When Anxiety Wins

This is the worst it’s ever been. At least the worst I can remember. I think the last time it was this bad I was self medicating with alcohol. Drunk five or maybe seven nights a week? PERFECT. Ruining many things along the way? Not so great. 

And here I am. Not self medicating with anything but desperately wanting an escape from reality. Screaming obscenities over and over in my head. Thoughts that I can’t even admit to here. I’m done with this bullshit.

I woke up with a cranking headache. It hurt to open my eyes, to look around, to move. I felt it coming on yesterday afternoon. I ended up asleep around 7:00 last night and didn’t get out of bed until 6:30 this morning. Still the headache came.

The day was great. We spent the majority of it with my sister in law and my nieces and nephews. The weather was wonderful. They had lunch with us and went home a little while later. I was exhausted as I have been for over a week and I needed to recharge for a little while once they left. The kids found this to be an opportune moment to splash a ton of water all over the bathroom and then proceed to dump a bucket or two in the living room. I was letting them play in the water since they seemed to desire a recharge as well. But I didn’t fully anticipate the damage that can be done from two kids giving dolls a bath in a bathroom sink.

My anxiety peaked again soon after Paul got home from work. He went to close up our chickens while I got the kids ready for bed. Nobody was cooperating. Waverly freaked out because I guess she requires two different types of toothpaste now and I only had given her one. The horror. Anyway, Gannon was refusing to even walk into the bathroom to brush his teeth. I felt the all too familiar feeling rising in my chest. 

We ready stories. I had zero patience when they wanted to count things or ask questions. I hate myself for rushing through books, especially during a time we should be connecting and building our relationship to be stronger. Paul brought them upstairs and Egan was ready to nurse. He didn’t fall asleep though. He asked to nurse again and almost fell asleep but for some reason woke back up. He wasn’t awake and happy. He was miserable. I tried to hold him to get him to sleep and he wasn’t having it. He was screaming. I had to put him down because I felt panic rising. I walked into the kitchen to get a drink of water and to take a few breaths. He was crying so hard he wasn’t breathing. I went back to him and held him, feeling like the worst mother in the planet. It’s not me, Egan. It’s not who I am. It’s this thing holding me back.

These are the hardest moments for me. Anxiety is no joke. There is no controlling it. For a long time I thought I was failing when I would feel this bubbling in my chest and I couldn’t take ten deep breaths to make it go away like all the articles say. I felt like the frustration was something I should be able to manage. I couldn’t. I felt inadequate as a mother. I still do.

The thing is I have no control. I’m trying to combat it with help. I’m trying to get through this without knowing what is causing it. I’m trying to breathe, to eat right, to get outside and get moving. I’m trying to be better. But the more trying I do the harder I hit when I fall. I don’t want to fall anymore. I want to soar. I know I have it in me to be the person I am on my good days.

I want to be the person I am without anxiety. I want to live in the moment instead of being afraid of missing something. I want to spend time reading bedtime stories how they should be read. I don’t want to be upset with my kids for calling me multiple times in a row because I understand they are kids and this is what they do but their voices on repeat sometimes makes my skin crawl. I want to hold them and listen to them and help them through their big emotions.

How do I help them when I can’t even help me?

How do I show them I love them when all I’m doing is telling them the opposite with my actions of distance?

How many times do I get down to their level, look them in the eye, and say “I’m sorry I’m not being a very good mommy today,” without it becoming the norm?

How many times am I going to go to bed hating myself?

Anxiety is real. Depression is real. I may look like I’m doing so much for my kids on social media. You see posts of kids smiling and happy on Instagram, on Facebook. But the reality behind many of those are a lot of tears, a lot of arguments, and a mom who is trying my best to get the help I need to provide my kids the very best life. They deserve the very best life.

It isn’t always this awful. But when it is? I feel like there is nothing else, there will be nothing else, past or future, but these present feelings. I will get through this.

But all I can think, day in and day out, is at what expense to my children.

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