home from the holidays

I’ve been avoiding writing in this thing and the longer I avoid it the more I don’t want to do it.  Sometimes the words are scary.  Sometimes you have no idea where to begin.  I’ll try though.

Prozac is a wonderful drug.  Recently, I’ve been slack about my medication.  I keep forgetting to take it and when I remember I just think “oh it’s too late, i’ll do it tomorrow.”  Then, I don’t.  The level of Prozac in my body was not at a therapeutic level in the past few weeks and with my upcoming cycle… it was a recipe for disaster.

All I needed was one trigger.  That trigger was my son’s Christmas performance at school.  I was so excited to see him perform but also very nervous.  I saw him as he walked in the sanctuary.  He saw everyone and immediately turned to run away.  The teacher nudged him forward and he saw us and became more at ease.  He stood there with the other children and he performed like he was supposed to… however, anxiety set in.  He started to jump up and down, yell things randomly, sit down when he should have been standing, etc.  It wasn’t highly disruptive… but I was sensitive to it because of everything going on this year.  They had a teacher sitting beside him guarding him like a prisoner.  If he looked in the wrong direction she corrected him.  Side note: I haven’t decided if she just has a naturally mean resting face… or if she just really is mean and grumpy all the time.  I am not a fan of his teachers.  Anyway, with each criticism he seemed to act worse.  It was painful to watch.

Last year, his Christmas performance was a dream.  He did a perfect job.  He was so happy.  I cried… I couldn’t believe how grown up he was… how well he did.  It was magical.  This year, that joy was not there.  He was an anxious mess.  I knew in that moment that what my gut had been telling me all year was right.  He needed out of that school.  The teachers are not supportive.  They’re judgmental and critical.  They aren’t providing a nurturing environment for my baby… they’re stressing him out more.

It took some convincing but my husband is finally in agreement with me.  He saw the performance and knew that we should take my son out of preschool as well.  I am now talking with other preschools to find a place that is more understanding, compassionate and supportive.

In therapy one of the main things I talk about is trying to figure out where the line is… between the crazy stories my OCD and anxiety try to tell me… and what my gut is rationally telling me.  It is very hard to know which to listen to all the time.  When your gut is really telling you something… I think you know that feeling when you feel it.  Others can doubt you… disagree or tell you otherwise… but you know. I’ve known since September that this school was not the right fit.  I’ve known since September that is teacher was not the right teacher for him… (or maybe anyone?) and I’ve tried to talk myself out of this…but I haven’t been able to because it is what it is.  I know now that my gut is telling me to take him out of that school and I’m confident in the decision.

The holidays were especially hard for many reasons.  The performance was disappointing, the kids were sick, I was off my meds, we traveled and we’re exhausted.  We’re feeling better, I’m on my meds and I’m grateful for the newfound confidence in this specific situation.  I hope the New Year brings us some much needed rest, relaxation and clarity.

A Mother’s Love

One of the hardest things about being a parent with anxiety is concealing that anxiety for the benefit of your anxious son.  The past few months have been difficult.  I’ve become obsessed with the possibility that something is wrong with him.  Does he have autism?  Does he have ADHD?  Does he have selective mutism?  Is he just a developing young boy who needs time to adjust and be a kid?  I don’t know.  The not knowing is making me crazy.

Every day that I pick him up from school I have to deal with his teachers telling me that it was another rough day.  He ran from them.  He didn’t engage with other children.  He didn’t listen.  He acted out.  I don’t know what to say to them anymore.  I have no idea what to do.  As much as I hate that they have to deal with his misbehavior… I hate even more that this could be due to anxiety or some other condition and none of us know how to deal with it.  I never want my son to feel anxious.  I don’t want him to act out because he doesn’t know how to express himself. I have such an ache in my heart for him.

Today I put him in his carseat and I kissed his cheeks.  I stared into his beautiful blue eyes and I tried so hard to read them.  I felt myself pleading with him telepathically almost.  I tried to feel what he was feeling.  I wanted to know so badly.  “how was your day love?”  “fine and good.”  Sigh.   I never get a direct answer. I just love him so much.   I want to fix anything and everything for him.

I know he knows something is up.  I’ve tried so hard to get him to talk to other kids.  I’ve scolded him about listening and not touching other children.  I’ve tried so hard to help him… and maybe I’ve done too much.  I know he’s heard me talking about it.  He’s seen me cry.  I know he knows more than we give him credit for.  I feel so guilty.  Each day I struggle with letting my emotions show too much in front of him.  I am desperately trying to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself.  It is so hard.

Why isn’t a mother’s love enough?  It is the strongest emotion I feel.  I feel like it has the strength to fix any problem.  How can it possess so much power yet still not make everything perfect?  No matter what I hope he knows that I love him yesterday, today and forever and ever and ever.  I would do anything for that child.  I will do anything for him.  I don’t want him to suffer… ever.  I’m always here to help him.  I think I’m telling this blog because I don’t know that he understands when I tell him.  I can only hope he does.

If you pray, pray for me and my family.  My head and my heart need the love and support.

 

 

love in all the madness

I haven’t written in a little while because things have been busy and they have stayed busy.  Such is life for a full time mommy of two with a part time job.  In the madness it is very easy  to lose sight of things that matter.  Over the past few days I’ve made myself pay attention.  I’ve appreciated moments here and there with every sense.  I’ve stopped and smelled my baby’s head.  I kissed my 3 year old’s cheek.  I stared into his beautiful blue eyes.  I appreciated every magical detail of my children.  They are gifts from God and I wanted to stop the madness and appreciate them.

Last night I noticed that when I was getting my daughter to sleep I was distracted by my phone.  There was a notification here, a ding there, I had a message… a new email.  I kept escaping the moment to check my phone.  I felt the burden in my chest.  I’ve become so used to being “connected” that I’ve become really disconnected from what is important.  I looked over at my baby and noticed her eyelashes, her two new teeth.  I felt guilt for having valued a phone over a beautiful moment with my child.  I told myself to be mindful.  Be present.  I held her small hand in mine- I examined her fingernails…I rubbed each one of her fingers.  I kissed her hand and I started crying.  The tears caught me by surprise.  I was so overwhelmed with the love I had for her.  She needed me.  She was completely comfortable and safe in my arms.  I am her world.  The realization was intense and wonderful.  It is so important to take time to appreciate these moments.  This is what life is all about.

Moments like this allow me to forgive myself when I haven’t had the greatest day.  When I lose my temper for a moment… or forget 38297 things in a day.  I remember that my children love me.  I remember that I love them and value them above everything.  I feel proud that I have gotten to the point of being able to stop my brain from losing control.  I feel empowered.  I can have control. I have that ability.  I can fully experience the moments gifted to me.  I can fully feel the gratitude.

Today was a very hectic today.  Doctor’s appointments, snack day, getting the kids ready, changing dirty diapers in the back of the car, getting lost on the way to two different places, oversleeping when getting one kid to sleep and then being late to pick up my other kid.  I had several moments throughout the day that I felt crappy about.  I started the blame game.  I told myself I was a horrible mother.  I felt like a bad mom.  Then I remembered that my son and I started his school day with a meditation and a prayer.  For the first time in weeks he got a great report from school.  He listened and he was rewarded with a visit to see daddy at work!  I felt good about sharing my question for mindfulness with my son.  It felt like it was working for both of us.

Tonight at dinner he told my husband that I forgot to take his snack to school and then I had to go home to get it and take it back.  He laughed… I laughed.  We laughed until I cried and he got hiccups.  My daughter caught the laugh and before long we were all laughing together in the middle of the living room floor.  It was magic.  The stress of the day didn’t matter because in that moment everything was okay.

 

Blessing of the hands

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These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever. 
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.  These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. 
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. 
These are the hands that will countless times, wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. 
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. 
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. 
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. 
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a simple touch. 

The Rev. Daniel L. Harris

My friend sent me this poem tonight because she wants it to be read in her wedding.  It is so beautiful and really spoke to me.  Specifically the line “These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.”

I am so blessed to have a husband that wipes the tears from my eyes and helps me wipe the fears from my mind.  I am blessed to have friends that listen to my worries and help me get through the panic.  I have all of these helping hands in my life and I feel tremendously blessed.  I have a wonderful support system and I am forever grateful.