When I originally started seeing a shrink, it was to help with my control-freak issues. My then-husband had noticed that whenever a change occured, I would freak out and we'd inevitably end up fighting. I'd get so enraged; picture the Hulk on PMS.
With time we learned that if he let me be when I secluded myself, I'd eventyally come back out, head bowed, riddled with guilt, but calm.
Then . . . we had kids. And he became a long-distance truck driver and I no longer had the leisure of seclusion. And so I requested a shrink appointment and after a few sessions, she diagnosed me with GAD: generalised anxiety disorder. My rage came forth whenever the unexpected occured; my anxiety's coping mechanism. For example, someone randomnly calling me, asking if I wanted to go over. Or out for drinks. Or for an impromptu shopping session.
No, no and hell no. *cue panic* This wasn't planned. There were no "head's up!", no forewarning.
Fast-forward to being alone with young kids. Nights, especially, were rough. Still are, in fact. I get easily overwhelmed, I'm tired and I snap easily.
I knew this couldn't keep going as it was. Spoke to my doc who had me evaluated; GAD and depression. The therapist explained it was a chicken before egg kind of situation: I'd been dealing with my anxiety for so long that depression was bound to set it.
I see my mind like an internet browser with 2467 tabs opened ALL. THE. TIME. That is anxiety for me.
I started speaking out about it around me. At work, on Facebook as well. I learned of people who suffered from these illnesses, same as me. Learnt who to reach out to when dealing with panic attacks.
Taught myself to breathe deeply, taught my son to do the same. Started going on YouTube and blasting Taylor Swift's Shake it off to, well . . . Shake it off. My kids learned that was my cue; Mommy needed to be silly. And silly we were and there wasn't a frown in place afterwards.
Regardless of my entourage and my deep breathing and my silly dancing, evenings can still be very hard. One night in particular, I touched rock-bottom. Some of closest friends had needed a breather from me; they needed to readjust to this new person I was becoming.
I was upset and lonely. And I took stock; why would make me feel better? I realised I needed those cheesy sentences people spewed for lack of better words, "It'll get better", "this too shall pass."
I realised that was an easy fix; I googled 'inspirational quotes', saved them on my phone and then created an album on Facebook. It went viral. People were messaging me, telling me how they needed those very words at that very moment . . .
. . . my spirits were lifted. And from then on, whenever I was feeling down, I'd go back to my old friend Google who always seemed to find the very quotes I, and many others, needed to read.
Lately, there have been many changes. My ex bought back my share of our house. My kids and I moved back in with my parents. My kids started a new daycare. All throughout this experience, I've been reacting instead of pro active. Passive instead of active. Not in a funk, per se, but not quite myself, either.
Then, one night this week, just as I was surrendering to sleep, it hit me; somewhere along the way, I'd forgotten to be positive. Forgot to keep my attitude in check. I've been careful to express gratitude over the small things, but forgot to look at the bigger picture. I fell asleep on that last thought and woke up feeling calm, liberated; at peace.
I've been through so much this past year but I am still - and always will be - a work in progress.
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