As I lie in bed, there are tears in my eyes. To be honest, I’m not completely sure if they are sad or happy ones. Am I sad for missing part of the afternoon due to a migraine? Or, am I happy that my kids are content playing alone right now? At this point, it doesn’t even matter. One thing I do know is that I am sick and tired of feeling this way.
Sick and tired.
I am a mom who suffers from anxiety. For me, it is not a new thing. I have been struggling since childhood.
On any given day, my worries vary. Sometimes I worry about my children. Sometimes I worry about my health. I also worry about my husband. I can worry about anything, really.
I worry. A lot. That is what I do.
I have experienced the hell of anxiety attacks. The times when I was certain that death was imminent. Typically, after the attack passed, I would feel emotionally and physically drained.
The feeling was quite similar to how I am right now as I lie in bed with tears in my eyes.
This year, I turned 45. Although I refuse to consider myself “old” per se, I definitely don’t have the stamina I once had. There was a time when I was able to “pull through”. I don’t feel that way anymore.
Being that worrying is constant, my brain is forever on overload:
“Am I doing the right thing for my kids?”
“For my husband?”
Unfortunately, I realize I am far from alone. Anxiety, particularly in women, has become a hot topic in recent years. I belong to at least one anxiety group on social media. Our complaints are eerily similar and include exhaustion, migraines, and other miscellaneous physical pain.
We are unwell.
As often as possible, I try and offer my friends much needed support. I encourage them when I can.
Coincidentally, I should be the one taking my own advice. However, as with many of us in the fight, I am my own worst enemy.
Canceled plans are not an anomaly. Often, getting through a day in one piece feels like an accomplishment. Putting on clothes is a chore. The desire to sleep all day is enormous. I feel weak and shamed about struggling so much with everyday things. Embarrassed is another emotion that comes to mind. What would people think of me if they knew the truth?
No doubt, they would deem me indolent and unmotivated.
Or, worst of all, a bad mother.
Sometimes, I feel like shouting from the rooftops:
“I am not lazy—I suffer from anxiety!”
One thing I am learning is to be gentler with myself. Some days are hard. Others are harder. Some days, I can barely muster enough energy to get out of bed. I may not always be able to cross everything off my “to do” list, but at least I got through the day. Tomorrow is another. I realize the importance of moving forward. I refuse to be stuck in the past.
As with any personal demon, healing does not begin overnight. It is a process.
Through it all, I am not losing hope. I focus on the issues at hand. There are some things that I can never control. Such is life.
In finding ways to relax, meditation has worked wonders. So does talk therapy. All in all, the less pressure I put on myself, the better I feel. I quietly acknowledge that if something does not get done today, it will more than likely get down tomorrow. Or even next week.
It is OK.
I also notice the changes in my children’s personality when I am calmer. Tension, or lack thereof, can be quite contagious.
A few nights ago, in the middle of a harried week, I decided to just sit and have a talk with my little boy. We laughed and we played a bit. Although I was happy, I couldn’t help but think of the time wasted worrying about silly things. Moments spent with family are what really mattered.
It was around that time I decided to make a promise, not just to myself, but to my kids as well. I would make a better effort to concentrate on the beauty that was around us instead of the little things causing me unnecessary worry. I gave it another shot, this time with both my kids. We watched a movie together, way past their bedtime.
I had a ton of laundry to do-but that could wait. I lost count on the number of dirty dishes piled in the sink because that could wait too. I didn’t even manage to get them into baths. However, it didn’t matter. Not one bit. For now, it was about my family and me.
And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
You may also like:
Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!