“Today I am reminded of what it is like to be a parent who struggles with anxiety. It started off as a good day where I felt like I could be productive. But then the demands of parenting pulled me in every way until I was stretched beyond bouncing back.
Tears over noises, demands for the right cup, lunches refused, over-tired tantrums… a crying baby.
The house is a mess and all I wanted to do was clean it, because that was my goal, and my brain wouldn’t let me deter from it, so having interruptions made the anxiety bubble inside me. For me, anxiety feels like you’re internally screaming from the top of your lungs for help, but no one can hear you. You go to open your mouth to scream, but nothing comes out.
It’s like a flame burning from your stomach right through to your chest. And when you finally realize you have lost control over the day, the anxiety feels like you’re floating to the surface struggling for air until you can’t float anymore, so you take your last breath and sink to the bottom.
I feel my mind screaming, but wait! Just wait one moment. One more minute.
I don’t want to be touched. Or needed. But I am…
I am exhausted. But I am hyper alert and my thoughts are intense. I feel like I’ve run a marathon and that no one can understand or hear me when I scream for help.
I am reminded of how tiring and how much it takes a toll on my body when I finally sit down. Everything is still spinning in my head. Like running on adrenaline, but feeling so fatigued.
Then when the anxiety wears off, it becomes remorse because I snapped, and I wasn’t patient because I didn’t love them how I woke up thinking I would, because for a brief moment anxiety turned me into a monster, a yelling angry monster. And it hurts my heart.
Parenting with anxiety is exhausting. It is absolutely undoubtedly so exhausting. Today I salute you, all the parents with mental illness who ride on their horses into the battle fields of their minds every day. I hope you make it to the other side and win the fight.
Tomorrow I’ll be better though, it’ll be better, I know… it always is.”
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