Until the last few weeks, I’d have honestly said I was NAILING this pandemic.
I’m no superhero, but having major anxiety basically feels like I’d been preparing to be a forced shut-in for my entire life.
No social gatherings? Check!
Cover your face in public? Done!
Stay far away from others? My pleasure!
But a few weeks ago, something shifted.
Our oldest and extreme child had grown weary from homeschooling which we’d chosen to do because he is higher-risk. After much prayer and discussion, we enrolled him in public school.
That means new friends, new schedule, new teachers, new expectations, new IEP meetings, and new anxieties–for both of us.
My grad school responsibilities also nearly doubled and our savings was running on fumes. This meant the hubs would have to return to work, leaving me the primary caregiver, still self-employed, managing a household, an extreme child, a wild 4 year old, grad school, and allllll of the things for everyone in the land.
That’s when it happened.
Diagnosed with anxiety at 34 and c-PTSD at 36, I was referred to a psychiatrist for the first time. She confirmed OCD and Major Depressive Disorder to my list of braggables.
And I broke, friends.
In the past five years, my husband and I have been through specialists, doc changes, OTs, countless med changes, routines, behavior strategies, and a million other attempts at helping our son manage his mental health.
My needs weren’t even visible to me because my boy needed me right then.
Logistics and daily to-dos took priority and I kept pushing the gas instead of listening when my body desperately needed me to pump the brakes because it’s all I’ve ever known to do.
So I broke.
For a full week I have cried every single day…sometimes more than once.
I have begun taking new meds and not just “the lowest dose” because somehow that felt like I was still powering through…which, by the way, is absolutely asinine.
I have broken down.
I have kept silent.
I have floated outside of my body, hovering over the human shell that is currently myself.
But I know it won’t always be this way.
So, today when I read countless comments that would’ve normally rolled off my back, they broke me.
I was sensitive and overwhelmed and they absolutely crushed me.
And that isn’t easy for me to say, friends.
Because I’m usually the strong one.
I’m the organized one,
The on-time one,
The one who checks in on others,
The gift-giver and meal-maker,
The double-checker and detail-oriented one,
The coupon-clipper and boo-boo kisser.
So, today I said NO.
I said no to a job I needed because it paid well so I could say yes to my kids.
Not to stay stuck inside.
Not to watch movies (again) because I just don’t have the energy for anything else.
Not to be in my phone while they are desperate for my attention.
We ate macaroni (our fav) and we jumped on trampolines until we were sweaty and all laughed out.
Because friends, lately I feel like a walking open wound and even when those close to me notice I’m breaking and ask what they can do, all I can say is a pained and honest,
“I don’t know.”
Because I don’t.
Keep my kids for a few hours?
Make our dinner?
Help us pay our bills?
Give us a date night?
Let me take a nap?
Remind me I’m not the actual worst?
I truly have no good answer.
Because even answering simple questions seems like too much right now.
So today I jumped.
I laughed instead of cried and I threw my kids in ball pits and I chose not to concern myself with people who’d tell me I wasn’t taking Covid seriously.
Because that felt right, right then.
And if your brain battles itself in OCD, GAD, MDD, PTSD, or any number of other diagnoses, you ‘get it’.
The unending defeat,
The extraordinary exhaustion,
The never-ending mental spirals,
The worst-case scenarios,
It can feel like too much and not enough all at once.
So, yes, I’m sensitive right now.
I’m breaking right now.
I’m crying an impressive amount these days.
I’m navigating what is new to me now.
But I’m not dead.
I’ve not given up.
Because we all deserve to sit in our difficult seasons and to have the space to breathe, to be intentional, and to decide how we will make it through.
Give grace, friends.
And then…give it again.
Because this kind of hard is truly something I cannot adequately explain, but it’s real. And I don’t suffer alone.
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