In fact, I object strenuously and overwhelmingly. It super pisses me off. I am riding a little bit of a rage train.
What about you ask?
Let me give you a little background. My life has been crazy for the last 4 years of single parenting, foster adopting, having my biggest supporters move across country, losing my Dad, working full-time and trying to make my books successful. During that time I fostered 6 kids who I loved like my own. I haven’t seen two of them for almost 3 years. It SUCKS. So damn hard. I worry over and love them still. I adopted three after a roller coaster of years that left me a ball of worry and anxiety. I didn’t believe the adoption would go through until after it did. And then, somehow, we got a little surprise of a baby boy who is dealing with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome issues. Those issues SUCK. It doesn’t mean we don’t love the Bean but FAS is a beetttttccchhhhh!
Not surprisingly seeing the list above, I have been dealing with some anxiety issues. What is surprsing to me as I deal with these things is the shame associated with mental and emotional issues.
In fact, it super pisses me off.
I **SHOULD** be overwhelmed. Did you see that list up there? That’s isn’t a crazy train. It’s a crazy rocket flying to the crazy planet with the new queen of the crazy town. Queen Captain of the Crazy Town, in fact.
That list is, in fact, bull crap. And I’m working on making it more manageable. Because I recognize that it is BULL CRAP. But, as I came to the slow realization that my stress and worries were having physical and mental side-effects (again not surprising), I only did so because one person was willing to help me recognize what was happening.
I think that the reality is that a LOT of people are overwhelmed right now. I think, in fact, that many people either are quietly taking anxiety and/ or depression meds. Or they should consider taking them. And taking them without shame. I think that as a society we ask too much of ourselves. We expect ourselves to do pinterest parties and cook organic kale for our children after we make them bread from wheat we grind ourselves.
What kind of nasty joke is that to play on ourselves?
I saw a post in a parenting group the other day about a mother who had her first child 5 weeks ago. She was still trying to cook, clean, take care of herself, her baby, and her significant other including massages for said significant other. I have no idea if she worked.
But. What. The. Ever. Living. HELL?!!!
You just grew a human being and then pushed said baby out of your vagina. You don’t have to give massages. Or clean your bathroom for that matter. And it’s perfectly acceptable to survive off of cheese and crackers. Cereal is totally fortified. Consider it. If your significant other doesn’t like that–he’s welcome to order pizza or make the kale smoothies. You aren’t responsible for everything.
Because, let’s be honest here, the ideal life doesn’t exist. No one has it. No one. Not without staff anyway. If you have a personal shopper and a chef, by all means, carry on and on about how you and your kids love your kale and organic strawberry smoothie every day. But for me and my house–we eat Wendy’s. Sometimes we eat cantaloupe, cheese, crackers, and lunch meat. I don’t make sandwiches anymore. The kids just eat the meat and cheese off. So why pretend?
Why pretend that we’re perfect? Why pretend that everything is okay?
I have a friend who is pregnant, gestationally diabetic, and dealing with serious health issues with her husband. I have a friend dealing with terrible anxiety. Another dealing with both anxiety and depression. I have a friend who has an autistic child and a child who has horrible anxiety. That sweet thing is tiny and dealing with worse anxiety than I have. I have a friend whose boyfriend is recognizing he has attachment issues. One whose mom and grandma are having cancer scares at the same time. I have a friend whose parents just divorced and it’s rough going. A relative has terminal cancer and is leaving behind little children. My mother has illnesses that no one has even heard of. My sister struggles with infertility. LIFE IS HARD.
Can’t we just admit that to ourselves? LIFE IS HARD.
Why shoot for some impossible ideal? Why worry and stress and expect more of ourselves that is reasonable to expect? And why, for the love of all that is holy, WHY do we not admit that we can’t do it sometimes? Why not just say–hey i’m struggling with depression right now, and I’m working on it? Why not say, I have the stress poops, can’t sleep, can’t focus, and sometimes feel like I’m having a heart attack. Stress is what is doing this to me and therefore I am 1) getting a doctor’s help and 2) expecting less than some perfect, impossible ideal from my life.
When I was going through these things one person told me that they didn’t want to have a mental health record so they weren’t going to get help. What. The. Ever. Living. HELL?!??! Why is society doing this to us? Why are we doing this to ourselves?
As I was going through these trials this year, one person handed me a fast acting anxiety med when I was having a MOMENT and let me see the effect. And thank God she did. Because feeling like myself again for those 3 or 4 hours was heart-breaking and enlightening and just what I needed, and I wouldn’t have figured things out so quickly without her.
I don’t feel shame about having anxiety. I object to the shame others might feel about theirs. I object to a society that tells us we’re less if we have mental issues or physical issues or whatever it is for us. I don’t feel shame about being frustrated with aspects of my life. I have EVERY RIGHT to feel that way. I don’t want those I love who struggle with depression to feel shame about it. My son is on the attachment spectrum. He has no reason to feel shame for his heart and mind having side-effects from the reality of his life. The reality of his life demands and deserves those reactions. Not even John Wayne was John Wayne. And no one white knuckles the hard parts of life without side-effects.
You know what white-knuckling your life does? It leads to sleeplessness, stress poops, lack of focus, depression, haunting worries, and–in my case–the inability to deal with other people’s bull crap. My tolerance for other people’s crazy is low. Now, I don’t mean anxiety or depression. I mean the weird tricks and judgement we pull on each other. You want to mom-judge me for eating Wendys? Suck it.
You want to tell me my books aren’t good enough? Suck it.
You want to make a snide comment about someone I love? Suck it.
You want me to do something extra that I can not possible squeeze into my life and then get upset when I don’t? SUCCCCCKKKKKK it.
There is no shame in being overwhelmed regardless of what the trigger in your life is. You don’t have to have a mile long list. It’s okay to be overwhelmed by school. Or family. Or any number of other things. It’s okay to wear a button that says, leaving the house makes me want to puke.
But. If you feel shame because you have attachment issues, or autism, or depression or whatever.
Stop it. Stop it right now.
You’re okay. It’s okay. These are the side-effects of living. Can we just make a deal? I’ll try to be kind to you. You try to be kind to me? Let’s all just be nice humans. Let’s stop expecting too much of ourselves. Let’s stop seeking the perfect figures and perfect meals and perfect budgets and perfect cars.
My brand new van is a rolling trash heap / carrier of hoodies and school bedding. Because if I don’t bring the laundry inside. I don’t have to do it. And my arch nemesis is LAUNDRY.
But the mountains of clean and dirty clothes aside. How about if we just stop judging each other. Let’s start supporting each other. Let’s not be afraid to say to someone, I can see you’re overwhelmed right now. It’s okay. I am here for you as much as I can be and even when I can’t help you pick up your load, I am loving the shiz out of you.
You got on meds? Good for you. I hope they’re working well for you.
You need insulin? Good for our for figuring it out.
You need your boobs chopped because of breast cancer, I will totally buy you cookies cause who has time to bake? But I am here for you in all the ways I can be.
Why can’t these all have the same level of not-shame?
I am so very grateful to the person who was NOT ashamed of her anxiety. Because without her, I might still be sleepless. Without her, I might still be having to stop to stress poop before work every day. Without her, I might still be staring off into the distance incapable of focusing on my dreams and the mountain of laundry and horror. Without her, I might still be struggling with the little things in my life. Because of her, I went to the doctor. Because of her AND her willingness to speak up, I got the medication I needed and Thank God for it.
I am on Busprirone. I have named it Susy and it’s my BFF right now. Because a few weeks of that drug and some rest and I feel like the Amanda of 5 years ago. Before my life got so stressful. And I really liked that Amanda.
I like this one too. Because I am being a nice human. Even to myself.