Welcome to the next installment of Parenting with a Mental Illness. Today I have Kirsty from My Home Truths. She shares a little glimpse into her life with Depression and Anxiety while caring for her three children. If you would like to share your story, get in contact with me via the contact tab above.
My normal is living with a weighty ball of anxiety sitting in my stomach, ready to pull me down at any time.
My normal is worrying about things I can’t control, fussing over hypothetical scenarios and not being able to stop my brain from ticking over constantly.
My normal is not being able to relax, having to move and do something at all times to stop myself from having to sit still and listen to my negative inner thoughts.
My normal is feeling contentment rather than sheer joy; feeling alone even in the midst of a crowd; feeling weighed down by expectation, duty and the daily grind of life.
I live with anxiety and depression. I have lived with these conditions pretty much all my life but I
really didn’t fully understand that for a long time.
It’s my normal. This is the way my mind is wired, the way I process thoughts and ideas, the way I
cope with the uncertainties of life.
Until I became a parent I was undiagnosed and completely unaware. I knew that I had experienced bouts of feeling low but I didn’t realise that they were depressive episodes.
I had always been highly strung; a worrywart; a control freak. But I didn’t realise that my sometimes crippling obsessions over trivial things were symptoms of anxiety.
It wasn’t until I experienced the stress of trying to combine full-time employment with caring for two toddlers and dealing with my son’s special needs that I truly fell apart for the first time.
I came to realise that it wasn’t normal, even for me, to leave work early in tears because of an offhand comment about the accuracy of one of my reports. Or to wake up in tears in the middle of the night, feeling unable to breathe, smothered by bleak thoughts about my son’s future.
It took an emotional breakdown for me to realise that I did have real and life-long issues that I
needed to resolve. Medication, stress leave and psychologist visits helped me emerge from that
episode but five years on and I’m back here again.
I’m learning (slowly) that I also need to find time for me and find ways to “switch off” so I don’t fall back into the abyss. I am my own worst enemy – I always seem to put myself and my needs last on my list of priorities.
But I have come to realise that I do need to start putting myself first and that I shouldn’t feel guilty for needing time to myself. I need to stop listening to that insidious inner voice that whispers that I’m selfish and bad for needing a break and just do it.
Maybe then that insidious inner voice will finally leave me alone…
I will always have stress in my life. I will always be a mother, a worker, a wife, a carer, a friend, a
daughter and a sister. I will always worry and fuss and overthink things.
However, I now know that it’s up to me to recognise when things are getting out of control and to find the strength to admit that I need help to get back on track.
It might have taken me over 30 years to realise that, but I guess it’s a case of better late than never!
A little about Kirsty:
Hi, I’m Kirsty. I’m a mother of 3, wife of a big kid, worker, carer and blogger. I always have way too much on my plate but I am learning to juggle with the best of them. I use my blog to vent, laugh at myself, raise awareness of autism and albinism and to pretty much just crap on. Because in the end it’s all about me – my life, my stories, my truths.