Last month, in my post Allowing Myself to Shop, I told you I was planning to write about some of the struggles I have had since Aspen’s birth 4 months ago. I did write about healing from a c-section, but this post isn’t about my physical well-being. It’s about something much more difficult to heal from…because it is inside my head.
I knew I wasn’t dealing with depression. I’d been there before. This was different. This was outright fear.
*standing over my child, convinced she was going to die any moment.
*not letting anyone else hold her in case she stopped breathing and no one noticed.
*not sleeping because I was watching her breathe.
*keeping the light on all night so I could watch her breathe.
*fearful that my other children were sick and I wouldn’t realize it until it was too late.
*spending copious amounts of time on the internet searching all sorts of “symptoms” I thought I was seeing in my children.
*unable to stay by myself with the children without someone there to distract me from my thoughts.
*wanting to run away from my responsibilities at home so I didn’t have to think about all the things that could go wrong.
Every time I read or heard about something happening to another child, I would internalize it. It would consume me, and I would make it “mine” – as in, I would become petrified that it was going to happen to one of my children.
In order to sleep at night, I would put on a movie or listen to music on the iPad next to my bed so I could shut my brain off.
I could sometimes hold it together during the day, but by nighttime, I was a wreck.
It started when I was pregnant. I had a feeling this was a girl, and while I had always envisioned myself being excited to finally have a girl after all this time, I never expected to be so scared of having a girl. I guess I figured after 7 years, I would have worked through Emily’s death. I guessed wrong.
And then we got a call telling us Aspen needed to be checked for Cystic Fibrosis.
We were told her first test was inconclusive (it was right below the line of “negative” and “maybe”), and she needed a second test. Thankfully, that test was definitively negative, but the 6 week process only added to my anxiety.
Add to all of this the fact that we experienced nearly every major life event all within a few months, and I was drained. I didn’t have much fight left in me.
Right before my 6 week checkup, I decided I had to do something. I couldn’t live like this. A friend, who knew I was struggling, suggested a high-powered B-complex. That’s where I started.
I ordered the exact one she suggested – Seeking Health B Complex Plus – from Amazon with Prime shipping. I was desperate. She thought I’d see results within a few weeks (ugh), but after 4 days, I was feeling MUCH better!
I continue to take this supplement faithfully. I can tell if I’ve accidentally missed a day or two. I knew I had a B deficiency from some blood work I had years ago, but I hate taking pills, and I never felt bad enough to stick with a regimen of taking supplements. Seeing the difference this particular supplement made gave me the incentive to keep taking it!
NOTE: This is currently unavailable. I have decided to take the Active B12 Lozenge from the same company.
Another friend gave me some Peace & Calming from Young Living. I put it on my wrists at night. It seemed to help my brain from tumbling about at night. I’ve also heard Valor helps with anxiety. (note: I am not a YL distributor, nor do I endorse any specific essential oil company.)
Additionally, I learned about bergamot. It isn’t a sedative, so it can be taken any time of day, but it also helps with insomnia, and it is anti-viral, so it is great to have around for cold/flu season.
I purchased this diffuser to use in our home:
It had good reviews, and it is pretty. I needed a little “pretty.” 😉
I also needed to get more sleep. I don’t think we fully realize how much our bodies need sufficient sleep. It’s as if our brains go haywire with a lack of sleep. We get more and more irrational, as we get less and less sleep. The problem with anxiety is that you often can’t sleep, or in my case, you don’t want to sleep.
I really can’t explain why I didn’t want to sleep (and I am still struggling to WANT to sleep), but it isn’t because I’m afraid something bad will happen if I sleep. It’s more a feeling of needing to keep busy.
I know a lot of people suggest melatonin to help with sleep issues, but one thing I learned from the Botanicals class is that melatonin is a hormone and shouldn’t be your first choice. I’ve chosen to use teas to help me sleep. Teas like Earl Grey (which contains bergamot) and Chamomile have a relaxing effect on the body. The Bulk Herb Store sells a Fast Asleep Tea that is safe for nursing mothers (something you need to look out for).
They also suggested valerian, so I’m looking into that too.
To help with my anxiety, I have to be VERY careful what I read and watch. Facebook, blogs, movies, or the nightly news can all trigger fears for me. Prayer requests for sick children can send me spiraling. Movies with certain subject matter can be overwhelming. When faced with someone else’s pain, I have to pray my way through it lest I get caught up in it.
The last thing (which really should be the first thing) I am doing is learning to deal with what is causing my anxiety. Americans like bandaid fixes. We like to treat the symptoms without treating the cause. It’s easier. But, if I’m ever going to fully work through this, I HAVE to face the fear.
I fear what I know. I know what it is like to lose a child. My heart and mind tell me I would never survive it if it happened again. But, the Lord knows my fears. He knows my future. He knows the steps I will be taking on this journey. I have to stay soaked in the Word. I have to keep my eyes fixed on Christ and the Cross.
I’m not through the storm yet. Writing this post wasn’t easy. There is no magic cure-all because we live in a fallen world. But, as I said yesterday, I have hope. Praise the Lord for hope!