Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Hurts

I have to be honest- this week has been a difficult one. Ann Peyton has been off and on sick, we have just been busy with the normal Christmas craziness that everyone deals with, but more than anything, my heart hearts. It feels so wrong to say that at the time of year when I feel like every post or tweet I read is all about hot chocolate and Christmas lights and warm fuzzies. At the same time, we all know that the suicide rate is at it's peak in December. [Y'all, obs, I'm not at that point. Please don't be worried. I'm just saying it's a stressful time for ALOT of people.]

I have tried so hard to really enjoy this month and relax and just be content. It just hasn't happened that way this year. Part of it, like I said, is the stress of a million time sensitive activities that just "have to" be done by a certain time. Getting stressed and overwhelmed by the littlest thing has always been a part of my anxiety. I read something somewhere that said "January is the new Friday" and as much as I HATED to agree, I thought "Yes. Just yes." All that is manageable, though. It's really not such a big deal.

The hard part? The really hard part? Is a bunch of crazy pregnancy hormones that weave together with my already anxious tendencies and basically make me feel like a basket case. I'm going to be really transparent and tell y'all that when I fill out those Pregnancy Highlights and I get to the "what I miss" section, I haven't been completely honest. So, now I'm going to be. There hasn't been a day in the last month or so that I haven't missed, really missed, my anxiety medicine. The stuff that I haven't had since around the time Peyton and I got married, over two years ago. The stuff I got through my grandmother's death without. The stuff I didn't need when I got the shock o' my life and found out I was pregnant less than three months after we got married. The stuff I didn't resort to when Peyton and I had some really rocky times after we discovered said pregnancy.

I definitely go through ups and downs (like everyone) in dealing with anxiety issues. But lately, I feel like it's been more paralyzing than I can remember it being in a long time. I read a blog post the other day about a child who died in a preventable accident (a dresser fell on him) and I called Peyton at work, sobbing hysterically, and insisting we secure all our furniture.

A lady slid on the ice and her car went over on the Spillway last week. It's a bridge that crosses the water going to my parents' house. She was fine, but every time I cross the bridge, my heart races and I get all sweaty. I think about Ann Peyton straped in her car seat and if I could get her out and swim to the top with her, being as pregnant as I am. I think about a time when there will be two children. Would I have to make a decision??? I don't think I could make that decision if I was faced with it.

Tonight, we were at my parents' house and AP toddled off and climbed up their stairs without anyone noticing. They have the kind of stairs that are really "steps" with openings between them and they TERRIFY me. I envisioned a terrible scenario from start to finish and it really nearly made me physically ill.

When I hear stories like this or have these kinds of experiences (which I know EVERY family has) I find myself thinking the most terrible, morbid thoughts. I think things that I wish I wouldn't, that I don't want to even verbalize. Things like how I still haven't taking a video of Ann Peyton saying her own name and what if something were to happen to her and I never heard that sweet sound again? Things like what if I'm wrong to buy all her clothes ahead because what if some tragedy occurred and she never made it to a 3T? {Shutter.}

It is so hard being a parent sometimes. I know I've been blessed with an easy baby. But if she woke up crying every night all night like she did this week? If she whined incessantly and wouldn't touch anything except a few grapes when I offered her countless options like she did this week? If she fussed and got upset whenever I took my attention away from her for even a minute? That still wouldn't be the hard part. This is.

I have said it before, but I will say it again. The thing that makes being a parent the hardest, most exhausting job in the world is the emotional resources it requires.

I feel absolutely crazy a lot of days and I know this is extremely difficult for Peyton, too. For some reason, this week has been harder than most. Though I'm not one to find a devil under every rock, I truly believe that Satan's favorite way to attack me (and many people) is through worry like this. And I know that with all the business and with how tired I have been and with AP waking up a lot due to being sick, I haven't been diligent in my time with the Lord and that surely gives him a foothold.

Thanks for number one letting me share, number two keeping any overly critical comments to yourself, and number three in advance for your prayers if you are willing.


ariel said...

That was a truly wonderful post in it's honesty. I sometimes wonder how parents do it. And by do it, I mean ANYTHING. I get worried if I don't hear from my husband for more than a couple hours, how am I going to handle being in charge of another little person? It terrifies me.

As for the anxiety, forgive me if I missed the post (I think I've read your archives back a year or so) but if it's beneficial to you, why stop taking it? Hopefully that wasn't rude! I'm just curious =)

As for the holidays...I have not felt the "holiday spirit" since I became a big girl adult and moved out of my parent's house. I think it's the lack of children/being a child. I bet yours is precious when she's opening her gifts!!

Sarah Lee said...

Denley, I struggle with the same kind of paralyzing anxiety - It was horrible when I was in high school, and resurfaced in a major way when I had Jack Jack. Almost every thought in this post I have had... I've even called Jack crying about things like falling dressers! And when prayer and devotion hasn't been enough to calm the irrational fears, and the sobs about the what-ifs, I've been on anti-anxiety meds. Just wanted you to know that you're not the only one, and that I will be praying for you.

Sarah Denley said...

Ariel, thanks for your sweet comment!

Your question wasn't rude at all and I'm not sure I have FULLY addressed it. I stopped taking my medicine originally because I didn't feel like I needed it. Then I was pregnant and nursing and although there are some drugs that are okay, I just wasn't comfortable with it.

Honestly, being married to a pharmacist I have seen SO many medications over prescribed for everything from antibiotics to ADD to anxiety. We definitely take medicine when we're sick, but I just would rather not be putting something in my body if I don't REALLY need it. Sorta like why we're considering an unmediated birth this time!

Also, (and this is partly just me being stubborn), I just don't want to be dependent on something (not physically dependent like an addiction, but emotionally dependent). That said, I'm going to try to just wade through this, but if I'm still like this after Brother is born, I probably will get back on it. For one thing, it's just not fair to Peyton or our children to be in this state indefinitely.

David and Kelli said...

Hi, Sarah! I found your blog through Lisa-Jo's "post of posts." What a blessing that was!!!

I am 31 weeks pregnant with our first child (a (beautiful) surprise 7 months into marriage!), and though I've never struggled with anxiety in a chronic or acute way, I feel you on all these things. I swear I turned into a very strange version of myself this week and am praying it out of here right beside you! :) God is so good and I trust He will grant you new peace this morning!!!

I LOVED your letter to AP and am praying the same for our little one! I want him/her to be so in love with Jesus and understand so much more so much quickly than his/her momma :) Thanks for sharing your heart!

Katie Smith said...

sorry to hear you are having a hard time. :( I also have a hard time with anxiety and I've had to seek out ways to cope with it too. I'll say some prayers for you. Hopefully it will get easier! If not, I'd be happy to share some things I've learned about how to deal with these feelings. anytime.

Megan said...

Sarah Denley,

I'm a lurker, but I check your blog daily. Thank you for this post-- I'll be praying for you right now as you struggle with this. My mother has this kind of anxiety and I've started to see signs of it in me (I also had a meltdown over the same dresser blog post and little boy who died this week) and it scares me.
Thank you for writing so honestly.


B said...

I'm another lurker. I don't have kids (but I'd love some in a few years) so I can't offer you any advice or reassurance. Your thoughts reminded me of one entry in another blog I read, though:

(Bad language on the site, though not on this page)

Have you ever tried just plain talk therapy? I go to a counselor at my church for a couple of months at a time when I feel overwhelmed. It helps me a lot just to feel like I'm doing something about it. You're a smart woman with a loving family -- you'll figure it out. :)

Elizabeth said...

I'm sorry you've had a hard week Denley:( There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I was a better mommy. It's a tough job and we all struggle with the different aspects of it. We pray for y'all and please pray for us too. This is a hard time of year. I personally have decided that I'm going to have to let my standards slide. It is so easy to compare yourself with other people and what they are able to do for their families and lose the whole meaning of the season (I'm speaking of myself of course). If Simeon doesn't bake homemade cookies with me this year it is going to be ok. I have to remind myself what is important, like going to church as much as we can and preparing ourselves for the feast of the nativity (for our family). I'm struggling with that as it is.

I think many people are fearful, I certainly struggle with anxiety. When the demons fling nasty thoughts at me I say a very short prayer called the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner. Truly spiritual people (which I am far from) say it all day. It is a helpful way for me to focus on God and away from the evil fears that are flung my way. And it is so short I can remember it anytime. Ok enough rambling. We love y'all.

Katie said...

SD, I take a handful of different medications, and one of them is anti-anxiety. I know what it's like to not want to be taking someting, but I also see what happens for me personally after a few weeks without it (I turn into a crazy mess). To me, it's worth it to maintain it, and it's no different than someone taking insulin or blood pressure medication. If you need it and it helps you, don't overthink taking it.

Don't forget that little ones are made partly out of rubber. They're pretty physically resilient. And Jesus loves little Annie and you. He's watching out for you both (and baby boy, who doesn't even have a name yet!)

"May the LORD cause you to flourish, you and your children." - Psalm 115:14

kelly, said...

Such an honest post!!! We're praying for ya. I have my little girl pray for all the blogger friends when she says her prayers at night. I get stressed over everything and went off my anxiety meds in late sept. Not too bad so far.
I had a co-worker pass me in the hall an hour ago and ask me how me and the kids are doing. I said "good". She seemed a bit annoyed that I wasn't a bit more "perky"m in my answer as its Christmas, I have little ones at home and my life should be so great. Well, it's not always "Perky". Thanks for your post. Love that romper!!

Virginia said...

Thank you so much for this post! You are truly so brave. I feel like we share a very similar struggle with anxiety. I too have experienced really terrible times and really good times where it does not seem too bad. I also went off of medicine to try and manage it on my own and with God. I have been off of medicine for 3 years and there are times where I wonder if it may just be easier to take it again. I saw that another reader commented about counseling and was wondering the same thing. Counseling has been the only thing that has gotten me through without medicine for this long. I strongly, strongly recommend it (this is obviously from a judgement free place- please don't take this as a mean comment because that is not how I intend it) and would love to talk more about it with you if you had any questions. There are a lot of different types of therapy (CBT, structural, family centered etc) and a bunch of different types of counselors (pastoral, social workers, psychologists, counselors etc), so it is important to find someone that is a good fit. Also, try and be gentle with yourself. Sometimes I beat myself up when I struggle with anxiety and think "gosh why can't you just relax! you are fine!" but keep in mind that you are also dealing with a very real hormonal change (pregnancy) so its not just all "you" if that makes sense. Basically, I admire your strength and enjoy sharing your journey. Thank you for being so open.