Megan’s story: loosening the grip of anxiety

Photo of Megan Arthur sitting in a chair

As a child, Megan Arthur worried about things that often didn’t bother her classmates. Fretting over forgetting homework could disrupt the whole day.

“What seemed like small things to others could bring me to tears,” explains Megan, a nurse case manager with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

In middle and high school, Megan participated in activities like cheerleading. But she’d fixate on things that people might not like about her. That led to avoidance techniques like skipping social events and parties.

“I often felt sad and alone, like no one understood,” says Megan. “I thought most people bottled it up and managed it on their own.”

A startling admission

In nursing school several years later, she balanced a full class schedule as a married mom of two young children. That often left her feeling overwhelmed.

A phone call to her father on a particularly challenging day was a turning point.

“I said, ‘The world might be a better place without me,’” Megan remembers.

Her parents pushed her to see a doctor. It was then that Megan finally got the diagnosis of anxiety and was prescribed medication, which helped her manage her symptoms. She also started exercising to relieve stress.

As Megan embarked on her career in ER nursing, she worked to manage her anxiety and eventually went off medication. But following the birth of her third child, she felt depressed and worried constantly.

“I didn’t take care of myself. I worried so much about the baby that I wouldn’t let anyone else watch her. This was so different than after the birth of my other children,” she says.

Megan’s doctor diagnosed post-partum depression. With a new medication prescribed for that, she began to feel and function better.

“There are still days that I feel anxious. But now I have ways to deal positively with it. I’m a happier person.”

Opening up and getting help

Megan joined BlueCross’ case management team in 2019, working with members undergoing transplants. She loves the opportunity to support and guide people through these processes. And she’s grateful for co-workers who support these members and each other.

That support made her comfortable enough to share her feelings of anxiety after close family members experienced health concerns last year. Along with seeing her doctor about her anxiety, Megan took a co-worker’s suggestion about a personalized mental health care program available to BlueCross employees.

With her counselor, she learned to recognize and anticipate things that can trigger her anxiety.

“We talked about managing rather than fixating on things I can’t control,” Megan says.

Megan also uses the program’s app with its toolbox, breathing exercises, and place to journal. And she’s looking into counselors to continue after finishing the eight-weight program.

Megan’s grateful that mental health is talked about more openly now. For others going through similar situations, she encourages using the resources BlueCross offers to employees.

“It can feel like you’re on a roller coaster trying to manage it yourself,” explains Megan. “But reach out. Get help that’s here for you.”

“Anxiety can cause internal distress. Many people manage it for years until an event impacts them and they feel overwhelmed,” says Dr. Judith Overton, a psychiatrist and medical director with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

Dr. Overton offers 4 tips if you struggle with anxiety

  1. Reach out to a counselor.
  2. Get regular exercise.
  3. Consider a support group.
  4. And always be mindful of alcohol consumption while managing a mental health condition to avoid a troubling situation that could result from excessive consumption.

More from Dr. Judith Overton

Marie Mosley

Marie joined the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee corporate communications team in 2012. A Florida native, she has 25 years of experience in public relations, community relations, speech writing and special event planning.

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Filed under: Real Stories


Marie joined the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee corporate communications team in 2012. A Florida native, she has 25 years of experience in public relations, community relations, speech writing and special event planning.