Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Does Anxiety=Failure?

I've struggled with anxiety for years. I think I struggled with it growing up, but didn't know it. I think that it's something many people struggle with but we don't talk about it. It's become worse since I became a mom.

When I have an anxiety attack it becomes hard for me to breathe. Everything inside me feels jumpy. Sometimes I get light headed. Sometimes I get nauseous. Sometimes I throw up.

Yesterday it happened to such an extent that I had to ask Paul to come home from work. I put Julia in her high chair with a piece of cheese and went to the bathroom and cried. I cried for hours. I would stop crying long enough to start again. I couldn't breathe. I thought I was going to throw up, but never did.

To be honest, being a mother is the scariest thing I've ever done. I desperately want to protect my daughter from the horrors of this world, and literally have emotional breakdowns because I can't.

Right now my daughter is laying in her crib chatting and laughing. Her sweet voice makes me smile. She is so sweet and innocent. She knows nothing of the horrible things that are happening all around her. I desperately want to keep her like that. I don't want her to ever learn of murder, rape, or any other violence. I don't want her to grow up in a world where young girls are forced into sexual slavery.

How do I protect her? How do I allow her to keep her innocence in the midst of all of this?

My desire is to not allow the horrible things I have experienced ever happen to my daughter or any of my children. But I feel like I can't control these things. And control is the one thing I so desperately desire when it comes to my child.

One thing I know is that silence isn't the answer. That keeping these thoughts and feelings to myself only allows the anxiety to fester. But, why don't we talk about it more? Why are we made to feel as if we are failures as human if we struggle with anxiety or depression? Why do I feel like I am failing my daughter?


Rachael said...

What a nice verse you have on the top of your blog. I clicked over from my reader to comment and saw it. Did you know that it's also in Psalm 1?

I think the answer to your question is no. What mom (or person, for that matter) doesn't suffer anxiety at times? I don't think it means you are a failure. In fact, you kept your little girl safe in her high chair and crib when you felt overwhelmed. I'd say that's pretty much a good mom doing a good job of caring for her kids.

Truthfully, we all need a little help sometimes. It probably looks differently for me or you than for another mom, but that doesn't mean we are failures. In fact, God promises us that we will even "bear fruit" in times of drought. Maybe we just need reminders that God is faithful and He is ultimately in control. His promises are good, and we can hope in them when everything around us tells us otherwise.

Emmeline McWilliams said...

Hi - just happened upon your blog from Rage Against the Minivan. I'm a mom who also has struggled with depression and anxiety for many years. Reading through some of these posts has been like reading excerpts from my journals! A book that I received shortly after my daughter was born really ministered to me about fear in my parenting. It's called The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. I highly recommend for parents who have anxiety issues - it has really helped me have a tool to "treat" the anxiety when it flares up in relation to my daughter.