I have anxiety…..and I’ve passed it on to my daughter.
That’s not easy for me to write. For years I never suffered, never worried, I loved life! It was after I had children that I started to develop symptoms that scared me. I would be sitting watching TV or reading a book and I would get the sudden urge to get up and pace or run. My body would tingle, I could feel my face getting hot, my heart would race and I would think irrational thoughts. I knew it, this was it…I was having a heart attack, or at least that’s what I thought. It was coming over me like a tidal wave and there was no escaping it. There is no way to describe how I feel when I’m having an attack other than it feels like death. Sometimes I can talk myself out if it and other times I can’t.
At first, panic would hit me infrequently and seemed to come out of nowhere. Within a few years I knew I wasn’t handling the whole mental “thing” very well on my own. Would medication help? Cognitive Behaviour Therapy? Shock Treatment? (ouch). Oh Lawd I sound like a Desperate Housewife!! Fast forward a few months, after much deliberation, I’ve drugged myself up with anti-anxiety meds and seeing a therapist. Ativan is my best friend and as each day passes I feel a little more human.
Am I worried about fellow moms and friends judging me? Absolutely! There’s a stigma attached to mental illness. The truth is it affects millions of people daily. We need to talk about it, understand it and empathize with those who suffer. Awareness is key!
My daughter, who is 8, is showing signs of anxiety. It just makes me ill to think I have passed this terrible illness on to her. I would give anything to take it away for her. The smallest thing will set her off and have her unravelling within seconds. “Is a tornado going to hit our house mommy?,” “I can’t breathe”, the list goes on and on. She exhibits the same symptoms I do when it comes to panic.
Earlier this year she was diagnosed with a learning disability that is paired with a severe case of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Clearly she has more than enough on her plate for a child her age. Her struggles at school have been hard to handle but we are in the midst of discussing strategies with her doctor (That’s a whole other post!). She has one mother and I’m committed to getting myself better as well as her. We will fight this together because she deserves all of me. Happy, content and full of life!