right? Boy was I ever wrong. We went to the appointment and I gave the answers I had.
When the nurse asked for more information he got mad because I hadn’t filled out right or didn’t ask him. He didn’t say anything there in the office, but I knew that I had done something seriously wrong. On the way home it was a chilly ride. He refused to talk to me or even acknowledge my presence. When he did it was cold and demining. How could I embarrass him in front of the nurse? I should have asked ahead of time. I remember going to bed and sobbing because I didn’t know what to do.
Soon afterwards he made it clear that I was responsible to get to my appointments unless it was important I was on my own. It was truly my job to do everything correctly and not embarrass him. That was just the start of how I began my stressful position as a first time parent.
I began blogging more to help others who might be going down the roads of life. I have tweeted about my past thinking I shouldn’t stay silent anymore. You are not crazy, just misunderstood. I cringe at the words sunshine and abuse. I am in my late 30s and feel older. I tell myself to step back and take care of myself. Because I know the pain of words and withdrawal of love. My name is Sara and this is just part of my story.