The difficulty of anxiety in a relationship

There are a lot of bumps in the road in relationships. Even more so if you have anxiety, depression or any other type of mental illness. Letting someone in to see that part of you can be difficult. And once they do see it, if they accept you….then you feel like you can open up to everyone….which can be a bad idea in some cases that I have just learned.

My husband is great. He is understanding. I became comfortable with my mental illness, in the sense of being open about it and talking about it. Talking about my mental illness in the sense of why I do the things I do. Which can lead to a lot of heartache as I recently found out. I am the type of person who if I know you’re going on a trip, I will want to send you food or snacks to tied you along the way. However, that isn’t always perceived in the light that I want it to and comes across as being stressed or overbearing. And In that moment, those words cut through me like a newly forged blade, hot and sharp. However, my first thought was…how will this affect my husband.

And that is the thing with having anxiety in a relationship. Your fears grow more than just about yourself. Or at least mine has. My anxiety has way surpassed just myself…they’ve grown around my kids, my husband, my mother, my brothers, my friends. Everyone that I care about. That I hold dear to myself. So I am constantly worrying about what I do and how it will affect them. For instance, when I am around my husbands wrestling group. I worry that my anxious ticks, my nervous habits will cause them to look upon my husband in a different light, a wrong one. These thoughts keep me up and worried way past the interaction.

Another issue that I have come to learn about is the fact that it may appear that the ones you love act different around you because they are being protective of your illness. And that, in turn, can cause more damage than good. Because you think that maybe the self that you see with others is their true self and that the one that they are with you is only to protect you. No matter how long you’ve been together. You feel like they’ve never been their true self with you because they’re afraid of how it will affect you.

With all of that together, you worry that it isn’t everyone else. That it is you. That the way they all react or act around you is your fault. That maybe they would have a better relationship or personality if they weren’t burdened by you and the constant worry of your own mental illness. That maybe you should have been better at hiding your illness so that no one knew. That there is something wrong with you.

And that is the issue with today’s world. That we are so ashamed of our own mental problems. That we should hide away our problems from the world to see. That is the stigma and that is why talking about mental illness is so important so that we can break that stigma. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get help or open up about what is wrong. I’ve tried the medication’s the doctors have prescribed and they always seem to have some sort of ill effect. Therefore, I am trying something different. St. John’s Wart. I have been told it is a natural way to help with anxiety issues and mood balancing. So here’s hoping it works.

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People don’t need to understand

Life is hard. For everyone. We all have stories. We all have backgrounds. We all have been thru things. We all tend to over share our stories sometimes. Especially if you’re like me. When my anxiety is on high during social situations… I tend to just talk and talk and talk. I also tend to talk about the things that I have been thru and explaining things that have happened to me. I have been told recently that I actually need to stop doing that because not everyone respects the person that I am or the things that I have been thru.

I usually get anxious, nervous and fidgety in social interactions around people that I either don’t know or am not comfortable with. Then after I leave the situation… my mind continues to over think and over analyze everything that I either aid or did. Then I feel like shit for the rest of the night….and possibly the next day as well. It is a big issue that I am slowly working on fixing. Things aren’t usually as bad as long as I have my husband right by my side. He is my rock. He is my calm. He grounds me in the storm that is anxiety disorder.

My husband is extremely understanding. He is extremely caring and gentle as well as loving. He is an amazing human being. However, not everyone is as understanding. The minute you explain your weakness there will be people out there that will hold that weakness against you. They will use your story, your emotional issues to ruin your life. To hold it over you. There are some people that like to know your deepest darkest secrets to make sure that you will not or cannot be better than them. They will use anything against you.

Sometimes, people don’t need to understand your journey. Your past, present and what you are working on…. that for you. It is not for them. The one thing that I have learned over the years…. is that you have to be extremely careful who you tell your journey to. Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend. Sometimes those who listen the most have the biggest mouths….the worst intentions to use against you. Your journey is for you. As long as you understand it, then that is what is best.

I thought I had a friend once. Well they were my husband’s friends. But I thought they were my friends too. They smiled so nicely in my face. They said all the right things. They were nice when I was around. They got me good too. I fell for their trap. So I opened up. I talked about my journey. I talked about what I had been thru. I talked about what arguments we had. I exposed the weakness in my husband and I fairly new relationship. So much so….that they used these weakness to break up my relationship with my then boyfriend and kept us apart for half a year until my husband came to the realization of the toxicity that they held deep inside them.

You see that is the thing. Some people are toxic. Some people are only looking for the worst in you so that they can use it against you. They want to use your journey to keep you down. To make sure that you are always beneath them. There is something that is often said on Facebook…. Make your moves in private. That way no one can make their intentions known. We bought a house almost a year ago and we didn’t tell anyone other than immediate family about it before we did it. Heck I didn’t post anything about it til we were in our happy home for a month.

There are somethings people don’t need to understand. Some things they don’t need to know. Your journey is yours. And it is just alright that no one but you understands it.

Consumes your mind

There is a saying….what consumes your mind, controls your life.

While there are sayings that can have many differentmeanings… I think that this one is pretty straight forward. If you think about something to the point that it consumes your mind, it will control your life.

It can be quite difficult to fight against this. For instance, with my anxiety…. It controls my mind and my life. It is a daily struggle to not allow anxiety or my anxiety to control my day to day life. Some days I win and some days I don’t.

Some days, fighting my anxiety is all that I can think about. I worry that something is going to happen. Something is gonna trigger a panic attack. There are some nights that my anxiety is so bad, I cry myself to sleep way after the husband and kids have gone to bed.
It is awful.

Then there are some days where I don’t think about my anxiety for even a second.

My hope is that one day… I won’t have to fight every day to keep my anxiety from consuming my mind…from consuming my life. If you have ever had a mental illness, then you how much it can consume your thoughts and your mind.

The key for this woud be to work at this every single day. To find the things that distract you from your inner mess.

I am sorry for the short half sighted post…. I am kind of distracted my MIL had a surgery on her wrist today and I was her ride. Therefore, I haven’t had much sleep and my attention span is very slim

Not okay

You do not have to accept things that you are not okay with. And I know that can be a struggle. Especially when you have a mental illness. for instance, I try to HELP everyone. I try to fix everything. I just do. I also try to feed everyone. For instance, my husbands ended up with two turkeys from his job. Of course we used one for Thanksgiving and I was going to give the second one to a friend who was going to do a community Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, some things came up and my friend couldn’t host the party. Therefore, we had an additional turkey.

So I decided that we couldn’t just leave that turkey in the freezer forever… So I decided, the weather is getting colder… Why not feed my husbands training class some turkey chili. It was pretty banging and the class loved it.

I have fed them numerous times. Because cooking helps me calm down when I am feeling anxious. Because cooking is something I have control over. I can control how something is cooked. I can control the chicken. I can control whether its baked, grilled, fried or boiled. I cannot always control my anxiety, although I am working on that.. But I can control what I cook.

Sometimes I feel like I am a push over and that a lot of people know this and use it to their advantage. Like my oldest brother. For instance, he uses manipulation to make me feel bad for him. As a way to guilt me into doing things for him. Enabling him. Only recently have I built up a back bone and learned that I do not have to accept things that I am not okay with. I am not okay with giving my brother money since I know he doesn’t use it for what he says he needs it for. He usually uses it to buy beer. Because he is an alcoholic. He says he is not but that is just denial. He is pretty much an ass when he is drunk and he knows I cannot stand him drinking or doing drugs and have kept him away from my kids when he is under the influence. Hell everytime he calls me or needs me… I go alone. My kids don’t need to be around it.

It is okay to say no. Honestly, as someone with a mental illness. I need to learn to say no more often. It is okay to not accept things that you’re not okay with. IF it makes you feel some type of way… say no. You do not have to do it. You can say no. If it makes you uncomfortable.. you don’t have to do it.

There is no rule saying that you absolutely have to accet thngs that you are not okay with. For instance, I am not okay with my FIL showing favortism to my oldest daughter and completely ignoring my youngest. He has cancelled quite a few times if my oldest wasn’t home. like coming to see the youngest alone was just too hard. But going to the school to eat lunch with the oldest was easy. Taking the oldest out to eat or to the park or to play at his house was easy. But spending any time with the youngest isn’t something that he can do. And I was not okay with that. And I let it be known that I was not okay with that. It has been almost a year since he has seen the kids. It all could have been resolved if he would have said hey I am sorry, I didn’t realize it was an issue. How can I fix it? But nope. That is not how things go. Nope. A grown man has to play the blame game. Has to blame the kids. Has to bash me to anyone and everyone that listens. Then I find out that he left his first wife not just once but twice. And the first time was when my husband was a kid. He left for someone a lot younger than him. Someone so young, that I am not okay with him being alone with my girls ever again. I am not okay with it and I don’t have to accept it.

I understand a lot of people think ‘hey he’s your husband’s father you can’t just shut him out’. Actually I can. Because my husband doesn’t want to be around his dad or his dad’s wife. They had a pretty awful relationship and I butted in and pushed for them to have some type of relationship. But since this has affect our kids…my husband is not accepting it. He’s not okay with it either and has put his foot down. My FIL actually ran into me at the store and put all the blame on my like I am some type of monster that I made his son do this and a lot of other things. I was not okay with it and I put my foot down.

You don’t have to accept things if you are not okay with it. Even if it is family. Just because it is family does not make things that make you uncomfortable okay. It isn’t. You don’t have to settle or be bullied into anything. Stand up for yourself.. You are worth it.

Nothing to be ashamed

When Chester died, I wrote a lot about the stigmatism surrounding mental illness. How it is very scary to openly talk about having a mental illness. That talking about it is like having the plague.

Seriously, I am still scared to openly talk about my illness because so many people have made it a joke. I have seen a lot of people who experience nervousness over something claim that they have an anxiety disorder However, after whatever makes them nervous, they no longer have a mental illness.

It is like having an anxiety disorder is something to joke about. It makes those of us who really have it afraid to come out with what is really going on.

There is also this type of stigmatism that if you have a mental illness you should be ashamed.. that you’re seeking attention or playing the victim.

We live in a world where it is so hard to have a mental disorder. I have anxiety disorder, panic attacks and mild depression. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am living with this and I am living with it my way. Why should I feel ashamed about it??? Seriously? Why should any of us feel ashamed about what is going on iside of our head. When you have a heart issue, your heart is sick. No one makes you feel ashamed of that. The brain is an organ. It can be sick like any other organ in your body.

Don’t be ashamed of it. Own it. You have a mental illness. And that is okay. If you’re on medication… THAT IS OKAY. Seriously. taking medication for your mental illness is brave. Because you had the courage to seek help. To get help. There are so many who have not been able to drum up the courage to ask for help.
When Chester died, many of those who knew him, came to the forefront to speak out for mental illness. To break the stigmatim. I think that the more that we talk about it, the more it will be accepted as normal. That it is nothing to be ashamed about. Because it’s not.

Open up. Tell me your story. Tell me what makes you overthink. Tell me what your anxious about. Because I am here. I will always be here. As a listening friend. As someone who shares your story. Who understands what it is like to have a mental illness. Who knows what it is like to be made ashamed of my illness. To know what it is like. So tell me your story.

I can’t answer

Honestly, who has voicemail messages these days? I mean as a teenager I used to put music as my message. Or one of those silly hey…..yeah you got my voicemail. leave a message. However, now its just ‘you have reached…..’ That is it. But it should really say ‘NO I cannot answer, I have kids, just text me like a normal person.’ I honestly don’t call unless its for an important reason, school, doctors or an emergency. Everytime I get a phone call from a number I don’t know… I either don’t answer or answer skeptically. And then I can barely ever hear what the other person is saying because I GOT KIDS. Do you know anyone with exceptionally quiet kids? Mine can be… occasionally. Either they’re playing loudly, telling me stories, asking me questions or fighting with each other. Do you really want to hear that in the background? And is it really safe to walk to a quiet place to have said phone conversation?And leave two kids by themselves especially when they’re fussing over the same toy even though they both have the same exact toy??? Nope!

I text everyone. I even text my oldest teacher. She is amazing. She moved up a grade with my kid. So this is her second year with her. She had her for both first and second grade and she tells the parents at the beginning of the year, if you have free texts, I will text you updates and important information. Since I knew we were going to have the same teacher again, said teacher actually sent me the school list in July so that we could beat out the stupid back to school shopping crowd. Yeah she is that amazing. And if they do something amazing i class like meet the Bojangles Chicken….she’ll send photos to us. She is amazing.

I am getting way off topic here. If you need me…..text. Don’t call. Because I am likely going to send you to voicemail and the voicemail really needs to tell you just to text. Heck, I don’t even call my husband unless I need to. Unless I have texted 20 times with no answer…. this actually happens. He is one of those that never pays attention to his phone. so he doesn’t always know when I have texted. I always text with my brother. We don’t have really deep conversations and it is usually about music. or the kids or something like that. However, if he calls…. I usually jump to the assumption that something has happened. He doesn’t ever call me unless it is too much to text or it is an emergency. HAHA so I usually, probably because of my anxious brain, jump to the conclusion something has happened. He works pretty much 12 hours 6 days a week so he doesn’t really have a lot of time to talk on the phone and he has been working this type of schedue for 13 years. So I have always just texted or IM’d him. We are not a big talker. I don’t really call my mom unless it is too much to text or an emergency. We do, however, text and talk every single day. I do face time her quite a bit because the girls love to face time their granny.

But seriously….. We live in an age where you can TEXT. Unless it is an important an emergency please just TEXT me.

Believe

As a parent, you constantly worry if you’re doing what is best for your kid. You worry if maybe you’re being too soft on them, or maybe you’re being too hard. Is your punishments enough to create a sense of better judgement in your kid? Are they ever going to learn how to be successful adults? Are we being their friend rather than their parent? Are we causing too much emotional damage that will cause them to one day tell those stories to a therapist on a couch one day? Are we the reason that they will be spending hundreds of dollars on therapy as adults? Or are we being overly sensitive? Are we being the type of parent that they will learn how to push around to get their way? Does their bad behaviors reflect on who we are as parents?

My kids are under the age of ten and yet I still worry constantly about how I am as a parent and how it will affect them in the long run. My oldest is sensitive. Boy is she sensitive. You raise your voice to her and she shuts down. And cries. She is a big cryer. And I am not saying that is a bad thing. It is great to be emotional and to be able to be okay with your emotions. My husband lack in the emotion department. It has to be VERY big for him to cry. Or to show any emotions. I find myself asking him what he is thinking all the time because his POKER face is just that darn good. Our youngest, however, is the complete opposite of her sister. She is tough. She is brave. She is fearless. She laughs at your raised voice. She snickers at your little pop on the behind and she only cries when she doesn’t get her way. That or she is overly tired. Our oldest is me. I was a sensitive child. Heck I am still sensitive today. And our youngest is their daddy. If you were to put us four in a poker game…..Myself and our oldest would be losing because we would show it on our face. My husband and our youngest would be winning because they could have the best or worst hand on the planet and you would NEVER see it on their face.

We constantly are adapting to this thing called parenting. I think that everyone is. It isn’t something that you’re born with. Kids are never the same. So even though I babysat a lot growing up, I wasn’t fully prepared to be a mom at 19. I did, however, know that my days of being young and carefree were over. It was time to buckle down and make sure that my child had everything and knew everything that I didn’t when I was her age. I find myself explaining things more to her, to them both. Why we do things this way or what this means. Instead of saying ‘Because I Said So’ I try to explain why I said so. That’s not saying my mom didn’t do it. She did. We were always informed if something was going to happen. I remember when my paternal grandfather was sick and in the hospital. I was around 7 or so. My mom took us three kids to the hospital and before we went in she explained that he was very sick and that he probably wouldn’t be going home. That this was probably our last time seeing him. That we should, if we felt like we wanted to, say our goodbyes and tell him that we loved him. She never forced us to say ‘I love you’ to anyone in the family. She always just kind of told us if you feel it. If you feel like you love your grandpa and want him to know it then you should tell him. I did. I told him. Even though I questioned his love for me on a daily basis. He was a weird old man. Who found humor in ripping hang nails off my little fingers or trying to set the stray strings of my brothers pants on fire. He was weird. But so was his son, my father. But I still loved him. He introduced me to Deer Jerky which I still to this day find the best jerky. Growing up in the south, Deer is something you hunt, eat and try ever so dearly not to hit with your car.

However, I think that the most important thing as parents is believing in your children. For every person who believes in themself was a parent that believed first. I like photography. It is one of my joys. It is one of my coping mechanisms for anxiety. I don’t like being the center of attention. there is something about being behind a camera that allows me to feel more confident. Then the editing process. I can spend hours editing photos. In that time…while editing I am calm. My anxiety doesn’t feel as threatening. My mom loves my photos. Especially of her grandkids. She loves how I can get her oldest grandson, who doesn’t smile, to smile. The full face tooth smile. No one else can get him to do that. But I can. My mom is always telling me how good my photos are. And I am usually very confident in my art. However, there is that one person that just ruins everything for me. Said person constantly tells me that another family member is better than I am. Said family member photographed an award show. Said family member is traveling all over to take photographs. I literately have limited my time around said person because I can only stand being told someone is better than me at pretty much everything in life for so long.

My husband is training to be a wrestler. His mom isn’t too fond on it because she doesn’t want anyone to hurt her baby. My husband is an only child so I completely understand that point of view. However, she is always behind her baby no matter anyway. She believes in him. She knows he can do anything and everything that he sets his mind to. That is one of the main reasons, I believe, for why he is doing amazing in his training class. Because his mom first believed in him and now he believes in himself. And I believe in him so much. I swear I am his biggest fan.

So as a parent…even though we all question our parenting styles or whether we’re hurting their emotional growth….the best thing that we can do is ALWAYS believe in them. Because if we don’t believe in them, as their parents, then who will? Who will be their biggest fan when they’re trying something new? Who will be cheering them on when they pass that test? Believe in your kids no matter what and they will grow into teens and adults who belive in themselves. Throughout everything my kids do right or wrong, I believe in them. I know that they are good kids at heart and that they are stil learning, growing and developing. It is my job as a mom to believe in them, nuture them and help them grow into happy adults. Money is great but it isn’t everything and I don’t want my girls growing up thinking that they wil only be happy if they have money. Happy is an emotion not a financial status. I believe in my girls. I believe that they will follow their hearts. That is the biggest greatest thing that I can do as a mom. Is believing in them. I will cheer them on. I will pick them up if they fall. I will wipe away any tears. I will fight with them if they need me too. And I will always FIGHT for them. Because they made me a mom.. The greatest thing that has happened to me.