I’m not sure how it happens, but sometimes it’s just there, sneaking in unnoticed. I can’t call it by name at first, but it feels familiar, like an old friend. An old, unwelcome, toxic, ex- boyfriend that keeps coming back around and won’t take a hint.
The other day I read this parenting article on a blog. The article was a how-to on not yelling at one’s kids. I clicked on it because, well, I want to stop yelling at my kids. I sometimes feel anxious and overwhelmed- a surefire trigger for yelling. I don’t want that to be how my kids remember me. I imagine that’s true for most of us, so the author, a momma of four based out of California, writes this:
“When we look back on our own childhoods we don’t really see a lot of specific situations, do we? It’s more of a general feeling. Like a blur. You would say your childhood felt mostly happy or mostly traumatic or mostly lonely or mostly scary. And you might have some specific memories to back up that feeling, but for the most part, it’s a blur. Our kids are going to have that same feeling. What will their blur feel like?” –Allie Casazza
As we put up our Christmas decorations, I thought about my own blur and the general feeling that my kids will remember. I hope that they will look back on these days fondly.
***And preferably, may they not remember the absolutely crazy amount of fighting and crying that ensues daily. On this particular occasion, it was over who owns the rainbow poop emoji ornament. I have no idea. I didn’t even know we owned a rainbow poop emoji ornament.***
Anyway, the blur.
Lately I’ve been feeling irritable and anxious. My fuse is short. The running around, shouting, and non-stop fighting between my boys – all of it is like a giant matchstick right against my tiny fuse, threatening to ignite a bomb and unleash all sorts of damage. My go-to coping mechanism is to just sleep. Remove myself from the matches. There, safe under my covers, I won’t spew out ugly words that I don’t mean. I wont react harshly or cause more crying. Certainly, their blurs will be happier this way, right?
Their blurs won’t be jaded by the severe, angry tone of their overwhelmed mom. But if I just sleep, their blurs might not include me at all. Maybe I’ll just be a blur to them.
Two years ago I was in a much much darker version of this place. Right before my Bipolar and Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnoses, I fought similar thoughts and feelings. I couldn’t cope with my anxiety and anger and sleeping the days away made me feel like a negligent failure. But it was all I had energy to do. I was emotionally bankrupt. On top of that, I felt so deeply ashamed. I felt stuck as an unlovable, undeserving, failure of a mom. I felt paralyzed. I was not at all the mom I wanted to be, and I’d been there for what felt like so long that I thought I was incapable of being anything more.
But now, I know that isn’t true. I know that I feel anxious and that I’m in a low, and that this low won’t last forever. I know some coping mechanisms, though I still resort to sleep too quickly. I know that Satan loves to throw these fiery darts and accusations. But this time, I REMEMBER. God says He is my SHEILD, my REFUGE, my ROCK. He equips us to overcome.
This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. For who is God, but the Lord ? And who is a rock, except our God?— the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.
Psalms 18:30-35 ESV
Maybe you’ve been told that you just need more faith, to pray more, or that you just need to “get over it.” Listen, me too. I’ve heard it all. But the Lord who loves us hears when we call. Ask for help. From Jesus. From a doctor. From your best friend or significant other. Just ask.
And if the person you ask can’t or won’t or just doesn’t help you, then ask someone else. Keep asking and keep advocating for yourself until you get the help that you need. Medication? Counseling? In-patient? Whatever it takes.
Our kids deserve a happy, secure, live-giving, Jesus-filled blur. And so do we. I know that we can give it.
Still not sure if you need help with anxiety? Read this wisdom from another beautiful blogger here.
From both sides of the couch,