This one may be a hard one to read, as it was a hard one to write. It will be long, perhaps drawn out, but I felt like these thoughts needed to be documented.
Right now, I feel like the world is in shambles. People are dying everywhere, people are sick, people are out panicking, and everything is closed due to the coronavirus running rampant across the globe. Through all of the chaos and heartbreak the world is going through at the moment, I am very thankful that my boys and Aric are at home, safe and sound, with me.
We have done a lot of things that we normally do not have time to do; watch movies, we attempted a 1000-piece Thomas Kinkade puzzle, we have shared lots of laughs, we have done a ton of Pinterest crafts, we’ve eaten a lot of food, and we have drunk a lot of wine. We have been on walks and even drove out to the coast to let the boys run around and splash in the water.
Times have definitely been weird due to the coronavirus. I have gone from a full-time working mom, taekwondo 5 days a week, only having Rowan at home when I wasn’t working, to now cooped up inside all day long. Washington loves us so much that the weather immediately became crappy as soon as the shelter-in-place order came down. Though I am eternally grateful for my family’s health and some much-needed quality time with them, there are some not-so-great aspects that I have personally encountered with all of the changes.
I debated whether or not to even write my words down, because part of me was afraid I may look self-centered or tone-deaf in the middle of a global crisis. However, my goal is to always be transparent in my life, whether it is good, bad, or ugly, in the hopes that I can relate or touch someone who is reading along.
Long story short: for as long as I can remember, I have suffered from crippling anxiety and depression. I can remember back about 20 years ago, after my parents split up, laying in bed constantly worried about insignificant problems at school. Like being 8 or 9 years old, unable to sleep, thinking I would not have enough time to read my library books. So worried, I would go wake my mom up in a panic. I have constantly worried. That has been a steady part of my life. In high school, I can vividly recall having these aching stomach pains, cold sweats, and just a general sense of nervousness, that I now know is anxiety.
For about 10-11 years, I have been on and off antidepressants between my pregnancies, changing health insurance, you name it. But, since moving to Washington two years ago, I knew I needed to get my life together and take initiative on improving my mental health. I have been on several different medications and dosages over this time period. I have tried CBD oil, I have tried changing my diet, exercising, and just about anything else to get in control of myself. On one medication, I gained 30 pounds which only made me feel worse about myself. Then I lost the weight with another medication, but the next one, while helping me get the well-deserved sleep I needed, made me tired ALL.DAY.LONG., and sweat profusely. You name it, I have probably tried it or have experienced it.
In the last few months of my posts, there has been a constant reference to hard times revolving around Aric’s deployment to Korea. I have never in my life felt as low, in regards to my mental health, as I did when he was about halfway through the rotation. I had just upped the dosage on the latest medication, Maksen was on summer break, and I felt virtually alone. Aric was having a rough go at it and could not be the support I needed him to be. Eating was hard, sleeping was difficult, but getting out of bed every morning was even harder. I felt like the worst mother ever to the boys because I was so unhappy. I was sitting there watching my life slip past me, completely aware of what was occurring, yet, I was absolutely unable to shake it off. I will spare you all of the ugly details, but I knew I had to make a change or I would not survive this.
And I did. I had to.
I have too many people depending on me and I had to pull my shit together and fix my life.
By no means am I “cured” or over my anxiety and depression. I have come to terms that I will most likely always be a highly depressed and anxious person. God bless my family for dealing with me. I just have to find better ways of coping, knowing I have to reach out for help when I am struggling (even though it is super duper hard), and continue to ingest a good cocktail of medications.
Sleep is still something that is incredibly hard for me. I may never know what a “normal” sleep routine is like. Getting out of bed some days is extremely difficult and I cannot even complete the smallest of tasks. I still have a strange relationship with food that may also always be a constant in my life. However, I am trying to embrace that this is just a part of who I am and what makes me, me; even though some days I wish I lived a more “normal” life where I felt carefree, content, and happy. Alas, that was not the hand I was dealt.
Now, you are probably wondering how this relates to the coronavirus epidemic. Well, with the self-quarantining measures and now the shelter-in-place order, I have been forced to completely alter my life. I do not like staying indoors constantly. I love long walks through Target and Marshall’s. I love taking Rowan to the park. I love being at work. I love being active. and while I am enjoying some much-needed family time, my mind is extremely busy. Sleep is becoming harder to come by. Getting out of bed at a reasonable time seems impossible. My thoughts are racing, full of anxiety and worry. I worry about our country, my family, and worry for Aric if something crazy ends up going down. I worry for my Texas family, I worry that all of a sudden I have become my son’s full-time educator and I am responsible for his education during this time.
Maksen is the youngest kiddo in his class. His birthday falls one day before the age cutoff date. He has had a tough year with Aric being gone, Aric coming back, his teacher retiring within the first month of school, a handful of long-term substitutes, a new teacher, and now missing school for at least 6 weeks. Maksen could not afford to be behind, so now, Aric and I have considered having him redo 2nd grade next school year.
This has caused me a great deal of stress, as I am not a teacher, and I fear that whatever I do at home will not be adequate enough for him. I feel myself descending down a slippery slope with being so isolated, stressed, and overwhelmed. I pray every single day for the health of our country and that life can return to a sense of normalcy soon. But for now, we are watching phonics videos on YouTube, working on worksheets provided by the school, coloring, cooking, making slime, and playing Operation. Maksen is practicing taekwondo in the living room, thanks to his wonderful instructors for making videos for them to practice at home, and we are just trying to make it through our days. Puppy snuggles sure do help too!
Some days are harder than others, many are more difficult than easy, but I am fighting every single day to be the best version of myself that I can be while smiling through the pain, no matter how hard it can be.
Mental health is such a taboo topic that people like to dance around, as if something is “wrong” with you, or immediately think that you must be suicidal. These stigmas do not define someone who suffers from anxiety or depression. I have always had a hard time opening up to people about my mental health for these reasons, as well as I did not want those around me to pity me or think I was playing the victim card. As I have gotten older and more comfortable in my own skin, I have realized how harmful staying silent was for me, as well as those around me. While I am no mental health ambassador or expert, I am somewhat knowledgeable on this topic and I strive to be a safe space for everyone.
I struggle every day, but I have come to terms that I do not have to struggle alone. I can ask for help. I can lean on those around me. I can do this. And most importantly, I have learned that it is okay to not be okay. We all struggle in our own ways, ways that many could not even begin to fathom. This is why we must be nice to everyone, all of the time. You never know if that smile you gave a stranger made their day and got their mind off of a conflict in their life.
Being kind is cool.
Check up on your strong friends. They even need help and support sometimes too.
I am always grateful to have the opportunity to have a platform to express myself, be transparent, and receive so much love from all of you guys. I hope that if anyone reading this is currently struggling or has struggled in the past, I am always here and willing to be a safe place to talk. I will always have time to be a shoulder to lean on and have an ear to listen. Please do not ever hesitate to reach out if you need it.
And if you are the praying type, please lift up those around you, those that have been affected by this horrible virus, those that are in the healthcare field, and those that you know may be struggling right now. I fear the worst is yet to come.
I pray that everyone stays safe, indoors, and healthy while we ride out this storm.
Stick around for more updates on activities and recipes over the coming days.
Love to all! -SB
P.S. I made a new Instagram account that I am uploading all of my food videos, food pictures, and all things in relation to my blog! It is @thequeenbee.sb