Monday, April 4, 2016

Anxiety, Depression, and Motherhood

*Featured guest blogger: Amanda from The Mom Next Door*

A lot of mom's suffer through anxiety and depression, but very few will willingly admit to it. For whatever reason, we seem to think that our disorders make us bad parents or that we somehow have failed our children. I feel that way often enough as it is (don't we all?) without the "help" of my anxiety and depression. 

I've suffered from both since I was a young teenager, but you never really realize how much it effects your life until you are an adult and especially when you have children. My anxiety keeps me from doing a lot of things, like driving, getting a job outside of the home, making appointments, and even going places. The thought of doctors appointments and IEP meetings give me panic attacks and calling to order a pizza is a chore. Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who helps me through it all. 

Some days things are great, and I feel like taking my kiddos for a walk and are on top of the world. Other days, I can barely get out of bed. I can't finish housework. Dinner either gets on the table late, or I'm ordering a pizza because I just can't roll myself out of my blanket burrito and off the couch to make dinner. I have complete breakdowns on occasion and cry. Sometimes it's for seemingly no reason at all, other times it's because things have just piled up so much that I eventually break. I've locked myself in the bedroom or the bathroom and just cried. The ups and downs are worse than a roller coaster ride and being a mom of two, one with Autism, there hardly ever seems to be a straight stretch of track in sight. You know what really gives me hope though? It's when my kiddos come crawl in bed with me and accept that sometimes, mommy has bad days. They know it's not their fault. We talk about it often. I want them to know mommy isn't down because of them and I want them to know that later in life, if they have to suffer through anxiety and depression themselves, that it's nothing to be ashamed of. However, it's also not healthy to just let it come and wreck you and leave you to pick up the pieces. 

It's important to take time for YOU!

It's not going to hurt to turn on Netflix and let your child binge watch a show or two so you can have 15 minutes to yourself. Take a relaxing bubble bath, read a good book, sit outside while it's nice out and just enjoy the beauty of life. 

I can't let anxiety and depression take over my life, and neither should you. I do a lot of breathing exercises, I use a lot of calming essential oils, and I take full advantage of relatives offering to help out either with the kids or with the house. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you realize that you still have to be a mom and not rely on others to raise your children for you. You just need time to breathe. I realize this is much, much harder for single mom's. But you single mom's need time for yourself just as much, if not more, than the rest of us. Even mom's without anxiety and depression need time for themselves. Trust me, it's worth the fight in the end. Your children need you to be as healthy as you can be and you will feel proud that you didn't miss out on things because you took the time to take care of you! 

I want to encourage you to reach out for help if your anxiety and depression get beyond your control. There's absolutely no shame in getting help so you can be there for your kiddos. If you feel like you are too overwhelmed, please contact your primary care physician and make an appointment. If you are having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself in any way, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They have trained professionals available to help you 24/7. Being a mom is hard, and sometimes the best thing we can do for our kids is to take care of ourselves and ask for help when we need it.  

Amanda is the writer and creator of The Mom Next Door, where she does product reviews, giveaways, and writes about the everyday life of a nerdy mom. She loves Disney, reading, cosplay costuming, going to conventions, and meeting new people. 

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