Did you know that mothers of children with special needs are 3-4 times more likely to suffer from anxiety and/or depression than that of parents raising neurotypical kids?
Two to three TIMES, friends.
That. Is. Staggering.
So, as a fierce advocate for our extreme child and a writer and truth teller of my own battles with anxiety, I feel ethically responsible to speak up on this World Mental Health Day and tell you the truth.
I don't want to.
If I'm being totally honest, I just want to keep pushing down my feelings and burying them under layers of pumpkin cream cold brew and organic Terra chips because eating pretentious food when I'm hurting makes me feel fancy. And fancy people don't struggle, right?!
Well, sister, I. Am. Struggling.
I mean ssstttrrrruuuggggle bus captain, population me, bro!
Financial strain. Medical debt. Mounting creditor calls, like, "Hey Pam from Chase Visa. I didn't have your money yesterday and, guess what? Big shocker, but I still don't today...ANY of the four times you've called me.
Feeling like a complete failure as a wife. As a mom. As a friend. As a daughter, aunt, sister, cousin, neice and any other title I may have been given.
The last three nights I have either left our kids with my husband at dinner to go work from my van while lifting wifi from a coffee shop parking lot like an 80s undercover cop on stakeout, or I've hidden myself away in my bedroom--falling asleep early but staying awake all night to nightmares of missing due dates, deadlines, and bill payments.
Once I wake up, I play the loop of the what ifs, the un-dones, and the should haves. This part is brutal, friend.
I am left battered and bruised after going multiple rounds getting pummelled by negative-self talk and imaginary validation that I've made up and convinced myself is real.
I use my meaty arms to pull the comforter up around my face until the only thing the world can see of me is what I see it with--my eyes. That's it.
Because sometimes being a wife is hard.
And most days being a parent is overwhelming.
Everyday adulting feels like torture.
And anxiety makes me feel like it's all going on around me, swirling faster and faster around my head and blinding me from reality, making me dizzy and nauseous.
It tricks me into believing the lies I've heard inside for years and convinced me...even if only for a moment...that I'm not.
I'm not a loving wife.
I'm not a caring mother.
I'm not a good employee.
I'm not a kind friend.
I'm not a faithful Christian.
I'm not a valued writer.
I'm not helping people.
I'm not advocating enough, being enough, making enough, doing enough.
But here's the thing, dear friend.
I was enough before I was born because He says I am. I have been enough in my darkest of places and my deepest of hurts. I am enough when I feel worth nothing and when I'm buried in covers and emotions without a visible way out.
And you are, too.
Mental health is crucial. Anxiety and depression are real. And parenting #extremechildren will take you to your knees...to beg, to pray, and to cry out in worship and thanksgiving.
It isn't always flowery. In fact, it's more messy than mundane. But it will be worth it. It has to be.
So tonight and any night I find myself trying to stuff and to layer and to bury, I will remember that truth and I will keep pushing. Even when I feel like I'd rather just drink Starbucks and hide in my car.
We are in this together, my friend. Reaching out and sharing your story is empowering to you and to those who hear it. You give others a safe space to be honest and to reach out. Your story may become a part of someone else's survival guide. We don't have to walk this alone. ❤️
I am 1 in 5.
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