Let’s talk about the hard stuff…
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In the past, I suffered from anxiety — horrible, debilitating anxiety. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. In 2008, my brother was in a tragic accident and I woke up to a horrible phone call that changed my life. I believe that I have always had anxiety, but this heartbreaking event triggered it.
After my brother died, I could have sunk into a deep depression — but I didn’t. I was proactive with my emotions: I went to a grief counselor and started exercising regularly. My family started a scholarship in my brother’s name and the Steven N. Sprague Memorial Run. Despite all of the positive changes, but life was irrevocably different.
After becoming a mom, my anxiety got worse. Everything was terrifying. The worrying was constant. I was scared to “love” and lose. I loved my daughter, but was terrified something would happen to her.
To add, there was also this expectation of being a “perfect” mother. Constant judgment from strangers — and let’s not talk about social media…
I had my second daughter and I didn’t seem to struggle as much. But after the birth of my third daughter in November 2015, I struggled immensely with anxiety and depression. I didn’t want to leave my house. I had anxiety over everything — driving, going for a run, even going to the store. Feeling this way eventually let me depression. I was embarrassed to tell anyone how I was feeling, even my husband. My life was essentially “perfect”. I had three beautiful daughters, a husband who adored me, a supportive family, and loving friends. Why was I feeling like this?
No matter what I did, I couldn’t snap out of it.
When I started weaning Piper, my anxiety got worse — imagine that? I was miserable and scared. I hated how I was feeling —
Why couldn’t I just be “happy”?
Why couldn’t I make the worry “go away”?
I felt like I would lose everyone in my life if I didn’t act like “everything was perfect” or that I was happy all the time. I over-analyzed everything (I still do, but in a healthy way).
After patience and a lot of time, I realized my anxiety does not make me weak and it does not define me.
If you are suffering, do not be afraid to talk about it. Find people you can trust to talk about how you feel and be proactive in managing your struggles. Realize that if somebody can’t love you during the good, the bad, the ugly, and sometimes the REALLY ugly, than it might be time to find some new people.
My life is beautiful. And some days, it’s a wonderful mess — but it won’t be forever…