So, I’ve already opened up to you all about my battle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in my Black Girls Have Anxiety too post, but I didn’t go into detail about the struggles that come along with it. I’m currently writing this post in the middle of one of my “episodes.” I’ve been anxious and in a mood all week and I just cannot shake this feeling. I’m hoping that writing this will kind of ease some of these emotions running rampant in my head. I also hope that this may help others currently going through the same thing.
Just to bring you all up to speed . . . I turned 26 four months ago and these last four months have been the hardest I’ve had all year. I let go of the person that I thought was my soul mate, I got laid off from my WAH position after two years, and I’ve had all kinds of family drama. It has been one thing after the other since June and it’s beginning to be a bit much. To be honest. I’m kind of surprised that it took this long for my anxiety and depression to kick in. I think having all of this free time has allowed me to come to terms with everything that has happened and my brain isn’t happy about it.
People respond to situations differently, so there are many different symptoms of anxiety and depression. Symptoms can last hours,days, and sometimes weeks. Below are a few things I’m currently struggling with.
Tiredness: When I’m having an “episode” I sleep A LOT. I nap for hours at a time because when I’m sleeping, my problems don’t exist.
Hyperventilation: I started “holding my breath” shortly after Aubrey was born and I’ve been doing it ever since. Whenever I’m feeling anxious, I hold my breath for long periods of time and struggle to get my breathing back to normal. It sucks because in the moment, I know that I should calm down and breathe but I can’t. It’s gotten to the point that I keep brown paper bags in my apartment because sometimes I do it to the point where I feel light-headed.
Irritability: I’ve always been moody and short-tempered, but throw anxiety and depression into the mix, and I turn into a different kind of monster. When I’m feeling my feelings, everything bothers me. Something as simple as breathing too hard could send me into a blind rage.
Worrying excessively: I worry about everything. I worry about stuff that happened yesterday, stuff that might happen today, and stuff that may or may not happen in the future.
OCD: I can’t control my emotions, so I focus on what I can control. Everything at home has to be clean and in place. There has to be organization in everything I do. I have a planner for everything and I’m real big on my appearance. If one thing doesn’t go as planned, it usually throws my whole mood off.
My children don’t know that I battle with Anxiety and Depression because right now they’re too young to understand. I don’t want my mental illness to affect them, so I do everything that I can to at least pretend to be happy in front of them. For anyone else struggling with the same thing, here a few things that have helped/are currently helping me get through it.
Talk it out. As parents, we’re our children’s maids, chauffeurs, and counselors. To our children, we’re real life superheroes. We’re the problem solvers. You can’t help your kids with solve their problems, if you don’t get help with you own. Talk to a therapist and if you don’t feel comfortable, anyone else would do. Just talk to SOMEONE. Don’t keep those emotions bottled up. Speaking from experience, nothing good will come from that.
Get out of the house. When you’re feeling down or having an “episode,” it’s easy to sit at home and sulk. Trust me, I’m the queen of cancelling plans and putting my phone on do not disturb JUST to sit at home alone feeling my feelings. If you don’t feel like being around others, treat yourself to a dinner or movie. DO SOMETHING besides sit at home being miserable.
Spend time with your children. Our children are the best parts of us. When you’re feeling depressed and anxious, hug your little ones. Feel the love they have for you and hold on to that. Depression and anxiety will have you thinking and feeling like you’re alone in the world, if you let it. I have a movie night/game night with my daughters every Friday night. They look forward to cuddling with mommy, and spending that time with them helps me forget about my issues for a little while.
I’m not an expert, and I don’t have all of the answers. However, I am a mother of two currently struggling with depression and anxiety. I don’t want anyone reading this to feel sorry for me, but I do want other parents going through this to know that it is okay. We have kids, things happen, and sometimes we literally worry ourselves sick. Take it one day at a time. It can only defeat you if you let it.
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