I like to think I have come a long way since writing those posts. Granted, that could have a lot to do with having two toddlers now, or the fact that I am still taking Paxil. Regardless of the reasons, it feels really good to have my life back, and to be able to say, with confidence, that if you are currently struggling, there is hope. You will get through it. Whether that be with counseling, medication, self-help, or all of the above, there will come a time when you feel like your old self.
In my experience, I actually feel better than I ever did. I spent a majority of my life suffering from anxiety, without even realizing that not everyone had the same intense fears that I had.
I realize that most may not consider me “healed” since I am still taking medication. To this, all I have to say is that this medication saved me. It gave me my life back. It gave me life back that I didn’t even know I was missing.
Maybe there will come a time when I feel ready to go off of it, right now though, is not that time.
What this medication does for me, is keeps me from allowing my anxiety to rule my life. I still get anxious, I still have to use mind over matter to get through certain situations, I still have to push myself to leave my comfort zone, but I think that’s just a part of being human. What I’m not dealing with anymore? Paralyzing fear, obsessive thoughts, depression.
The other day, I took both of my children, by myself, to their first dentist appointment. By. Myself. This might seem like nothing to some, but to me, it is everything. The old me would have never in a million years been able to do that without having a panic attack.
We go on regular outings now, just the three of us. Stores, the library, the playground. This make life while daddy is at work much more enjoyable.
I have successfully handled temper tantrums in the middle of the grocery store. I have unopoligetically negotiated with my three year old in the doorway of a store. I have a new found confidence in this whole parenting thing, and it is glorious.
One of the biggest, and best, changes I have noticed since getting my head right, is that my daughter has been showing more confidence. There were times when I would notice anxiety in her, and blame myself. But, ever since I started showing more confidence in my being, I can see it in her too.
Yes, she is getting older, but I honestly think a lot of it comes from how my own anxieties were rubbing off on her.
And although the medication obviously helps, since that is it’s job, there are other things that I have done that I believe have made a huge difference.
- I started going to church, and studying the Bible. I have begun to form a new relationship with God and Jesus, and this has given me a new hope. I wake up every morning, and the first thing I do is my She Reads Truth devotional. I start my morning with something so positive, how can the rest of my day go bad?
- I stopped comparing myself to other mom’s. We are all going to do things differently. Our children are all different. What one likes, another will not. Knowing, and being confident in the fact, that I am exactly what my children need has been the most freeing thing.
- I fake it til I make it. I still get nervous about taking my kids to the store, but I pretend I’m not. I tell myself I’m not. And suddenly, it’s real.
- I have surrounded myself with inspirational women, both that I know in real life, and who I’ve never met on social media. I weeded through my social media outlets, and got rid of anything that brought negative thoughts. I’m working on doing the same in my real life, it just takes a little longer.
- I take time for me. Before, when the kids would fall asleep I would spend hours on pinterest, or skimming through Facebook or Instagram. Now, I read a book, have a cup of tea and watch my shows, have a conversation with my husband.
So, momma’s, there is hope. If you are feeling lost, feeling like you will never get out of that dark hole, you will! You will find yourself again. But, in order to do that, you need to take your post partum mental health seriously. If you are feeling like there may be something off, PLEASE contact a doctor, or therapist, or friend. Reach out, and ask for help. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.
And, if you are not suffering yourself, but know someone who is, or who could be, PLEASE reach out to them. Express your concerns, in a gentle way. Tell them you are there, SHOW them you are there. This is not something that anyone should have to go through alone.