Actually, I Can

“Ugh. I just can’t get this super long list of impossible things done today” Okay, maybe it’s not exactly a quote but, I know I am constantly on myself about not getting a list of things I wanted to do done. I mean, how hard is it to write a blog post, read some material for school, do regular housework and get in some spring cleaning? Oh and don’t forget you have a doctor’s appointment and are picking up kids from school today. Sound familiar yet? I have tried countless planners (really I don’t remember how many I have anymore!), setting alarms, leaving myself notes, dry erase boards, calendars, THE WORKS and yet some how I still don’t get anything I want to done. Some days I don’t even do the dishes or take the trash out. Can you imagine the embarrassment when my husband gets home and sees I haven’t done anything? (My guy is amazing and never actually complains but, I STILL get embarrassed) Ugh. I have days when I can go, go, go and be SUPER PRODUCTIVE BADASS MOM. And then days when a small worrisome thought like “do I smell propane?” will fester and brew in to a full blown panic attack and I call the fire department to find that nothing is wrong. It can be completely exhausting even if it only lasts a few minutes but, the rest of my day will be done for because I am just TIRED. Part of this is because I was recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and I will discuss that in further depth but, I just want to say this isn’t just for mama’s with anxiety. I want to encourage any and all moms who struggle to find motivation sometimes. I know mommin’ ain’t easy and we are always juggling 600 things.

I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist. I am sharing my experiences and personal recommendations. This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I realized I had anxiety so severe that it effected my daily activities. I know it started sometime after my daughter hit 7 months. One morning we were chilling on my bed like we had always done. Pillows all around barricading in my little just barely crawling baby. I got up to get changed. Didn’t even make it around the corner of my bed with my shirt above my head when BAM and then the sound of my daughter wailing. She crawled over the pillows. She fell off the bed. I scooped her up, full on panic trying to check her out to see if she is okay. We couldn’t get calmed down. I knew she was feeling my worry and I knew she was hurting and I didn’t know what to do so I called my mom. No matter what happened next I knew I needed my mom’s help. My thoughts were racing: concussion? Brain damage? Did she break any bones? She looks okay but can babies get internal bleeding? My mom walks in the door (THANK GOD SHE LIVES ACROSS THE STREET) Ari looks over and sees her. Instantly stopped crying. My mom took her as I explained what happened. I calmed down enough to call the Children’s Hospital Nurse phone line because at this point Ari had forgot all about falling she was happy to see Nana. They didn’t think she would need to be seen, they gave some warning signs etc. I slept on my daughter’s floor for the first time that night. (She had been in her room a couple weeks by this point.) I did end up taking her in to make sure she was for sure okay. I felt like the worst mother on the planet. She hadn’t been crawling that well the day before. I literally had no idea she would be able to scale those pillows. Doctor and nurses assured me it happens often and that baby’s are resilient but I still don’t think I’ve fully forgiven myself. Needless to say she hasn’t been left on the bed alone since and I watch her like a hawk now!

So after that the next few months only seemed like average stressors causing anxiety lack of sleep, too much caffeine, heavy work load or busy day, HOLIDAYS. And then I started noticing I was getting less and less of my NORMAL things done. TJ would come home and I wouldn’t have even started dinner or loaded the dishwasher when those were things that got done unless I was pretty busy. He started trying to help me with organizing my to do lists between starting this blog and my products I was pretty busy. So we tried breaking the lists down to doing them in a productive order. We talked about the positive things that happened that day instead me complaining how I didn’t get anything done. I thought things were working. Turns out they weren’t. I would still get racing thoughts out of no where. I would try to bottle them down but then I was becoming forgetful and distracted. I was really only keeping up with my daughter’s needs. By the end of December in to January I started getting severe pain in my back. Couldn’t move very well, slept like shit. Went to urgent care. “Muscles spasms” they said. That went on for a couple of months. Ended up in the emergency room was given a wrong diagnosis again, I got an MRI, a shit ton of prescriptions. Nothing helping. I started getting mad at myself, at my body for being so ridiculous. This caused more panic attacks and break downs. The smallest things setting off my irritability. I finally read somewhere that some pain without any underlying causes could be associated with anxiety and depression. Is that a light on the horizon? I thought I was in the clear of postpartum depression or anxiety but came to find out our bodies can take up to TWO years to regulate hormones and shit again after having a baby.

I’m still in the early stages of treatment, like not even a month of being diagnosed. I’m not cured or miraculously better by any means. I feel like I have had a huge boulder lifted off of my shoulders though. After breaking down with my doctor and talking about my symptoms I remember saying “I can’t do this anymore.” When I left the office loading up my daughter in to her car seat I felt raw and so damn tired again. I looked down and she was just SO happy. Smiling at me not a care in the world. I told her “Actually, I can. Mama can get better.” Since then I have been trying to tell myself “Actually, I can” whenever I say I can’t get to something or can’t do something. So instead of I can’t fold the laundry today I’ll say “actually I can do it tomorrow because I get to see my nieces and brother when I pick them up from school today”. Things aren’t perfect yet and I still have “bad” days BUT I am on my way. I just started implementing something my therapist suggested. Instead of focusing on all the things I don’t get done I can make a list of things I “have done” and I instantly said like “TADA I did it” being a smart ass but I have a “TA-DA” list now. It’s been pretty great so far. I have done a lot more than I ever consciously think that I do. Maybe you could try it too!

So mamas, I want you to know that you can. Even if you are at the and of your wits, your patience is so thin you just can’t do anything else in that moment. I want you to think “Actually, I can.” I can take a break, I can rest, I can stop what I’m doing, I can push through this frustration, I can spend time playing with my child, I can use this as a learning or teaching moment, I can be better tomorrow, I can. YOU CAN.

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