Thursday, February 12, 2015

Taking Care of Me

As parents, we tend to put everyone before ourselves. I think this is especially true as a mother. We need to take care of the kids, our spouse and our family. Then there's work, cleaning, cooking, laundry, errands, after school activities, etc. The list seems endless most days. We feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to get it all done. Then we get even crazier and try to add more to our plate.
Being a mom of a child with special needs is hard sometimes. Heck, being a mom in general is hard sometimes. We strive to do the best we can for our children. If you're like me, you feel like a failure at times. I often feel like I'm not doing enough. I'm not sure what enough is, but I'm not accomplishing it. It's hard for me to accept that it's okay. We do the best we can, and that's has to be enough.
What's the point in all this? It has taken me all my life to finally admit that something is wrong with me. I've been an overly anxious and stressed out person since I can remember. I get nervous about everything. I dwell on things longer than most people. I care too much about what other people think. If I've done something wrong, or have made a mistake, it will worry me for months. I get sick to my stomach with worry over the simplest of things. That's just me. After Camden was born my stress and anxiety multiplied by a thousand. I was sad everyday. I was always shaky and could feel my heart beating out of my chest. I felt like I was going to throw up everyday. I still feel like I'm going to throw up most days. I couldn't sleep. I ate all the time. It was miserable, but I also knew it was a normal reaction for the situation. Once I accepted the diagnosis and settled into this new life, it got better. Well, I thought it got better. I wasn't sad and crying all the time, but I think I was stressed over different things. I went on with life without really processing everything. I didn't open up to anyone. I put a huge smile on my face and acted like life was full of rainbows and unicorns. No one but me knew what was going on inside. Occasionally I have had emotional breakdowns, and I've shared them here on this blog and with friends. I then acted like it passed within a couple of days. The truth is, I think I've been having a breakdown for two years now and just didn't realize it until now.
I had a little health scare last weekend. I won't bore you with details, but everything turned out ok. The doctor said I had an anxiety attack. I still don't know if that's true because some of the symptoms don't really add up. However, when I started reading about it, a lot of the signs did apply to me. At first, I was in denial. Surely that was not true. I'm strong. There's no way I can just break like that, right? I didn't even feel anxious before it all started. Or maybe I did and just didn't realize it because it's my normal. I really don't know. So, I sat down the other day and listed all the things I was stressed out about.
I still get stressed over Camden's diagnosis. It's not so much that he has Down syndrome, but it's more related to the health issues that come along with it. I stress about doing therapy five days a week. Finding time to do therapy five days a week stresses me out more! I'm constantly worried about Camden's health. He gets sick a lot. I worry about his heart, even though the hole is getting smaller. I was stressed about his surgery to have his adenoids out. I worry about my kids' futures. I stress about being able to afford college. I am stressed about Cam starting school this fall. Should I put him in school, or home school him? I'm stressed that the boys may not be able to attend the same school. I worry about Carter while he's in school. I don't know why, but I do. I worry that I don't pay enough attention to Carter because Cam needs so much. Does Carter feel loved? I worry that Carter will resent Camden. I've had some vision issues and ringing in my ears that's causing wicked headaches, and that stresses me out. I worry that a tire is going to blow out while I'm driving. Every single time I'm driving. Does anyone else worry about that. Sounds crazy, right? I'm stressed that I have to drive an hour or more to doctor's appointments, work, etc. Work is so busy right now and that's stressful. I worry about money and bills. I worry about my husband because he worries about money and bills. I stress about running out of water at the house (long story). I get stressed over Carter's social anxiety. Gaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!
Seriously, it's too much. This isn't even close to everything I worry about on a daily basis. I have realized that I'm extremely stressed and anxious. It's to the point that it's making me sad too. I have a great life. I know that. I love my family dearly. They will always come first. However, I know I can't continue to take care of them if I don't take care of me. I have found a physician and have an appointment set up. I haven't had a pcp in years. I thought I never needed one. Now I do. It has been incredibly embarrassing to admit all of this, but it has also been therapeutic to finally get it out. I also want anyone going through the same thing to know you are not alone! Man, that was hard.