I’ve been having a hard time trying to figure out how to write about the way that I’ve been feeling lately. I wanted to write a fluffy piece about all the things that I am thankful for, but it is not what my heart wants to talk about. I have been suffering lately with anxiety like I never have before. Earlier in the year, I went to my doctor because I thought that maybe I had a very late onset of Post Partum Depression. Little things have started to slowly creep up on me and I have lashed out. I can feel and see me putting the pressure from my own anxiety onto my husband and my kids.
I’ve talked in the past about how easily I get stressed. I find myself yelling a lot. That is why I decided to go to my doctor in the first place. I felt there were times that I didn’t even recognize myself. So what if my daughter spilled some cheerios on the ground? So what if my son wanted some milk while I was in the middle of an important project? So what if my family ran late for a movie? Why are these things making me feel so angry and out of control?
My doctor basically told me that’s life. That there’s a part of depression linked to stress and it’s something I can try to work out on my own. With two kids and a full-time job, I clearly don’t have the time or money for therapy. She stressed that I need to take time for myself. For a short time, her suggestion was working. I was trying to meditate daily – even if that meant just doing the 2 min Fitbit breathing activity. I started walking every day for 30 minutes. I noticed I started to feel better.
Doing these activities didn’t change the stressors. We still have financial issues. But I have found that since I’ve slowly stopped doing those things, my anxiety has been back full force. My poor babies. I’ve asked my husband to call me out when I am reacting irrationally. Or rather when my anxiety is manifesting through anger. It has helped to keep me in check. Many times my kids want to hug me after I yell, it’s almost like they can sense that there’s something else going on.
But sometimes, my mind gets clouded – that’s the only way I can think of to describe it. For example, yesterday, the kids were running around and scream laughing. All the noise jumbled up in my head and I began to feel panicked. So I started to say, “Ok. Calm down! What are you guys doing?!” My husband caught me, and he laughed a little while he looked at me strangely and said, “They’re just playing, love.” It took me by surprise. “What did you say?” Denis repeated himself, “They’re just playing.” Like, duh.
I stopped and focused again. I realized he was right. They were just playing. I smiled and felt so blessed being able to see how much my kids love each other. I hope they love each other for the rest of their lives, through thick and thin. Then I thought about what if he wasn’t there? I probably would have put one in time out. Or if they knocked something down on accident, I would have gotten upset. I’m not sure why I couldn’t see what was happening. I do know this is something that I need to work on. I’ve been working on it, but I really need to stay the course.
The last thing that I want to do is extinguish their spirits. My children are so beautiful. They are smart, funny, creative, and very spirited. Yet, I feel like, with every overreaction, it dampens their spirit just a little. I see it in my daughter. My anxiety is starting to have an affect as her personality is starting to take shape. I already thought that my pregnancy and post-partum anxiety affected my son. In the end, all I want is what’s best for them. The things that I am stressed about, that have heightened my anxiety, are all things that I want so that I can give them the best life.
At this point, all I can do is continue to work on myself. I don’t want to end up being known as the “mean mom” to my kids. When the anxiety kicks in, I’m going to do my best to take a cue from Daniel Tiger and “take a deep breath and count to four” before reacting. It’s not going to be easy. I know a lot of the anxiety is not under my control. But, I’m going to work on it. I have to work on it for myself and for my family.