I remember spending countless family dinners gathered around my grandma’s kitchen table with cousins, aunts and uncles, and my grandma . . . but sometimes my mom was absent. I never understood why anyone would ever choose to stay home to do laundry or nurse a headache over spending time with our hilarious and LOUD family . . . 

Until now.

Mom, I get it. I get you.

For me, anxiety has been a tricky thing because I didn’t even know it was a thing until our son was diagnosed with it last year. Then, all of a sudden, I was flooded with thoughts, emotions, and memories from as early as age five. This behavior, this incessant worrying, these intrusive thoughts, stomach aches, sleepless nights . . . they’d all been my norm since elementary school. How could I have not known I wasn’t normal?

But I’m not. And guess what? Lots of us share these same concerns.

So, I talked to a trusted friend and nurse practitioner, I did my research, and I made (what was a courageous decision for me, at the time) the choice to go on medication. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my health and for my family.

But now, in times of extreme stress (we are planning a two-month trip, buying a vehicle, changing jobs, launching a new online course, and prepping for speaking engagements), it all comes rushing back.

I haven’t slept well in over two weeks. Let me define: I average 20 minutes at a time, in spurts that add up to maybe two hours per night. I have gone back to drinking soda and eating crappy this last week. I haven’t been to the gym in over two months. I. Am. Dying.

Anxiety, you suck.

My kids are so excited to see me when I get home from work but all I want to do is sleep because, well, I haven’t done that in years. They want to play outside and go swimming, but my mind is a tornado of “what ifs” and due dates, pressures and deadlines, and I am just plain missing out.

So, mom, I finally understand because the hours that my husband has our kids at the rec center are maybe the most blissful in my entire day. I try to work, but fall asleep because I’ve had a migraine since last week. That nap . . . ohhhh that nap is glorious! I am able to take that nap, send and respond to work emails, write a post, clean the house, and make dinner all before they get back home. That to-do list would’ve taken three days and a miracle of the Lord to accomplish had the kids been home.

A clean house is comforting. Maybe I’ll sleep better tonight.

Anxiety, you’ve got to stop because a tidy home with sanitized toilets is nice, but enjoying making memories with my two- and six-year-old is something I won’t be able to do for much longer.

Originally published in ADDitude Magazine

Brynn Burger

Mental health advocate, extreme parent, lover of all things outdoors, and sometimes a shell of my former self. Parenting a child with multiple behavior disabilities has become both my prison and my passion. I write so I can breathe. I believe that God called me to share, with violent vulnerability and fluent sarcasm, our testimony to throw a lifeline to other mamas who feel desperate to know they aren't alone. I laugh with my mouth wide open, drink more cream than coffee, and know in my spirit that queso is from the Lord himself. Welcome!