“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.
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.
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.