that one memory

Does anyone else have that one memory… that one moment that is the epitome of being “carefree?”   I have it.  When I’m stressed, scared, anxious, needing an escape… I go to it.  I long for it.  My mind flashes back to it without warning and without a second thought.

I’m 18.  My friend Rachel comes to pick me up in her burgundy car.  It is messy and smells like incense.  There are half empty water bottles, she has attempted to clean the windshield with vinegar and newspaper.   There are lighters, old papers, handmade sewn creations, etc.  She lights the incense and has a mixed CD playing.  Phish, String cheese incident,  Jimi Hendrix, etc.  We drive out of town with no destination.  The windows are down, the weather is perfect.  My hair is in my face and I don’t care.  Nothing really matters.  We smoke cigarettes and we just drive.  We are driving nowhere and that is okay.

This memory is vivid because it is one of the few times in my life that I’ve felt carefree.  I got lost in the music, the freedom of having no destination, the moment.  I was 18.  Life was very simple.

Sometimes, I long for simplicity in a very chaotic world.

I love you, I need you.

1935554_671845579133_4416327_n
(me + my mom in 1987)

Tonight, I called my mom.  I told her that I needed her.  I do need her.  I’m 31 years old and I need my mother so much it hurts.  I call her and tell her that my son needs to see her… that he misses her.  I try to get her to come up here and help me with the kids.  Really,  I just need her to hold me.

I grew up in a house that wasn’t very affectionate.  We didn’t hug very much.  We said I love you but it was a quick “okay, love you, talk to you later.”  My mom kind of has a thing about physical affection.  I don’t know that she grew up in a very affectionate household.  We’re kind of weird about feelings at home.  We don’t really express ourselves well unless we’re angry.  Healthy right?  For me to tell my mother the words tonight… “I need you…I need you… I NEED YOU…” is huge.  I am 31 and I need my mother because I am hurting.

My son was recently given an individual education plan (IEP) because he has “developmental delays.”  We’re fairly certain it is autism but for whatever reason I couldn’t hear those words right now.  It is HARD for me to KNOW that my son has something that they don’t know much about.  They don’t know what causes it.  They don’t know exactly what to do about it… I mean, sure, there are ideas– but the spectrum is so large.  There are so many unknowns.  I am not good at unknowns.  If they can’t find a reason for it– the reason is me.  That is what I tell myself from sun up to sun down.  I should have breastfed longer, I shouldn’t have eaten processed food, I shouldn’t have been so stressed, I shouldn’t have gotten the epidural, I should have staggered vaccinations, etc.   Sometimes I tell myself the worst one of all.  I shouldn’t have been selfish. 

After my husband and I got married I took red lipstick and wrote my bathroom mirror, “Don’t have children.  Don’t be selfish.  They will grow up like you.  You can’t do that to someone else.”  I looked at this every morning and I sobbed.  I wanted children so badly but I couldn’t live with them having the brain that I have.  Within a few months of writing this message, I was pregnant.  It was unplanned and unexpected.

Holding that 8 lb 6 oz baby boy was indescribable.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been more happy in my entire life.  He was beautiful.  He IS beautiful.  He had perfect eyes, so alert.  He nursed perfectly… his toes were big and beautiful.  Perfection.  He was my whole world.  He is my world.

The past year has been hard.  He’s been through so many adjustments.  We have a another little one and he has had to share his attention.  He had to deal with a truly awful preschool that punished him for his anxiety and insecurities.  He stims a lot.  He repeats questions.  He anxiously talks about irrelevant things.  He can’t talk to kids.  Sometimes toilets and vacuums scare him.  There are a lot of things that are hard for him.  BUT… he talks to me.  He loves me.  He kisses me.  He hugs me.  He laughs.  He makes jokes.  He hugs his sister and loves his sister.  He lights up when he sees her.  My children embrace each other the minute one realizes the other is awake.   They squeal with excitement.  How blessed am I to have two LOVING children?

The idea of autism is overwhelming.  I am overwhelmed.  I have obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, generalized anxiety and depression.  I have sensory issues and quirks.  I am TRYING to be an example for my fearful son but I am struggling.  Struggling to me… is failing.  I need my mom.  I need my mom to hold me and tell me that I’m doing an okay job.  I need her to hold my baby and comfort him in a way that only she can.  She may not have always been the greatest at it with me but she has ALWAYS been wonderful with my son.  He trusts her and he loves her.  They have a special bond.  A bond I am grateful for… especially when I feel inadequate.

I don’t know what I’m saying in this blog except for that I am feeling lost at the moment.  I am feeling stressed, scared, overwhelmed and sorry for myself a little bit.  I hope I can find the strength and energy to really help myself so I can continue to help my son.  Sometimes the fight seems to large and I feel too small.  I pray for strength.

Just a few things…

Hello loves.  It probably seems that I have abandoned this blog in 2017 but I haven’t!  Much like 2016, 2017 has been a whirlwind of crazy.  Life seems to fly by so fast.  The days are long and entirely too short all at the same time.  It is bizarre how that happens.

Currently we are dealing with strep in our house, allergic reactions to medication, etc.  As you all know these are sensitive areas for me.  I am trying hard to remain balanced and calm, but it is difficult.  I have had a few meltdowns that I’m not proud of but sometimes it is impossible to be composed.  I pray that the sickness stays away and the warm weather returns with health and happiness.

In other news, I started a new blog.  I have grown to love blogging so much.  This blog is my baby and I share such personal aspects of my life here.  I feel comforted in the blogging community.  You all comment, pray, share your stories and your support and it is really amazing.  Blogging has been such a healing process for me in the past year, more than I ever thought it could be.

I will still update The Glimmer because it is my release.  I can bring my fears, concerns, love, passion, worries, etc here and know that I have followers that read my stories and can relate or can sympathize.  I can get the feelings out of me and make sense of them.  This blog has helped me figure myself out as much as anything has this year.

My new blog is less personal and more “mommy blog.” Ha!  I figured that I could put my OCD to good use.  I can advise other moms on the best thermometers (as I own ALL of them and compare them constantly), diaper rash creams (yep, have tried all of those too.), or share my postpartum hair loss experience.  I can show you how to make an amazing pineapple costume, take a fun father’s day photo shoot, or throw a pretty epic dino party.  I am excited to have a blog that is a little more light hearted and shows a different side of me.  The side that creates with my kids, has fun ideas, and lives in the present.

My new blog is called “Mommy is Exhausted” –which is quite fitting.  Mommy IS exhausted. 24/7.  Check it out if you get a chance.  Share with your mommy friends.  I have lots of ideas for the blog and very little time so I hope to keep it up as much as possible.  🙂

And again, thanks for reading everyone!  I will be back soon with a real update!  So much has happened the past few weeks.

love.

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.

 

 

Finding answers in the guilt

I haven’t written in a while and it is because I never have the time.  When I was a kid it felt like the days were so long.  I was bored all the time.  I wanted to grow up and I wanted to start my life.  I wanted to drive and have a job and a family of my own.  I wanted everything I didn’t have.  I’m 30 now and I’ve found that I do the same things that I did when I was that little kid.  I want everything I don’t have.  I long for a simpler time.  The days are long but for a different reason.  I am exhausted.

Without going into too much detail, I am at my parent’s house for the second week in a row.  My mental issues are spinning out of control a bit and I have determined that  I should probably be at home with my parents and my kids.  If I panic, I can go to another room and know that my kids will be taken care of.  I am doing this for my children, but at the same time I know that I am hurting my husband.  He misses us.  He misses his babies.  He understands, but I still feel the guilt.  My little boy asked to go back to his house today and I knew that  I just couldn’t go yet.  I can’t explain it to him… so I try to find fun activities for him.  I try to shield him from this as much as possible.

I think that is what parenting with anxiety is.  When your little ones are hurting and its because of things that they don’t understand, you take every bit of yourself (whats left after anxiety has beat you up) and you give it to them.  You try to make every single day the best day you can for them.  Maybe one day they’ll understand.  Maybe one day my little boy will ask me why we spent so much time at his grandparent’s house.  I will tell him the truth.  I will also try to stop beating myself up about this.  I am sick and I can’t help it.  I am trying to get better, but in the meantime I am trying to protect my babies from seeing how bad it can get.  Something I wish had been done for me.

 

 

 

 

The parenting side of things

I shared this blog with a friend and she gave me some constructive criticism.  I was happy to get it.  She told me that I should include how I cope with anxiety and OCD while parenting and what strategies I could share.   I thought about this for a second and realized that I’d been pretty self absorbed in the blog so far… talking about how I think and feel everyday without including much about how it effects my family or how I deal with it in regard to my family.

So here it is… this is my strategy.  I don’t really have one.  Here is my answer:  I don’t have one of those either.  This is how I do it:  I’m not sure.  I really don’t know a damn thing about parenting with OCD and anxiety…I just know how to get through each day.  I don’t know that I’m not doing irreversible damage to them.  I don’t know that I’m not projecting every crazy thought onto them.  I don’t know that I haven’t passed down these genes to them. I only know that I have  a lot of guilt when it comes to this, but I also have goals.

My parents raised me well.  They instilled values into me …they were as loving as they could be.  They fed me, clothed me, gave me my own room with lots of toys and helped with school work.  They gave me rides… and put me in piano lessons and dance lessons.  They are good parents.  With that being said, they battled their own demons.  I’ll dive into this a little more later, when I’ve got more time and feel like I can handle it emotionally.  Long story short, my parents had nervous breakdowns- within months of each other.  I was about 12 or 13 when it happened.  I have never told them how I felt during that time.  They have never asked.  I have talked about it for over 10 years in therapy.  I am STILL figuring it out.  I am still dealing with it.  They couldn’t help it, but I still suffered.  They suffered and in turn, I suffered.  I think they knew I was suffering but it was easier to not recognize it.  It was easier to turn a blind eye and afterall, they had so much on their plate.  I never understood that until I had my own kids and have had to parent and cope at the same time.   You have to do both when you have these issues.  You have to do both when you feel like you can’t even take care of yourself.  You have to find the balance.  Everyday is about finding the balance between coping with things and parenting your children… and its extremely hard.

So now that Jack is 3 and absorbing EVERYTHING at a rapid rate… I am having to watch myself a bit more.   I am finding that trying so hard to shield him is making it worse.  I am more anxious, more upset, more guilty.  God, the guilt.  The guilt wrecks me.  It physically hurts me. I very well may have passed these genes down to them.  It is a very REAL possibility.  Sometimes the day is too long and I am too weak and things get to me and it shows.  I can see my actions and reactions impacting him.  It hurts so much.  I never ever want to hurt my children.  I never want them to feel like this.

With that being said, I am 30 years old.  At 30 years old I am going to try the hardest I’ve ever tried in my life to get my OCD and anxiety under control.  I am going to fight it for myself and more importantly, for my kids.  I am going to give them a fighting chance at dealing with this.  I am in weekly therapy sessions and have agreed to take my medications.  I am in regular contact with a psychiatrist and don’t see this changing.  I have started meditating and hopefully can get back into exercising soon.  I am going to try everything I can to make myself a better person, and in turn be a better mother.  I am doing it for myself and for them.  Even when it feels like too much, I never forget how precious my children are.  They are everything to me.  I want to be well for them.  I want to be a mother that they think is loving and caring and present.  I want to experience life with them instead of just passing through each day while life happens to us.  I have a goal and I have to make it.  For them.

 

 

Parenting with anxiety

I tucked my 2.5 year old into bed last night, I softly sung the words of rock and bye baby to him while cuddled up to him so tight.  I rubbed his hair… I kissed his rosy cheeks.  After some pillow talk he fell asleep.  I held him closer.  I looked at him.  So innocent, so sweet.  Listening to him breathe in an out, I whispered into his ear… “I’m so sorry for being me.”

Earlier in the day he had jumped into the front seat of my car while I was trying to get him inside from preschool.  He was pretending to drive the car.  I was so stressed.  It was cold, I am so pregnant, I just wanted to get him inside so I could sit down.  I didn’t want to stand in the cold.  He laid on the horn.  I looked around to make sure no one was disturbed by this and I yelled at him.   “Mommy said no!” “Stop!”  I felt my anger building.  I threw down all of the stuff I had in my hands and I pulled him out of the car.  He threw a fit in the middle of the road.  I hated this moment.  I hated that he wouldn’t listen.  I hated that I couldn’t stand to be out there any longer and I hated mostly that I couldn’t “enjoy the moment.” A moment that he was enjoying so much.

Anxiety robs you of so many precious moments.

So what is there to be anxious about in this moment?  Well, its not necessarily one trigger in one moment… it is the anxiety that builds all day, every single day.  You grow tired.  You physically hurt.  You cry.  You obsess.  You struggle with simple decisions that others wouldn’t think twice about.  You wake up every morning wishing it were bed time.  You count the days until it is the weekend when you can have some help.   You cry because you hate feeling that way.  You feel guilt.  You have a wonderful husband, a beautiful child and one on the way.  You have a steady job, a home.  You live comfortably.  You are blessed.  You are ungrateful? That’s what you will tell yourself.  Reality? You are plagued by your own mind.

Anxiety robs you of peace of mind.

There is never a moment in one day that you feel at ease.  You will check everything 100 times.  You will look for potential dangers and you will fix them.  You will worry about 10 minutes from now and 10 hours from now and 10 years from now in 1 minute.  Your mind will race and you will be completely exhausted.  You are a problem solver in your mind.  If you don’t fix it all RIGHT now, it wont get done and something terrible will happen and it will be your fault.  When someone, anyone, breaks your train of thought… you will lash out at them.  Don’t they see how important it is that you figure EVERYTHING out RIGHT NOW?  Unfortunately it might be that sweet, innocent, rosy cheeked 2 year old asking for more milk, or trying to jump on you for attention.  You love him so much and you’re trying to solve any potential problem… for him.  All he wants is a glass of milk and a hug.

Why is this so hard?