‘Are You Ready For The Summer?’ Well I’m Not!
It’s that time of year once again when your kids excitedly begin emptying out their knapsacks full of textbooks in exchange for their beach towels and sunscreen. It’s that time of year once again when the April showers (and ice storms) have allowed for the May flowers to bloom and the June sky to brighten our days for hours on end. And in our home it’s also that time of year once again when my kids hop aboard the Greyhound bus to their happy place while their father sheds his happy tears and joyfully hugs them goodbye amid his happy dance.
Tomorrow begins the official start to summer for two of my kids (unfortunately the third child has another few days of exams to get through first before her official start to summer). But nonetheless, the dog days are here and so is another full summer of making some of the most incredible lasting memories for them. I myself went to sleepaway camp for most of my childhood and young adult life and I can definitely tell you that is where I made some of my most incredible lasting memories (and friendships) too, but last summer my illness made it very difficult for me to remember those incredible lasting memories while they were away.
I know in my heart that my kids are safe at camp (and keeping their campers safe too!) while having the best time of their lives and making those incredible lasting memories but you see there is one major hurdle; my illness prefers to wander down the dark and sinister highways instead of taking me on a relaxing and gratifying joyride through the tranquil and serene country roads. I should be looking forward to our ‘break’ from one another because to be completely honest, we really, really need it, this year more than ever before.
Every year since I began struggling with depression and anxiety we have been met with many additional and unthinkable challenges and adversities which are regrettably a normal part of life, but as each year passes for me I have become less and less able to cope with them, let alone the daily grind. As I have mentioned previously in other blogs I never really experienced anxiety as a child (or adult for that matter), that is outside of what is considered to be a conventional range (as everyone suffers with anxiety from time to time) and even when I think back to a few years ago it was nowhere near where it is today.
I really can’t explain to you in a way that you would fully understand what having an anxiety disorder or panic attacks feel like because truthfully everyone’s experience is probably a little bit different. All I can tell you is that for me over the last year my senses have become extremely heightened to the point where it is affecting my entire life, my husband’s life and most definitely my children’s lives almost daily and even though it may seem illogical, unreasonable or inexplicable to them or others, it is oh so real to me.
Just try to visualize for a moment that you are physically ill with the stomach flu and have been puking your guts up all night long, in a darkened room, all alone and someone tries to tell you that you’re imagining it, that it’s all in your head, that you take things too personally, that you’re overthinking it, that you’re affecting other people’s lives in the process or that you are simply being overly dramatic. This is what my life with anxiety is like and yes it seems illogical, unreasonable and inexplicable to many, but for me it’s just plain exhausting, scary and very, very lonely at times when you are always afraid of your feelings or emotions.
The last thing I want is to let my anxiety and depression affect my husband and kid’s summers ahead, or have an instant replay of last summer where emergency personnel needed to intervene. I really hope my husband gets to enjoy his well-deserved ‘break’, (but I also hope his Fitbit is fully charged for all the hiking trips I have planned!), a break from the 100’s of things he is burdened with as he continues to play the role of mom, dad and caregiver each and every day (and he is certainly not shy about letting you know how much he can’t wait for them to get on that damn bus already!). I get it, I get his excitement, I get the kid’s excitement, I truly get it all from the bottom of my heart, I just wish my mind could get it so I can also enjoy a relaxing and gratifying joyride through the tranquil and serene country roads too.