The last two years have been full of ups and downs for our family. We’ve been riding a roller coaster of emotions- the highest of highs and some really dark lows.
I’ve been open about my struggles with PTSD and anxiety- until lately. I was doing great, and when I wasn’t I was ashamed to share it again, thinking that I’d failed. I felt like I was out of the woods, and suddenly here I am, waking up before sunrise every morning, anxiety gripping at my insides, sadness and shame forcing me out of bed to start my day.
I know that anxiety and depression is a lifelong struggle. But like many people who fight it, I forget. I will feel great for a while, think I am cured and get cocky. I’m healed! Self-care be damned! Take on all the things! Lean in!
It’s not true, friends. I’m scared all the time. I feel like one of my worst nightmares happened in my own home and while Ben is doing amazing, I can’t protect him. I’ve gotten so anxious that I’ve turned into a tyrant. I don’t take the boys to the playground for fear of injury. When they kick the ball into the street one too many times I force us all inside because I know that a car will come whipping around the corner, injuring one of my precious babies. I yell. Will tells me I’m mean. I cry. Too often.
I’ve become someone who lives in a box of fear, and that’s no place to be.
So, what’s next? I confessed to Jeff all that is ailing me, and while he doesn’t understand it, he does his best to support me. He listens, he reads up on anxiety and depression (nerd), and he stands beside me. He is a big dumb guy sometimes, but he is also my biggest champion. And he knows that under this shouty woman is a wife and mom who is scared, whose lunacy is rooted in a of love.
I’ve turned to my psychiatrist for help, and I’m on the hunt for a new therapist. I’ve learned over the years that I’m better medicated, so we are working to find the right cocktail of drugs to help me even out, so I can attack the anxiety demons. #xanaxismyfriend
I need to find a way to balance the fear with reality. To know that I can protect my boys, but that I need to allow them to spread their wings. To realize that after darkness, there is dawn- and you must embrace that, not live in fear of the next storm.
And I share. With all of you because we are better together. I’ve hidden behind a mask of fake happiness too many times, and I know so many other mamas who do too. I’m not sure which is scarier- sharing or hiding. But I share because I know I am not alone, and I want to lend my voice to those other friends struggling in silence. Fighting the fight against anxiety is exhausting, but I’m worth it. My boys are worth it. We are ALL worth it.