May 3, 2017

Dealing With Anxiety

Disclaimer - This post is a little personal, but it's part of my journey and I am not ashamed of it. Since I started sharing our story on this blog and on Facebook, I have had so many people reach out to me and thank me for being open and honest. I get messages on a weekly basis from people telling me that they can relate to something I wrote. It was one specific message I got last week that helped me decide to share this.

It's no secret that 2016 was a hard year for me. I'm not going to go into a ton of detail because it's honestly really hard to explain. I guess it's just that the autism diagnosis was still very new, the in-home therapy was extremely stressful, we were dealing with insurance headaches and I often just felt extremely overwhelmed. I worried about everything (still do). I worried about the future. I had an insane amount of guilt. Guilt about the autism. Guilt that our family couldn't go out and do a lot of things that we'd like to. Guilt for my girls and what they were missing out on. I was having a hard time with the day to day struggles that come along with autism - the behaviors, the extreme food issues that made mealtimes stressful for everyone. It all consumed me.

In August of 2016, after fighting it for too long, I decided to go to my doctor and talk to her about it. She prescribed me with an anxiety medication that I could take just when I felt like I needed it because we agreed that I didn't need something every day. For the first few months I would take it once or twice a week on the days when I felt like I was drowning from the worry and stress. There were days when I'd get home from picking the kids up after school and therapy and we'd still have a couple hours before Tyler would be home from work and I would think to myself, "How am I going to make it until bedtime?" I would feel myself losing patience with my kids and I hated that. Although I didn't feel a dramatic difference after taking the medication, I would make it to bedtime and think to myself, "I did it!" So although I didn't really feel different after taking it, I believe it helped me get through those tough few hours.

After the holidays, I found myself taking it less, maybe twice a month. I track in my planner which days I take it so I can look back and see exactly when I took it and what was going on those days. Looking back now, I didn't take it at all in April (or May so far). I got thinking about it and I have to believe the fact that I'm exercising more and completed the 30 miles in 30 days with Erin isn't just a coincidence. I mean it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that exercising is good for you, not only physically but mentally as well. I didn't realize it as the month was going on, but now looking back, I think it played a big role. I'm also going to the gym once in awhile (hopefully will start to be more now that my wrist is feeling better).

There are a couple other things that I think are contributing to me feeling better lately. Kase is doing well at therapy and his team is amazing. I don't have to stress every day and worry if we're doing what's best for him. I am 100% certain that where he's at now is the absolute best thing for him.

Erin and I decided to take a break from our Etsy shop. We are both busy moms and it was going from being a fun outlet for us both to being too stressful.

My brother recently started his second new business and I am helping him part time. I'm really excited about this. Being a stay at home mom is a huge blessing for our family. When Kyla was 2 1/2 and Kase was 1, I went back to teaching 3rd grade because I thought it was time. It didn't take long for me to realize that my kids needed me at home and this is where I'm meant to be right now. With that being said, being home every day is hard in a totally different way. I love it and I'm grateful, but having this part time work with my brother is having a very positive effect on my life. It's hard to explain and may sound silly, but I feel part of something, part of a team. I feel like I'm contributing (in a small way right now). It also gives my mind a break from all the worries that go along with being a special needs mom. I'm very thankful for my brother for trusting me and giving me this opportunity.

I don't like taking medications, which is why I fought going to the doctor for so long. But there came a point where I had to admit that I needed some help. And that was okay.

I'm not saying I won't ever need the medication again because I just don't know. I have good days and bad days. However, I do feel like I have turned a huge corner in 2017. I feel like I spent last year grieving and feeling sad that our life may not be exactly what I had planned. I definitely still have my moments where I let jealousy or guilt or worry take over, but it's MUCH less than it used to be.

I apologize if this post was all over the place. I started writing this last week and finally decided to hit the publish button this morning. This blog is like therapy for me a lot of times. I'm not sure who reads it, but I always feel better after I publish a post. Dealing with anxiety is just a small part of my journey and talking about it is one way that helps me keep it under control.

Thanks for reading!

4 comments:

  1. Love you and your openness, Amy! So thankful for you in my life! ��
    �� Jackie

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  2. Amy. Thank you for sharing this. I can't tell you enough about how I wish we lived closer, not only so our boys could play, but so we could have mom time. I fully believe we'd be good friends! While I don't (think) I have anxiety, I definitely get super stressed and overwhelmed sometimes and when people ask for help, I can't even think of what to tell them and just want to burst out in tears. And sometimes I cry and sometimes it helps. Being a special needs mom is overwhelming and frustrating and just plain hard sometimes. There are definitely times when I see others doing things and I wish I could do that, but its just not in the cards for us. I admire you for knowing when you needed to ask for help and that you have the medication to fall back on if you need it. That's amazing that you don't need it often and haven't taken it in a while. I hope 2017 keeps being the best year yet!

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  3. I always appreciate your blog and your honesty will all of us. I do know what it's like to feel overwhelmed and I say whatever helps you get through the toughest of days is what you should do. Proud of you, truly. You are a rockstar mom to THREE (I can barely manage 1, ha!) and handle whatever life throws at you with such strength. Even if you don't feel like it some days, you are killin' it! I'm so glad you are getting to work part-time, I totally get the feeling apart of something. Now that I have a PT job from home it gives me a purpose during naptimes and such.

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  4. Thank you for being so brave and honest and sharing your experience. I am glad you are feeling better!

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