I will preface this post by saying this is about my personal journey. It is about what I knew I had to do for myself. Happy reading.
Over Christmas Break, my anxiety level rose to a level that I could not compensate for. Normally I would do things to calm myself down such as work out, have a glass of wine when the kids went to bed, or go for a walk, but these things did not work. I am an emotional eater, that’s one thing that I’m great at, eating. Things were spiraling out of my control and no matter how I tried to put a happy face on my feelings, I was anxious, I snapped at everyone, and I just couldn’t handle the stresses that were occurring in my life. It was not about the ending of my relationship, it was not about finances, it was about the stress of being a single parent and there’s three of them and one of me. I found myself one particular day in bed all day aching with a headache and the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest. As the Christmas holiday came to a close and the kids returned to school, my son broke his bed, behaviors were at an all time high, my 14 year old was screaming for my attention, and things just fell apart. My close friend C called me this particular day or maybe I called her for some unknown reason that is a blur and I fell apart. I knew this was not me. This is not what I do. I’m the fixer, I find a way to compensate and move forward. I knew that my semester was starting soon and that my time was going to be even more limited so I scheduled myself to go in to my doctor to talk about how I was feeling and I knew that I had some sort of viral infection that was not going away, and when I told Dr. G my family make up, my stress, and how I felt earlier that week and she prescribed Prozac.
I’m not a med taker. I’m not a fan of taking pills every day. I prefer to try to find natural ways to make things work. I prefer to find natural ways to relieve my stress. I took my doctor’s advice and began the course of medications including a sleeping pill because my sleep pattern was terrible, and after night one, I felt worse than I did without the meds. I discovered after two days that it was the sleeping pill that was making me feel so bad and ended up cutting the dose in half and still feeling like crap. But the Prozac once I started taking it nightly, my emotional eating stopped. I began to lose weight, feel more focused, and feel less anxiety. I began to care less about the things that I can’t control and more about the things that I can control that have a direct impact on my life. Some of you are going to have something to say about this, oh well, you handle things in your way and I handle them in mine. Am I crazy, gosh yes, I have two kids on the Autism Spectrum, one with a mood disorder, appointments coming out of my nose, school schedules, work schedule, an ex-husband, my youngest daughter’s father, my mother, my sister, nieces and nephews, friends, and bills. Yes, I’m crazy and trying to keep up. Am I insane? No, by no means am I insane. I am a mom that has found that I put too many things on my plate at one time to really give everything every ounce of my time. The cloudy way that I felt over Christmas break, I no longer feel. The anxiety that I felt, I no longer feel. The emotional eating that I engaged in has ended and I’m making healthier choices in terms of eating. Now will I say that Prozac is the end all be all, no, not at all. It takes the mindset of realizing what your distractors are and eliminating the things that are not important. Writing is cathartic and helps. I journal at least once a week about what is going on in my world. Some of it finds it’s way to these pages.
I admit that I had a problem dealing with my stress and I buried it in food. I had an issue dealing with things and I would turn to a cheeseburger or get frustrated beyond belief and hold it in until I exploded at anyone. I get frustrated now, but I handle it in such a different way. Can I say it’s the meds? Yes, my mind is not clouded with the emotions of that I felt and the lack of being in control. I now feel that I compartmentalize better than I did six weeks ago. When my life is spiraling, I am no good to my children and I realized this and did what was necessary for me to survive, notice I said for ME to survive. Everyone’s coping mechanism is different, but sometimes, in my case, my coping mechanisms stop working and I had to find another way to deal with things. Do I ever see myself without the medication? Yes. When? I don’t know. That is for Dr. G and I to discuss at a later time, I just know that it’s not right now.
I put this out into the Internet Universe because I hope that my words can help that mom that is dealing with the anxiety of the day to day and is being told in the Southern way, “You just need to pray more” or that there’s nothing wrong with her. I hope that that mom that feels like she has to be supermom knows that she really does not have to be super anything. Take time for yourself because if you don’t take care of yourself, who will take care of your kids? If it’s just you in your house, take the moment when your kid goes off to school, when he or she takes a nap, when you have a moment where they are entertained by Dora or Sesame Street, sip your cup of coffee slowly and think about the important thing, taking care of your children and if you are doing any good to them in your present unrest. A sleepless mom is a tired mom. A frantic mom is a tired mom. An anxious mom is a pipe bomb waiting on some one to set it off by touching it. We are already super moms to our kids; we just need to impress them and no one else. Take that moment to go through and think about what you feel and if you are accomplishing anything in your present state. I know I wasn’t. My reasoning was cloudy, my focus was off kilter, and anything made me cry or yell or scream. I don’t like feeling like I am just existing to be the bear that just needs a little poke. Do what you have to do to make sure that you are alright for you and your children. This is not a commercial for Prozac and your doctor may come up with something different. Trust that your decision is yours. Sit down with a medical professional and get those feelings out.