This past week I’ve felt very on edge, well more than I usually do I guess you could say.
I am feeling more nervous than usual, more tense, more angry and very uneasy.
Today the build up led to a panic attack right in the middle of my morning aqua fit class.
I love my aqua fit classes. I look so forward to it twice a week.
They are such a wonderful and positive distraction for me.
I work my butt off in class and I feel such a great accomplishment afterwards but today, given the week I’ve had, I just couldn’t seem to distract myself.
I tried to quietly slip out of the pool so not to make a scene as the panic erupted (it’s not like I’ve never made a scene before though!).
I felt the tears fill my eyes and I could barely breathe. Figuratively, I felt like I was drowning.
I just needed a moment to myself.
I reassured everyone I was ok (quietly slipping out of the pool didn’t work).
I wiped my tears away with my towel, took a few deep breaths, a big swig of water from my water bottle and then before I slipped back into the pool I double checked my phone to reassure myself one last time that the world wasn’t about to end.
Is it pretty safe to say that if you are a parent you have probably doubted your role as one at one time or another?
You are not alone.
Parenting is hard work, it’s a huge responsibility and quite possibly the most thankless job ever, yet it also comes with the greatest rewards.
As a parent we find ourselves second guessing every decision we make or questioning each and every behaviour of ours which only escalates further doubt.
We worry we will somehow screw up our kid’s lives forever.
We worry that they won’t love us or that they will actually grow to hate us.
This has been a daily battle of mine over the past seven years and I blame my illness.
It makes me believe all the doubt and lies.
Even though I have three amazing kids (more like young adults actually) who are all very busy these days discovering who they are and what they need in order to become their best self.
They are finding their place in the world.
They are chasing their dreams.
In fact I’d say they are all killing it right now despite my feeling like I have failed them in every way possible, despite my feeling like my illness has taken away a big part of their innocence, despite my feeling like I’m the worst parent ever, despite my feeling like I’m a complete burden to them, despite my feeling like I have scarred them for life and despite my feeling like they hold so much hate and resentment toward me.
It’s been a really difficult week for me. I’m beyond overwhelmed right now and in a pretty bad headspace, (see blog .https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/05/24/suicide-can-be-a-silent-killer/) but despite all that it’s moments like the one we had on Sunday evening that remind me that maybe I haven’t failed them after all, maybe I haven’t actually screwed them up completely and maybe, just maybe I’ve even played a role in them becoming those amazing, generous, loving, kind young adults.
Maybe I need to be more aggressive when I try telling my depressed mind to fuck off.
I’ve needed a few days to process the emotions that overcame me on Sunday evening when my kids excitedly presented me with an early birthday present (they wanted to give me enough time to prepare for it).
They handed me an envelope and before I opened it they told me that they wanted to get me something they knew I’d cherish forever and something that I crave more than anything else in the world.
As I anxiously opened the envelope I could not imagine what it could be. I unwrapped the piece of paper inside and saw a picture of a cabin on a lake.
Their gift to me was exactly what they said it was as they handed me the envelope to open. They had wanted to get me something they knew I would cherish forever and something that I crave more than anything else in the world so as they so eloquently put it, they gave me the gift of time; quality family time that is.
They have rented a cottage for all of us for the weekend of Father’s day, just days before Hannah “hopefully” heads off to camp for the summer and just days before my 50th birthday.
There will be canoeing, campfires, roasted marshmallows, self-care, sunbathing on the dock, laughter and a special #summerofrich “Father’s Day” adventure included in our weekend away but most of all there will be picture perfect memories made that we can all cherish forever.
I love you to the moon and back, forever and a day.
Yesterday morning I went to an aqua fit class which I have been doing very regularly throughout the summer months, but until yesterday I hadn’t been to class for a couple of weeks. It was to be one of our last classes of the season and afterwards we were invited to stay for the afternoon relaxing by the pool, enjoying each other’s company and feasting on a delicious catered lunch hosted by my friend whose pool we have so graciously been using all summer long.
There was a chill in the air yesterday morning, something we hadn’t felt before then but it is September after all and to be expected. I wasn’t sure when I awoke yesterday morning if I could find the strength to push myself to get to the class at all as I had not had a good night the evening before; and knowing just how crisp the air felt, I lay in bed filled with anxiety, curled up under my weighted blanket until about 20 minutes before class was to begin, telling myself all the reasons I shouldn’t go. It’s not like this was anything new to me, I go through this crazy babble and negative self-talk every single time I leave my home, even when it’s something I know I will likely enjoy.
Well I made it to class as you already know even though I was a few minutes late and when I arrived everyone was in the pool warming up but I took my time to ensure the best and most successful outcome. I slowly and cautiously approached the water and then I gently dipped my toe in the water (as though it was my first time ever getting into a pool) to check the temperature.
We’ve all heard the saying “Dip your toe in the water” before and yesterday I both literally and figuratively did just that. I more often than not have to tread very lightly in everything I do because I can (and do) easily get overwhelmed and become very vulnerable whenever I try and push myself too much or take on too much all at once which just winds up sabotaging my health and wellness further. Some days may be easier than others to push through my depression and anxiety (but not lately) and having learned the art of how to fake it til I make it or smile through my pain can sometimes give me the strength to “dive right in” like I did yesterday (thanks also to Jenn for making the water super warm).