It's been a rough week. Really rough. I woke up Monday morning all hyped to send Seth on the bus to school, on that bus that meant I would yet again have a moment to myself to piss and eat and do other things in private and not constantly have a pair of toddler eyes and ears and hands on me at all times. Because as Moms we all crave that privacy, those little moments of "ahhhh peace at last".
But peace didn't come, not even close. I felt an overwhelming feeling of sadness, of loss, of grief and of terror. I wasn't in control. I didn't make every choice for Seth like I had in the past month. What if the school bus got into an accident? What if Seth didn't eat all day? What if they left him in his dirty diaper? What if he was crying and needed me? What if I got sick and I'm home all alone with no one to help??
What the hell was this feeling and why was I all of a sudden feeling it? What was going on? Was I going crazy? Had I finally reached a point that many of my other family members had before me? The large incidence of mental health problems in my family made me very wary and very scared.
Tuesday was even worse. Overwhelming nausea, couldn't eat or sleep, couldn't think straight-just racing thoughts and emotions and emotional outbursts. I was scared, I still am. Because on Tuesday I experienced my very first panic attack, at least the first one I could ever recall.
Panic attacks - when you are in a moment of pure terror, heart racing, hands shaking, can't move or think or speak and you are just stuck in this state. And Wednesday night I went to the emergency room because I couldn't handle it anymore, I couldn't handle feeling like this, this wasn't me, this wasn't Shanna, not at all.
The ER was nice, maybe too nice, they gave me a prescription for Xanax and sent me home, sent me home, the place I was most afraid to be because during the day I was all alone, alone with my thoughts, my feelings, my fears, my deepest darkest demons with no one there to help alleviate my pain or distract me.
Thursday I took said Xanax after waiting 20 minutes at my local pharmacy. They know me well because of all Seth's prescriptions and there I sat, feeling judged, because I had officially snapped, officially needed help, officially admitted that things weren't okay, that I wasn't Superwoman and that I was so desperately tired of trying to be so.
Xanax was bad, it was so bad. It didn't work for me, didn't do anything but make me feel worse and feel scared and really, really tired. So I slept a fitful sleep all day Thursday and prayed for when Drew's mom would come home so she could take Seth off the school bus and I could try to get some normal sleep. And I felt even worse so Thursday night I went to a different ER, perhaps one that would help more than the first did. And they did. They prescribed me an anti-nausea medicine and something called Atarax.
And so what is the point of this post?? I suppose to say that I'm human. In so many ways. And I'm so sick and tired of being strong, so sick and tired of having to deal with everything with a smile . . . so much so that my body gave me physical symptoms to tell me to chill the fuck out, to stop pretending, to let myself cry, to be not perfect and that yes it is okay to feel these things. It's okay.
My son has Down Syndrome and that's hard. Everyone this day and age has financial issues and that's hard. Relationships are hard. Dealing with family members is hard. Life is hard, it's messy, it doesn't yield sometimes. So I yielded.
And so what does this mean for me?? More time. Time for myself to just be, to just think, to do things that I enjoy doing, things that aren't cooking or cleaning or taking care of others. For four years I have spent every moment thinking of others and pushing myself to the side and I can't do it anymore, not physically nor mentally. I'm hurting. The Shanna inside of me is crying out for help and I have to listen to her, I have to support her and tell her it will all be okay. And I encourage everyone else out there who is reading this to do the same.
Because our children will be okay if we don't do therapy with them everyday or if they occasional eat fast food or take out for dinner so we can have a break from cooking. That they won't suffer if we put on a television show for them so we can read our favorite book or go on the Internet. That they still know that we love them, even when we aren't there. That maybe it's okay if they go to grandma's for the weekend and eat junk food and stay up late so we can have a date night. It's important that they have a happy and healthy mom and dad rather than one that does everything for them and gives them of a false sense of parental perfection. Parents aren't perfect and I'm not going to try to be anymore.
This is real and was really difficult to write about. One of my biggest fears is to have any problem with mental health mostly because I know so many people who deal with different issues, whether they are doing great or poorly. I don't want to be like that, I didn't want to accept that I might be.
But we all have our issues, perhaps I have more than most because "life ain't been no crystal stair" for me in the words of Langston Hughes. I've had my fair share of tacks and splinters and cracks that I've tripped up. But the thing is . . . I'm still going up . . . I've never stopped. I've never reached a landing and even looked down. And that's the problem, looking down. Because we can't forget about all of those stairs we've climbed, our legs still feel the strain of climbing them, are still weakened. If we don't stop and rest, we can never reach higher, never climb more stairs. It's time to take a seat at one of those landings and pause to wonder about all of them stairs down there.