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“Dear Anxiety: You’re Robbing My Kids of Their Mama”

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.

I remember spending many 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 choose to stay home to do laundry or nurse a headache instead of 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 know it was a thing until our son was diagnosed with it last year. Then, suddenly, I was flooded with thoughts, emotions, and memories from as early as age five. This behavior, this incessant worrying, these intrusive thoughts, stomachaches, 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 to go on medication. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my health and for my family.

[Take This Test: Could You Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder?]

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

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

Anxiety, you’re the worst.

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.

[Get This Free Download: Sample Schedules for Reliable Family Routines]

So, Mom, I finally understand. 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 is glorious! I am able to take a 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.

[Related Resource: Make Mindfulness Work for You]

Updated on December 12, 2019

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