My Battle with Anxiety
Since early adulthood, I have had bouts of depression. A few times I sought help and medication. For me, they were somewhat debilitating in that I struggled to do everyday chores around the house and didn’t have the motivation or desire to simply brush my teeth if I didn’t absolutely have to. But I always managed to hold a job, be moderately social, and eventually could climb my way out into a more “normal” form of existence.
Then my divorce happened. I had been happily married for almost 14 years, when my then husband suddenly said he wanted to separate and “sort things out.” It blindsided me. But I KNEW that everything would work out. He had always professed his love for me, that had not changed. He was just going through a mid-life crisis. He just needed his space. He was a good guy;, he would come to his senses. But, boy oh boy, was I wrong.
Come to find out, there was another woman. Someone he knew from work. I discovered it very quickly yet accidentally when I was going through our phone records. I knew when I called the number and got her voice mail. I immediately morphed into a Nancy Drew of sorts and started searching for her information. I found her address, hopped in the car, and drove straight there. Sure enough, there he was. (He had told me he was staying between a mutual friend’s house and a cousin’s.) I flipped my shit.
That was the first time the anxiety hit me. A wave of complete panic coupled with a feeling of paralysis. I couldn’t breathe, my heart was uncomfortably racing. I needed to somehow jump out of my skin, or I was going to die. That is the best way I can describe it. I wasn’t in a safe place. I knew that, and I immediately called my doctor. Considering the circumstance, he put me on a pretty strong anxiety med. It immediately stopped the attack, and I could get some needed sleep and clear my head. I took it as needed for the few months that followed. I got my footing, pushed through the divorce, and began my new single life.
Fast forward to meeting my new husband and starting the joyous path of parenthood, or so I thought. After having my second child, it started to hit me again. That old friend anxiety. This time, I felt mostly barraged by irritability. I did get panic attacks, mostly at night. It was hard for me to leave the house. But for the most part I was a BITCH. No one could say or do anything right, and I would get so angry over nothing. Like spitting nails angry. I remember one time, my daughter came up to me while I was stirring something on the stove, and she asked me a question. It triggered me. My inside dialogue was something like this, “How dare she? Can’t she see that I’m busy? I seriously cannot do this right now.” Intellectually, I knew this was not normal. So, I would just explain to her that Mommy cannot answer her question right now and she needed to wait until I was finished. There were times where I couldn’t be touched by my kids. Just that in and of itself would send me into a panic attack. How do you explain that to your precious kiddos? You can’t.
My husband saw my struggle, but I was too proud to admit that I needed help. I guess because I thought that I should be innately able to do this mom thing. I was a failure if I couldn’t do it on my own. But I reached a breaking point to where I was just tired. Tired of the guilt I felt every time I jumped down my husband’s or my kid’s throats. I was tired of being mean.
I asked for help. I got help, and with a little time and medication adjustments, I felt like me again. I could ride the waves of life without feeling like I was drowning. There is still some struggle, but it is manageable. It was the best thing I could’ve done for myself and my family.
As moms we simply cannot afford to let pride stand in the way of a healthy and fulfilling life. So, if anyone reading this is battling depression and/or anxiety, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone. You are worth fighting for, and you can win this.