Its naptime in our house, and I know I need to rest. That’s my self-care. Being pregnant, and in the third trimester means that rest is important. But, my anxiety tells me other things are more important. Even as I lie down, my mind races, making mental check lists and scheduling things that probably won’t all happen because my anxiety over schedules.
As I wander off to sleep, I still hear phantom cries, even though I have a big kid now. I toss and turn, trying to close the 92 tabs that are open in my mind like a browser window.
My anxiety doesn’t allow me to stop. Everything can cause that. I feel guilty for not doing dishes or laundry to spend time with my daughter, but I feel guilty for doing dishes or laundry and not spending time with my daughter.
I wonder if this is part of the nesting phase, something I didn’t experience the first go around. But, deep down I know it’s not. It’s a need to control. I keep my anxious thoughts at bay by keeping busy. Busy isn’t glorified either. Its exhausting. By the end of the day, when it’s time to relax with my husband, I’m drained. And, then, I feel bad. Bad that I gave all my energy to my daughter or doing chores all day.
Then, there are other days where my anxiety tells me to go! go! go! and my depression tells me not to even move. Typically, I can fight the depression, and the anxiety wins.
It’s a vicious battle, that even years postpartum I struggle with, and I’m not the only one. I take a white little pill each day to help me, and every day I remind myself of God’s yearning to take my burdens.
As I try to lay those down at the cross, I’m given sunshine in the form of a big smile and bright eyes that call me mommy. That’s how I fight. I survive for those moments of laughter and mischievousness. I live for the moments of imagination where we visit the moon, become serious doctors for the plushies, or just dance and sing weird noises. These are my blessings. And these are something that my anxiety cannot stop.
My anxiety keeps me from stopping, and though it can be exhausting, and physically and mentally draining, it doesn’t keep me from going on. Some days or weeks are harder than others, that’s for sure. But, I keep going and never stop because I have anxiety. I have a story and I intend to live it to the very end, and keep fighting, encouraging others that there is joy within the chaos.