Many moons ago in my naive and innocent youth, I had a vision of what my life would look like. It involved working at a job that I loved, beginning at the bottom in administration and moving to the top and managing an office. It involved being married to a wonderful man and having 3 perfect kids, the two boys would come first then we'd have our little girl. They would all behave so well and make us so proud. We'd take family vacations together, not anyplace extraordinary because we still would keep it simple, but we'd travel to new places and explore this world together, as a family. We'd live in a smaller house out in the country. We'd wake up and have deer outside our windows waiting to be fed. Life would be perfect, everyone would be healthy and happy and we would live in our naive little state of mind.
But that isn't how life goes. Given, I did marry a wonderful man and we have a daughter who makes us incredibly proud and love her to bits, we also have the small house, just not in the country. Everything else was a dream. My vision did not include burying Ty and Jacob. It did not include the devastation and life changing way those events brought. It did not include being diagnosed with ptsd, social anxiety, general anxiety and separation anxiety. It did not include a barrage of health issues due to these mental illnesses. It did not include constant nausea, relentless headaches, horrible heartburn, physical and debilitating pain almost everyday,
It did not include living off one income and barely being able to survive off of that. It did not include horrific pain from cavities that cannot be filled because it costs too much. It did not include having to have a little one at home every single day without a break because even one day at day care costs too much. It did not include having things broken and not being able to fix them because it costs too much.
It did not include constantly feeling like a failure as a parent. It did not include huge self doubt, guilt and shame at the mom I am. It did not include the hard days of parenting, the exhausting days, the days you feel like giving up and sitting on the couch all day watching movies eating whatever we wanted because thats all I could handle. It did not include going to bed many nights crying because you feel like a big piece of shit in your parenting moments for that day. It did not include having to watch and see how everything is affecting your child and feeling so fucking helpless because even though you try, you still feel like a huge failure and know there are many areas of improvement.
It did not include the additional family planning decisions. It did not include giving away all of our baby things because we swore we were done after Bee. It did not include that 4 years later, as a family, we decided that maybe, just maybe one more family member would make us complete. It did not include that when we all finally reached that decision it wouldn't be possible. It did not include that wanting another baby and the current situation do not mesh. It did not include having no prescription coverage, which is one reason another baby and the current situation do not mix because 3 months of medication I have to take costs close to $1000 without coverage. It did not include having to replace all of our baby things because we were naive back then.
It did not include the guilt, the anger, the madness at ones self for not being able to work to help with the costs. It did not come with people not understanding you simply cannot just go to work or go and do things. When one is struggling so heavily at home, being overwhelmed with just living day to day, it is out of the question to pile more on.
It did not include how long it may take for something to get done because your mind can't focus. It did not include not being able to remember things. It did not include forgetting many times to put the clothes in the wash machine once it starts so it doesn't run an empty load. It did not include walls and doors being half painted because you just can't do it some days, it physically hurts and you rather that not happen add on the overwhelmed feeling you have knowing how much has to get done and then your mind goes and its back to getting nothing done because you are walking around in circles again. Which in turn causes more stress knowing there is a lot to get done but being limited in ability and money. Its a vicious circle because then comes the guilt of not being able to work right now.
While it may not include many of my dreams and visions of many moons ago, it does include some. It's not to say none of my dreams came true. I have an amazing daughter and we have our own roof over our heads.
I think a lot of people fail to recognize the financial burdens mental illness can bring. Not all of us can just go get a job and go back to work. Our minds don't work like that. I am currently unable to work a "real" job, which is why I started my company, to try and help in whatever way I can. Its the reason I know I need to finish my book. I am motivated, I don't just sit at home, in fact it's very hard for me to sit and do nothing. I'm always doing something. We have so much to do around the house I am very overwhelmed and when that happens I walk around in circles because I can't focus, I can't concentrate, I can't get stuff done. This is on my own time, with no responsibilities or timelines or having to deal with other people. I can't even handle being at home some days. First and foremost, Bee. My number 1 job is to take care of her. Some days it's all I can manage, some days I do find energy to do a bit more, but the key is its on my own time. It's the reason I keep our schedule fairly open. I feel so pressured and start to panic and feel stressed when I have commitments to get to. I was sick to my stomach last week with worry and fear over something not even that big but it shut me down for days. I laid on the couch with Bee and we watched TV and did pretty much nothing.
Life can be a struggle day in and day out, a lot of people without mental illness fail to recognize that there is so much to it. It is so compounded in a million ways that it poses new challenges almost every day. I never envisioned my life like this. I hate the anxiety, I hate the panic, I hate the constant fear and worry and it is so exhausting trying to stay level and stay positive and deal with all the emotions that come throughout the day. It doesn't make me who I am, it controls me at times. There are days and even sometimes weeks when things are okay and I control it, I put it in it's place but there are days when that doesnt happen and I struggle. It's hard to ask for help.
Its hard to ask for help for most people, the ways we ask may not be heard and we are left to struggle deeper. Look for the subtle cries in the statements, someone simply saying I am overwhelmed can be their cry for help. Over the years I have become better at asking for help, my help is arriving after she vacations in Florida. I finally reached the point I had to ask for help and do it. Sometimes the help isn't there, sometimes the help doesn't come and people are left to struggle even more. It can be a tricky balance.
Mental health is finally starting to get the talk it deserves, just like pregnancy and infant loss. People are breaking the stigma and thats why I blog. I may be good at faking it but deep down, I struggle just like the next person. But I want them to know that they aren't alone. Sometimes all it takes is talking to someone who gets it. Sometimes its seeking help. Sometimes its taking medication. Sometimes its baking, doing yoga, going for a walk or hike, listening to music, taking a hot bath, treating yourself to a hot beverage topped with marshmallows, whipped cream and candy cane. You do what you have to do get through the day and as you lay your head down in bed at night, you simply whisper, I hope tomorrow is a better day. Hope, it's the one thing I refuse to give up. It may be hard to find somedays but it's keeping me going and motivated.
Hope for health, hope for better parenting, hope for financial security, hope for safety, hope for life, hope for travel, hope for prosperity, hope for dreams and wishes to come true, hope to expand, hope for our cats health, hope for motivation, hope for energy, hope for love, hope, hope, hope. Hold on to the hope.