(*Stands up, shaking and sweating…*)

“Hi. My name is Cherisse and I have an anxiety disorder. And I’ve struggled for 7 years.”

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m fed up with hiding, or if my pregnancy hormones are raging or if God is just releasing me…but today – I feel brave. And I want to expose what I’ve been hiding.

Only my family, good friends and my saint of a husband know the struggle that I’ve gone through since 2007. The ups, downs, the panic attacks, the times I’ve convinced myself I was losing my mind and was going to end up in the looney bin and the times where God has saved me.

So for some reason I thought I would be immune to the panic attacks and anxiety during this pregnancy. Maybe its because my last pregnancy went pretty smoothly (besides the morning sickness). Or maybe because with this baby I spent my whole first trimester trying to just keep a cracker and some water down, so I didn’t have time for anxiety.

What ever the case…I’m struggling now. 

For those of you who haven’t dealt with this lovely disorder – anxiety can make you think weird thoughts you’ve never had and you fear the most simple situations. The things that non-anxiety suffers do everyday without thinking twice, is a huge battle for those with anxiety.

Simple things like – social situations, standing in line at the store and even being home alone can freak you out.

When I stand outside of my own body and look in – all my fears are really so dumb and irrational. But when you’re in the throws of a panic attack, they feel as real as the adrenaline pumping through your veins.

But you know what I’ve found to be a HUGE ally when I’m under attack? VULNERABILITY. The ability to just look at someone and say… “I’m having a bad anxiety day” or “Hey, give me a minute – I’m feeling panicky right now.”

When I’m not hiding in my own skin, and not trying to act “normal” in front of people, the fear has no where to plant itself. Some days I honestly want to wear a shirt out in public that says “Ask me about my anxiety disorder!” that way – everything is out in the open and I’m not in public trying to act like I’ve got it all together. My counselor (why yes, I am in counseling) even suggested that next time I feel panicked in a public situation – like standing in line at the store, I look at the person next to me and say “Sometimes I get anxious standing in line.” Ummm talk about a pride buster. Telling a stranger that I’m struggling? That’s some vulnerability at is finest people.

I’m a deep thinker. In fact, if it was possible to earn a degree from deep/over-analytical thinking…I’d have at least 6 Ph.D’s by now. Like my one of my spiritual hero’s Beth Moore says “I can literally think a thought to death.” Some times I ask God why He didn’t just give me a simple, un-complex mind. But that’s not how he wired me…and I’m learning to be okay with that.

So here’s where I am today.  I’m in the throws somewhere between: struggling, scared, hurting, frustrated, tired, confused, messy…and love, acceptance, grace, healing, hope, change, growth and the closest I’ve ever felt to God. 

All I know is that later in life – when someone asks my kids to describe me, I want them to day… “She was always open and honest…and she wasn’t afraid to fully be herself.”

Some people (even my own family) might think this post is too raw or embarrassing. But that’s ok, I’m not writing for them…I’m writing for me. 

There are so many more things I have swirling around in this complicated brain that I want to say. I guess I’ll just have to keep writing and keep exposing more of the darkness…

And hey! If you ever see me out in public and I have a distant, far-off look in my eyes…I’m probably having an anxious moment. But don’t be afraid to ask me about my anxiety. The more light I shed, the more healing for me (and possibly you too?). 🙂





16 comments on “Bringing Darkness to Light
  1. Corie Clark says:

    So good Cherisse! I’m so proud of you. God made you perfect and I’m so thankful to have you in my life. In here for you always as you walk this journey. Xox

  2. Amber says:

    You are not alone! I’ve been dealing with a similar struggle (minus the panic attacks) for the last couple years. The past few months, it has been a tremendous fear that I have lung cancer and am dying. Some days it is a fear that grips me with every breath, some days are much better. Thank you for saying something out loud. I find that asking others for help and prayer is so beneficial. I really like the idea of saying something to the person in line next to you, to break out of the all consuming silent thoughts… The other day, the checker at the grocery store, who helps us all the time, told me how calm and relaxed I seem all the time. Ha! What she doesn’t see is what is going on in my mind most of the time. I opened right up and told her about how I am struggling to stay afloat in the midst of a great amount of anxiety. Hopefully, that was a little way of me lifting the burden from myself as well as showing her that all of us have struggles no matter what we look like on the outside.

    • cherisseredmond@me.com says:

      Wow, that is SO brave to tell your story to the grocery store checker! Isn’t it so funny how people can think we have it all together, when our insides are a completely different story? I’m going to keep you in my prayers, and please feel free to talk to me any time! Thank you for sharing! XOXO

  3. Mandee says:

    I love this post! You are so brave and have said so much more on this one post than most people would reveal in a lifetime. I love getting to know the real you! We ALL struggle…some people are just better at hiding it and I’m so thankful that you are part of our family and that we get to share in your daily life. Keep writing! Xoxo

    • cherisseredmond@me.com says:

      I love you Mandee and I feel SO BLESSED to be a part of your family. I will keep writing! MWA!!

  4. pam redmond says:

    Cherisse I love you beyond words!! You are so amazing and im so proud of who you are and I learn so much from you!! xoxo

  5. Gabiflores says:

    Love you, your a strong amazing person. Always have been. Xoxo

  6. greggredmond says:

    So proud of you Rissee! You my precious daughter are a Hope Carrier for many! Love you, Love you, Love you!!!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing Risse! I have struggled in the past with anxiety too, so can relate to how it feels and know how hard it is to bring darkness to light. One thing that helps me A LOT when I begin to hear all the other voices (fear, negativity, doubt, self-hate, ect.) is to snuff them out by taking every thought captive to the Lord and remembering this verse right here: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8

  8. kayla says:

    Ugh I could read this every day. You’re doing a big, brave, IMPORTANT thing with this blog post. I love you to the moon- you’re a truly beautiful mind and soul!

  9. Robin Flanagan says:

    You are not alone lady! Thank you for sharing your story. You are one strong mama, and someday you will be the MOST amazing esthetician. I know you will connect with people and inspire others as well as make them feel beautiful and confident 😉

    I used to take pride in being a tomboy and not having a lot of girlfriends, now working in an industry of almost all women, coworkers and clients, I realize that I was really missing out. People share stories of struggle with me often. I wish that I had these connections with other women sooner in life. I feel so blessed to be around so many strong women who inspired me every day! Even though you are far, you are one of them.

    Keep sharing your stories Risse! Know that you are strong, beautiful and inspiring others to speak up.

    Robin F.

  10. Audrey says:

    Fantastic post. I relate to every word. Thank you for reaching out to others who suffer the same way, it’ always empowering to know we’re not alone. xoxo

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