I Did Not Realize I Had Depression Once as a Child Until I Got it as an Adult

When I got severe postpartum depression after my daughter was born, I found myself analyzing my entire life wondering how I went from someone who was so happy most of the time, to someone who did not want to live anymore. I eventually came to realize that I had always had OCD and it caused Anxiety and I finally got help for it. I also finally realized that I had depression at one other point in my life and had not even realized it. When I was in middle school, we moved for the third and final time. I had just started 6th grade and was almost 12 years old. We had moved a couple of times before due to my stepdad being promoted. The first time we moved from where I was born in Alabama near Anniston to South Carolina. I was only 6 at the time and had just started school so the move was not devastating to me, and we did not have a lot of money before and now we would have more. I did miss some family though, so when we did get to move back to Alabama two years later I was actually excited about that move, and it meant even more money again, because we were still far from being well off. We would still be two hours away from where we before, closer to Huntsville, but that was better than how far we were now. 

We ended up living in this new place for almost four years and it ended up being my favorite place we ever lived. We moved right around by 8th birthday so I remember my family taking me to Chuckecheese because I did know anyone else yet. We lived in the country on three acres. My mom and stepdad still rented the brick house we lived in, and would not finally own their own home until our next final move. We got a new dog once we had been there about a year that my parents would end up having until she died of old age when I was 23, the year I got married. I will never forget the day we got her. My parents called us all into the living room and we thought we were in trouble, then my stepdad walks in with a little mixed weenie dog puppy from the pound we named Sissy. Sissy was a major part of my childhood and truly a member of the family. She was always following us kids around wanting to be involved in everything we did, and finding her way in to most pictures. I eventually made a best friend who was like a sister. We were always at each other’s houses. She loved my dog too and I loved her cats. We both took baton lessons at the same place outside of school. She got off the bus with us the day of the Blizzard of 1993 hit until her dad could come get her, and we got the closest to making a truly large snowman we ever had as Sissy was hopping through the snow nearby chasing rabbits.

When another move and possible promotion a couple hours away near Birmingham, AL came up not long after that, I was not happy about it this time. The dog even had a hard time with the move, because we went from the country to the suburbs and she went from 3 acres and wandering as she wished and coming back in the house whenever she wanted, to a fenced in back yard when she was not inside. My mom had to start taking her for walks in the morning, and she would often break free if we left a door open too long, but she always came back usually within about 3 hours or less. She also once learned how to jump their small fence until my stepdad found something to put at the top of it to stop her. The move was hard on my mom as well. Where we used to live she would get off at 4pm every day and went to the gym regularly with my stepdad. In the new place, with the same company, they often worked her to death and she would sometimes work until 9pm. Our allergies seemed to get worse and we all got sick more too, and I think it was partially due to living closer to a bigger more polluted city like Birmingham.

Right before we had moved I got a call I had made Silver Belles, which was the highest honor at my baton place. High school girls were in it and I was going to be in 6th grade! My mom had trouble finding a baton place like the old one I went to at first and I never got put back into it. By the time I could try out for majorette in high school, which they would not let you do until 10th grade here, I did not think I was good enough to even try to make it anymore. I think my sister had just made the dance team before we moved, so I know she went through her own similar troubles. My stepbrother was in college by this time, but our move to the country I loved so much, was the move I think was the hardest on him. He was in high school and went from a big city to a country high school, and just did not feel like he fit in, and he had to leave his long time girlfriend. 

I would eventually understand his pain. In this new school district, there were as many people in the high school for 9th to 12th grade as their had been at the entire K-12 school I went before. Yes, every grade was in one school so it was an adjustment to say the least, especially at a time I now realize is hard for most kids that age regardless of moving. My daughter is now 13 and in 8th grade and 6th grade was a rough year for her and most of her peers. Everyone is hormonal and mean and going through so many changes. I felt like there were already cliques here and we did not have those yet at my old school, or maybe we did but I had so many friends I had not noticed them until I had no friends at first. Even though I had always enjoyed school and did well in school, the first couple of years I cried a lot and I missed a lot of school due to migraine headaches. My mom had migraines before and knew how painful they were, so she did everything she could to try and help me. She would miss work, which I felt bad for, to take me to a headache clinic, I had an MRI done and was checked for jaw issues, etc. We never figured out the cause, but the headaches eventually stopped. I now realize it is because over the next two years I would eventually have a good group of friends and was very active playing drums in band and loved it. I also enjoyed high school even more and ended up meeting my future husband there. The fact he had to move here in 7th grade and leave his best friend was probably what bonded us the most. 

Back when we moved, we did not have Facebook and face time, etc., but now we do and I do keep in touch with my childhood best friend. She lives in D.C. now and I have met up with her time both times I visited. Instead of mourning how close we might have still been today had I not moved, I now realize I might not have my husband or daughter if we had not, and moving enabled us to have opportunities we never would have had otherwise and resulted in some generational curses being broken. I truly think I had depression back then now. It was not talked about as much back then so my parents nor I had any idea, but I feel like if the same thing happened to my daughter today, I would realize it and be better able to help her, and I think that means we have made a lot of progress in society, although we still have a ways to go of course.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

As a New Mom, I Constantly Worried My Child Was Going To Die

I have never been what you would call a helicopter mom. Even when my child was pretty young, I would not hover over her at the playground, fearing every boo boo that might come. Even now that she is older, I am one of those moms who would let you fail if you just refuse to do your own homework. This has never been an issue though because she does it, usually without help, but I do help when occasionally needed of course. However, when it came to things that could be life or death, such as swimming, or getting into things once she could crawl and walk, I constantly worried and hovered. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and it causes Anxiety. It got severe postpartum before I finally realized I had always had it and got some help. Medication, therapy and a lot of other things helped. Once she got old enough to not get into everything that helped as well.

Looking back, I would have maybe done more to make me feel better safety wise too. I mean I baby proofed and took certain precautions, but years later I now work in a preschool where the environment is set up for kids to play freely without constant fear of them getting into everything. It is harder to do that with your entire home, but maybe with certain areas at least you can. Also, when it came to swimming, I would have scheduled swim lessons sooner, as early as possible. You can even teach babies. What happened to me though, apparently happens to a lot of people. It is like that overprotective mama bear goes overboard. You take sole responsibility for this new life and think anything that happens to them is now your fault and responsibility, even things that may be out of your control. Of course it is good to be protective of your child, but not to the point that you are in a constant state of panic and anxiety.

Many women have thoughts of something bad happening to their child, and when they have them as often as I did and they become obsessive, you will often hear them called intrusive thoughts. Sometimes, these even turn into thoughts of the mother hurting the child. This did not happen to me, but I will say as I have said many times before, that if a mom admits to having these thoughts and ask for help, she is asking for help because she feels guilty for having these thoughts. She does not have control over them and she does not want to hurt her child. She is being a good mom, doing the right thing, and deserves to get help without judgment or without having her children taken away. I had a friend tell me she once thought about driving into a pole with her child in the car years before when she had postpartum anxiety. She thought for a moment that she would be doing the right thing by taking her daughter with her. I instead wanted to run away at times, or prayed to not wake up, or had thoughts about driving into stuff when alone, thinking my daughter would be better off without me.

It was so conflicting to be such a protective mama bear, scared to have anything happen to a child you love so much, but at the same time feel so overwhelmed being this mama bear, that you just felt like you could not keep going sometimes. It is because no one can keep going in the state I was in, and no one should have to. They need the help I eventually got and wish I had gotten sooner. My daughter is 13 now, and deep down, my worst fear is still something happening to her. I do not think that fear ever goes completely goes away as a parent, so a little fear of that is normal, just like a fear of death in general. As Eleanor on the show the Good Place once said, “All humans are aware of death, so we are a little bit sad all of the time. That’s just the deal.” I think she is right, that is the deal, but I have learned to live with it and to not let it consume me anymore, because that does not have to be part of the deal.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

When You Can’t Always Trust That Gut Feeling, Thanks to Anxiety

We have probably all heard the term “trust your gut”. I have even told a younger person while giving them advice, that if you ever get that gut feeling that tells you this might not end well, to listen to it. Then I realized, maybe this was not the best advice. I mean this had been true for me at times, but so many other times, it was not. Actually, I often had that feeling in my gut, but nothing ever actually went wrong. I spent so many years in fear of having fun because, well, something may go wrong. I often thought of the worst case scenario. Ironically, the times in my life when the worst scenario did happen, I never even saw it coming.

Thanks to this, and thanks to of course finally getting actual help for my Anxiety, I started relaxing and having more fun. When you have Anxiety, your body is often stuck in fight or flight mode. Your body thinks you are still living as a caveman constantly worrying about some wild animal attacking you. However, sometimes this is a good thing. In this blog, when I talk about the kind of anxiety everyone has, I will keep it lowercase. If I capitalize it, I am talking about the other kind of Anxiety. The other kind is when you are anxious all the time, or at least so often that it interferes with your life. It is when you feel anxious for what seems like no reason.

For me, it is when you are just going about your day and it suddenly feels like you are having a heart attack, it truly hurts and scares you. Actually, after it happens enough, it does not scare you as much anymore. You know you will be okay and that it is just a panic attack, but it still scares you a little, because the fact you did not see it coming and the fact that you are already on medication for it, and have been for a long time, means you still do not have complete control over it, and that scares you. It also still hurts and sometimes makes you cry. You also wonder if one day you might have a real heart attack and just think you are having a panic attack.

Even when you have this type of Anxiety, you still have the normal anxiety everyone else has. It is often hard to distinguish the two. When an actual panic attack occurs, it is easier for me to tell the difference of course. I know that I am either having one when there is nothing to be anxious about in the moment, or having a more anxious response than most to something it is normal to feel anxious about. Even when it seems there is nothing to be anxious about, I often think that maybe it is because there are things I have been anxious about, and not dealing with that have built up. I also sometimes get that heart attack feeling in a moment where any other person would be anxious, but most not anxious enough to have a panic attack, so I know the panic attack part is still a symptom of my Anxiety. I saw my stepdad experience this when he once had a stroke and he kept losing feeling in half of his body in the hospital. Every time, he got anxious, worrying it might be permanent, like any person probably would, but his kind of anxious, was the capital A kind and he had panic attacks. Luckily, it eventually quit happening and was not permanent.

There are other times, where I feel anxious in a moment where anyone would feel anxious, and react the same way most people would react, yet I still question if that is what is happening. I have explained this all to my daughter, because she seems like she might have the capital letter kind like me. I was hoping she would not, but at least she will know earlier than me to not always fear your gut, and maybe she will get help and relax and have more fun earlier than I did.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Teaching Your Children not to Ignore Their Mental or Physical Health

When my daughter was a toddler, like many, we used to joke it often sounded like she was speaking a different language. She talked early and often, but at times only my husband and I could understand her. As she got even older, and we were still sometimes the only ones that could understand everything she said, some started suggesting something might be wrong. Maybe it was because I was still recovering from severe postpartum depression at this point, but that bothered me so much at first. I don’t know if I felt it was my fault or I thought it somehow made me a bad mother, but it made me defensive at first. My husband and I also did not have any speech issues that I knew of when younger, but some of our family did. Eventually I gave in, got her the help she needed, which turned out to just be speech therapy, and we saw almost instant improvement. This therapy continued for a bit and helped make sure she was ready for Kindergarten.

However, in second grade, one of her teachers, who we still call the best teacher she has had even years later, noticed something with her speech that most probably wouldn’t. She only noticed because her daughter had the same issue. This time, I had no guilt, and did not hesitate to accept the free speech therapy offered by the school, (well, not really free, but paid with our tax dollars, but still, we had to pay the first time, so this was nice). My daughter continued this therapy off and on through the years until recently, and it has helped her tremendously. There are other children I have known, who are now adults with a stutter, because they never got the help they needed, whether it was because the parents felt guilt or shame, or did not want their children to, or for other reasons, I do not know.

I often try to imagine if my daughter had turned out to have a more serious issue, and how I would have handled that. Looking back of course, it seems silly for me to have been so defensive about my child possibly needing speech therapy, when others have much more serious issues. Maybe one of my fears was finding out it was a more serious issue, or it was my daughter experience shaming for having it, like she wouldn’t if we tried to ignore and it and did not get help for it. Of course I felt a little guilty in retrospect, but I have learned it is important to not harp on guilt. As I recovered from my postpartum depression for instance, I also noticed positive changes in my daughter. This made me realize something I already feared, which is yes, I think our children do pick up on our depression, and the hard part is to stop dwelling on the guilt, and to work on getting better for them, and for you. My daughter does not even remember any of it now, but she does know about it, we do talk about it in case she ever goes through the same. She is now my biggest fan and encourager!

Even though her speech issues are resolved for now, she still shows signs of anxiety like me. Because of this, she often talks too fast for others to follow, especially when she gets excited. Of course, I think a lot of people, or maybe even everyone, does this to some extent when excited. I am the same way, because, even on medication, my mind is often full and I try to get it all out before I forget at times. This made some worry she still had speech issues at first, but the speech professionals agreed that was just fast talking, possibly from anxiety and possibly just from normal excitement. My daughter may have speech issues again later in middle school, or in high school, and if she does, I would again not hesitate to get her the help she needs. She also does not feel any shame, and realizes it is to help her. She is proud of how far she has come, and wants to maintain her progress, so I hope if she has any speech issues, anxiety issues, or anything else as an adult, or if she has children with them, that she does not hesitate to seek more help.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

The Worst Day of My Life Was my First Day Towards Recovery

The worst day of my life was when my husband left me. We were both twenty-eight years old. I am now about to turn thirty-eight in less than a month. We were high school sweethearts. Our daughter was two years old. The day he left also happened to be the same day he had asked me out twelve years before. We were both sixteen years old. I remember the day Jay left in bits and pieces, like most things then. He probably remembers things differently than I do. I remember being up with Aubrie because, as usual, she would not sleep. I think I had to be up for work in about four hours. I could not wait for Jay to get home to offer me some relief.  He was closing that night. I would often get excited at the sound of the garage door opening. That night, Jay texted me that he was going to Waffle House with some coworkers before he came home. This upset me and that upset him. I am pretty sure at this point he said he could not take it anymore and that he was leaving.

When Jay left, he did not take Aubrie with him, even though I was a mess. That was the moment I realized he still expected me to be her main caregiver. I just wanted him around more, and now he was leaving for good. I was angry that I was going to have to raise Aubrie as a single mother. I wanted to run away to the beach the day he left, and I thought about it. I knew Jay believed I would not do it. I wanted to prove him wrong.  I wanted to make him, and everyone else worry. I could not go through with it. Even in this state, I thought too much about the consequences. I was so tired of thinking about the consequences. I think I even drove down the street at one point, and came back before I left the neighborhood.

The worst day of my life was also my first day towards recovery.  It was the first time I acted in a way that finally made me, and everyone else around me, realize that something was wrong with me. I would later realize that I had always had #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder and #Anxiety, and that both got severe after losing my father, having a baby, losing my grandfather and then losing my job. I also got so depressed I did not want to live anymore. I decided to stay with my parents and get some help. I went to the doctor and to therapy. I only missed one day of work. At the time, I worked in a retirement community, and we had a therapy dog. She must have sensed the pain I was in. She came into my office and put her head in my lap a lot that week.

After a year and a half of being on and off again, my husband and I eventually worked things out. Over the years it has made my marriage stronger, and I finally got help for my #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder and #Anxiety. I no longer try to just power through both without help. I have also shared my story to help others, because the one thing I wish I had known was that I was not the only one thinking these thoughts and going through this. My experience changed me so much. I have always had an open mind and will continue to, but I eventually realized what my own beliefs were as opposed to what I was raised to believe. I truly found myself, and became more comfortable being myself and sharing my true feelings without shame. I kept trying to get back to the same person I was before, but that was not possible. I was different, but I finally realized that was not a bad thing. If I ever went through the same thing again, I would be more prepared. I was stronger. Even if I never went through the same again, I know I will go through hard times. That is just a part of life. Now I feel better prepared for this though.

People say time heals, and it does, but you are forever scarred. Most of the time, it is hard for me to remember feeling as badly as I did. Occasionally, something, often a song will remind me, and I will remember that pain just for a moment. If Jay had never left, I think I would have gotten better without getting as bad as I did and without needing as much help as I did.  However, I might have not gotten the help I needed for my general #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder and #Anxiety like I did. Also, like a lot of other women, I am not sure I would have ever completely realized I had #postpartum #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder/#Anxiety/#Depression. After sharing my story, I have had many women tell me they think they had it long ago without even realizing it. I think I was starting to get better right before Jay left. I was starting to realize something was wrong. I recently saw a quote that said, “Even though your wounds are not your fault, your healing is still your responsibility.” This took me a long time to realize. Most of the time you don’t get rescued. Even if someone tries to, they often fail, despite their best efforts. You must want to get better yourself. You must fight and save yourself most of the time.

I never thought I would relate to people who did not want to live anymore. I used to get angry at people who died by suicide. Like a lot of people, I thought it was selfish. I now know that the people who get to that point do not mean to be selfish at all. I have more sympathy and less judgment. They don’t realize they are just passing the pain onto others who love them. They truly believe you will be better off without them. They are suffering so badly, and just want to make it stop. There are better ways to make it stop.  I never tried to kill myself or planned it out, but I did want to die at times. I am not sure if there had not been a pill in front of me that I could have easily taken at certain points, that I would not have. I am glad I did not. Life is better than ever for me now, and I hope to make others realize it can be for them too.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Those Closest To You Won’t Always Be Your Biggest Supporters

When I first started writing a book about my experience with Postpartum Depression, OCD and Anxiety, of course I was worried my daughter might one day think I did not want her, or that she was somehow to blame for how I felt or what I went through. I needed to tell her my story regardless, even if I never told the world, because I did not want her to go through the same thing.  Who knew she would end up being my biggest fan and supporter. She is only 12 now, some might think this will change one day. I do not think so though. I have been as honest with her as I could as she has grown older. I know she still does not completely understand and will more with age, but she is gifted and I think she understands a lot more than some adults. She thinks the thought of me having a book on Amazon is awesome and so do her friends. Yes, she has read my book. Yes, I discussed everything in it with her first. She understands that I love her like crazy, she was very planned, and that what I went through had nothing to do with her and was not her fault.

When I wrote my book, I thought my husband and family and friends would be my biggest fans. I thought they would all buy copies, share all my posts, give me nothing but encouraging words, etc. I thought they would help me sell enough copies to make some money to actually get the book professionally edited and to advertise etc. In reality, this was the case with some, but I ended up giving a lot of free copies away, so many I did not lose money, but broke even. I received some praise but I heard a lot more criticism. Of course, this is something you should be prepared for when writing a book, but I was not ready. I think I was still healing and that is why for the time being, I unpublished the book, and did not try to republish it again for years.  Now that I am republishing, I have almost 1k Facebook friends, but less than 300 likes on my Facebook page and I believe over half of those are strangers. I believe most of my Twitter followers and blog followers are strangers.

My daughter and a friend were the ones who got me wanting to give it another try.  When I told a friend I did not know when I first wrote my book about it, she asked why did I have it unpublished if it could be published and I could be making money on it?  Also my daughter asked why I did not have it published anymore and I did not want to tell her I just gave up because it was hard, so I gave it another go. I am so glad I did and she has been my biggest cheerleader and encourager by far! Of course the big dream is to become a best seller, but the more realistic one is to make some money doing something I love while helping others. The worst case scenario is I don’t make money but fulfill my childhood dream and still feel like I helped people and I will still feel accomplished. Writing is like acting. A lot of actors start as waitresses. You have to have another real job at first because you don’t make any money at first. Only those that make it huge make tons of money, but many do make enough to make it a living, others make enough to make some good extra money.

It is really important to me now that I tell my story in a way that my husband is okay with. He will be reading my final professional edit this weekend and hopefully approving it. When I first wrote the book, instead of just thinking of my target audience as being women going through the same, I also thought of my audience as those around me who missed the signs liked my husband. I eventually gave this up. I mean don’t get me wrong, I still hope and want everyone to read my book and blogs, even those who have not been through this or are not going through this, for one, in case they ever do, or because it is very likely that someone they know will, is or already has.

However, the way I got better was because I finally quit waiting for others to understand, or rescue me. Not saying I did not have any help or support, but even those closest to me did not understand what I was going through in the way others going through it did or I did. I had to do a lot of things that made me uncomfortable to get better including medication and therapy. Some family have never even acknowledged I had a postpartum mood disorder. If I ever discuss it they do not say anything, they either ignore it or change the subject. I feel like they hate me telling my story publicly, while at the same time not being embarrassed to post their extreme political beliefs on Twitter, and yes I do think this has a lot to do with why I suffered so long in the first place or suffered at all. “One stranger  who understands your experience exactly will do for you what hundreds of close friends and family who don’t understand cannot. It is the cool glass of water in hell.” This quote from Laura McKowen in We Are The Luckiest” is why I wrote my book and why I blog and share my story.

Do not get me wrong, I have had many friends and family members, probably reading this right now, who have been so supportive, some that have been through what I have and some that have not, but honestly it has mainly been my daughter and complete strangers keeping me going-hundreds of strangers who have told me I have changed their life, or given them hope and made them realize they are not alone and that they will be OK. My husband and I were at a concert for his favorite band recently and he was talking about how amazing it must be to have a whole stadium singing and relating to the lyrics you wrote. I told him that is how I feel when someone loves my book or my blogs, or writes a comment, or sends a private message about how much they relate or it changed their life. I think he is finally starting to get that.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

When You Have An Panic Attack for What Feels Like No Reason

Since getting on medication long term, I stopped having panic attacks. Eventually I got a new boss, that actually caused a coworker of mine who had never had them before to have them, so I had them again. They stopped again when I left that job. I had not had one in at least over 6 months until I had one recently, and I still have no idea what caused it. I have been surprisingly calm during the current COVID-19 pandemic. I am one of the luckier ones. My husband is still working. He is a restaurant manager and they are doing curbside orders. They closed the preschool I work at for a while, but are paying us for most of the time we are out.  We are also expecting a $2,900 stimulus from the government. I have also been babysitting for essential employees during this time, so I am actually making more money than before the pandemic. The people I babysit for have a pool, which is great since our neighborhood one might not open this year.

I actually used some of our extra money to have my book professionally edited. It should be done in a couple of weeks! Before I started babysitting, I had some extra time at home to catch up on all my shows, and to get some blogging and work done on my book. The day I had the panic attack was at the end of a somewhat rough day. It was one of my first days babysitting. I was just finding out that one of the children had special needs I was unaware of. This was making homeschooling both of them very challenging. Since then, I have gotten to know the children better, and things are still challenging at times, but much easier. I did not think babysitting stressed me out that much that day. Maybe it did though, or maybe it was a combination of that and the pandemic.

Although I have mainly looked at the bright side of things, I do miss my work children and coworkers so much! I also miss going to my favorite restaurants and the movies. I feel like maybe my medicine has made me feel so calm that I do not even realize when I am anxious anymore, but I still am sometimes. I instantly knew I was having a panic attack when it happened because of having them before. It was not like the first time I had one, or the first few where I thought there might be something wrong with my heart. Despite knowing what it was, it still hurt and still scared and surprised me, and I cried. My chest hurt so bad, but I quickly tried to lie down and do some breathing I know helps, to calm down and stop it. I was able to stop it pretty quickly and was fine.

If you don’t know what a panic attack feels like, for me personally, it usually feels like my heart might beat out of chest and I have trouble breathing. I feel like I might pass out if I do not lie down. There are many times I had them that made sense. Once I was on a scary ride, another time I had to see my husband for the first time after we separated off and on for a little while many years ago. Other times, I have been working out and started to have one. This was so strange to me because working out usually relaxes me. I think maybe sometimes you have them when your body slows down enough to finally panic. I think the same thing happened the day I got home from babysitting and finally relaxed, and it just totally caught me off guard. I have not had one since, so unless they become frequent again, I don’t plan any extra visits to the doctor or changes in my medication or career anytime soon.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

I Think MY OCD and Anxiety Medication gave me cavities!

Getting on medication for my OCD, and the Anxiety it caused, was very hard for me, even when not getting help for it had also caused me to get severely depressed. I believed in all the myths about getting on medication at first. The truth is medication does not work for everyone. Some people need other treatments and some need medicine along with other treatments. You also often have to try many different kinds and dosages to see what might work for you, and even once you find what does, you may have to change it again later if it seems no longer as effective. You must also wean on and off your medicine properly and take it exactly as instructed. I have always taken it as diligently as I used to take birth control.

Even once I finally got on medication, I came off of it too early. I eventually got back on and was finally doing well. I accepted that I might even need medicine for the rest of my life and I now see my doctor at least once a year. This realization is not easy as just taking some pill everyday and reaping the benefits. There are side effects. I had no cavities in my adult teeth. I had one in a baby tooth I lost. In the last few years I believe I have had 4 to 5 cavities. I did not understand why until someone at my dentist asked if I was on any new medication the last few years.

Sure enough, when I looked up the side effects of the OCD medication I was on, dry mouth was a symptom. I knew I had this because at night I would wake up with my mouth feeling so dry even if I kept water by the bed, or tried other things to battle it.  When this happens at night, it can cause cavities. Since figuring this out, I have tried many things to battle the dry mouth, because even if the medicine is 100 percent responsible for the cavities, which I am not even sure of, the benefits of the medicine outweigh the cavity risks.

Cavities are not the only side effect I have experienced.  Even though I am normally diligent about taking my medicine, I am human, and there are times I have forgotten to take it. This has actually affected the way I feel and act and that is a scary thing. So scary that last time it happened I cried, because I realized I will probably have to deal with this my entire life and always have.   Not feeling in control of my actions, feelings, is so frustrating and scary to me, which is why I try to so hard to treat my OCD properly.   I have watched others I know never get help, and have watched them, and those around them, suffer needlessly for it.

The main time in my life that I did not have my illness under control, my marriage almost ended, long time friendships I had ended and I had trouble bonding with my daughter at first. Most of the damage caused was fixed once I got help, but not all of it. I still miss those friends, but some people just don’t accept mental illness as an excuse, even if you did not even realize you had it, or that is why you were doing the things you did, and as soon as you did realize, you eventually did everything you could to get better, even things that made you uncomfortable.

For those of you considering taking medicine, but it makes you uncomfortable, if you give it a chance, just please try to give it a real chance. There may be side effects you don’t like, there may be kinds that don’t work for you, and if you do not follow the instructions your doctor gives you closely, the medicine might make you get worse instead of better, even if temporarily. The reason I think I eventually got back on medication is that once I realized I did not have to fight this on my own anymore, as I had for so long without even realizing it, it was hard to go back to my old ways. I liked my new ways a lot better.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.