I am pretty sure its always been inside of me, just hidden. I have always worried about the weirdest things, for as long as I can remember. back in the day, I would ask my dad to stay awake until after I fell asleep, because I thought nothing bad would happen if I was asleep. but if I was the one who was up the latest, that's when it creeped up.
after getting married and starting a family, it subsided for a little bit. I would still have anxiety at night, especially if John fell asleep before me. I would try and always shut my eyes before him, hoping I would drift off just a minute before he did. when his job required him to live away for 6 months when Mila was just 3 months, I was sad, but knew I couldn't show it. it was bad. I would be awake until 3-4am each night, listening to the sounds of the house and neighborhood. if I heard the strangest sound, I would be pacing for hours downstairs. I would dread bedtime because it meant that I was alone again.
now, 3 years later, I am finally feeling stronger. mentally. but when Mila turned 1, I hit my lowest point. as a parent, you are always worrying. from the time you open your eyes, even when they are asleep. it really is a 24/7 job. but man, I never want to go back to that dark place.
I would sit up at night sobbing (the ugly sobs), petrified. John and Mila would both be fast asleep, and I still would break out in a stress sweat. there were days I didn't leave the house because I was so afraid something would happen to me or the baby. every time I would do Mila's hair, I would turn to John and say, "are you watching? you have to make sure you can do her hair incase I am not here to do it for her". I didn't want to drive with her in the car, I watched her every move, every breath, every bite. I just had this underlining feeling that something was going to happen. being in a crowded place was unbearable too. would someone rob us? kidnap my kid? shoot up the place? I remember calling my aunt one night (who always gives the best advice) and crying to her on the phone. trying to put into words what I was experiencing. I felt crazy when the words rolled off my tongue. I never thought I would be here. I was depriving my child of amazing memories, all because I didn't want to buckle her into the carseat wrong, or go to Target for diapers.
my husband was as understanding as he could be, driving us places and making sure I didn't have a panic attack in the middle of the frozen pizza aisle. but I knew I was the only one who could help myself. I needed to learn that I couldn't "keep us in a bubble". I couldn't allow my mind to be terrorized by my thoughts. and man, this shit is hard.
Mila is now 3, and I recently decided to go back to work. it has helped me tremendously. it keeps my mind busy during the day, and it helps me sleep better at night. I knew that I needed to make a change. I had to find the solution. Mila is thriving, making the best memories and I am happy to say that I am right there next to her along the way. of course I will always have the mom worry, but I try not to let it consume me. I can go run errands, wait in line for 10 minutes and not think the worst. I can drive us to the zoo, park, or the beach, and just enjoy the moments. this is what life is about.
*original date written January 2016