Excuse my novel, but as everyone knows, I like to process things “out loud.” For years I was embarrassed by it because people would tell me I shouldn’t share so much. They would tell me that I was being negative or seeking attention. They would question why I would be so open. But I literally don’t know how to not share. I really think it’s a gift that God has given me to help myself and others.
I have had this voice going around and around in my head a lot lately saying things like “You have no reason to be anxious.” “Things are good now, why are you anxious?” “You’re living the life you have been wanting to live for several years. You shouldn’t be anxious.” I keep fighting my anxiety with all that is with-in me and that is not helping, it is only making it worse. I wrote a post the other day about all that I’m doing to combat it.
I talked with my counselor yesterday and she reminded me that my body is going to have to learn how to not be in fight or flight mode. It might take some time. She gave me some practical tips for my physical symptoms. We talked about the good things and why they are so good. God has truly worked so much out so far. Like so many little things that I didn’t know would work out have worked out. We have been praying specifically about some things, and they have turned out how we hoped. I feel that has given us the desires of our hearts.
But tonight l was chatting with a friend about all that has been going on the past few months (there’s a lot I haven’t shared on here), and it’s no wonder I’m still anxious. I forget just how hard things have been because I was just “dealing with it” while it was happening and then quickly made a ton of (necessary) changes. So my head is spinning and my brain and body are just trying to figure things out. I’m also noticing myself trying to find ways to escape the anxiety, and it’s not going to heal it that way.
Then I was diagnosed with adhd and so many things started to make sense. I started meds and they made my anxiety even worse, so I feel like I’m at square one again. I feel defeated because I thought the meds would help my anxiety, not make it worse. I’m sure it’ll just take time to find the right one. Or maybe meds aren’t the answer for me. We will see.
My kiddo with mental health struggles (unnamed) is still very up and down. Tuesday was such a good day for him. Yesterday was more difficult. We are still trying to figure all of that out. I think we are just trying to get through the rest of this school year. At this point, it’s almost summer. It’s really hard to start something new. But we know it’ll be good in the long run. We are just trying to get into some kind of a rhythm. I’m wondering if coming to my parents’ and going hiking (with a new Wild + Free group) wasn’t a good idea because it threw off the little bit of rhythm we have been developing. I think that’s why yesterday was harder. I’m sure it’ll be worth it and maybe doing something outside that is different will be a good reset for the boys and me.
I just really need wisdom about how to manage my own mental health and the mental health of a teenager that is very similar to mine. We butt heads because we are the same. I didn’t realize this until recently. He does something that drives me crazy, and as I’m talking to Robert about it, he’s like, he’s you. I desperately don’t want him to grow into an adult that struggles as much as I do. So I will keep fighting for him. He doesn’t have the trauma that I have, but he has his own stuff. I’m hoping that with all the work we are doing now he will grow into a healthy adult.
And I’m trying to also give my other two kids what they need (I’m often told that I am always focused on kiddo which is hard for me because I know how they feel having grown up with a severely mentally ill brother). And still take care of myself and my home. And be in the community. And care for my husband. And do the stuff that I love to do. But mental illness can make that stuff hard. Gosh, at least I’m not having to manage a full time job on top of everything else. Praise Jesus.
At the end of the day, I know we are on the right path. Robert and I are in 100% agreement. This really hasn’t happened much about school and work stuff. But we are now. Robert sees the plummeting mental health of my kiddo and I because of school (teaching at and going to). We know that we are doing the right things. I just really need to give myself grace. I’m so imperfect. I can’t work because of mental illness. Kiddo needs to be homeschooled and most days are so good, but some days are still really hard for him and for me and for his dad and siblings. Life is so imperfect.
I also have nothing to prove. I don’t have to prove to anyone that the decisions we made are right for our family. So when we have bad days, it’s okay. There will be bad days. There will be days when we wonder. But I am also standing firm in the decisions that we have made, and I don’t care if other people agree or not. At the end of the day, even when I have a bad mental health day, kiddo is able to learn so much easier at home so I feel like it will be beneficial for him. And I’m going to work on figuring out how to challenge Levi more. Academics come so naturally to him so that’ll be a challenge for me as well. I keep reminding myself that these two months are just for finding a rhythm and starting in the fall, we can really dig in.
I’m so thankful for Jesus. Time with him each morning is what has been getting me through. I long for that time. I wake up excited to drink coffee, prayer journal, worship, and study his word. I’m thankful for slow mornings. I’m thankful for calm afternoons. I’m thankful that I don’t have the crazy expectations of teaching full time anymore. All teachers know how hard it is in general, then add poor mental health and the mental health struggles of a child, and it feels impossible.
I can take deep breaths knowing that we are going to be okay. I’m okay. My kids are okay. Robert is okay. God loves us and wants what’s best for us even when I don’t understand why things are happening the way they are. I went through years of anger with God because of my brother’s suicide and my own mental health struggles and being in a spiritual desert. I’m over that. I just want to relentlessly pursue Jesus and let go of any semblance of control that I think I have.