recovery

An Open Letter to Doctors: Stigmas Are Negative Messages

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Stigma (Noun) Defined:

“A set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something.”

Dear Doctors:

I understand your profession requires skill, strength, patience, and dedication. I am in no way undermining your work or your place in my life and the many things you have done to save me. Yet still, I wish to write to you openly today to express my sincere sadness, anxiety, and humiliation over recent treatment I received in the medical field because I am part of a stigma.

If you have not yet read my Pathway to Freedom, I encourage you to do so.

My struggle with opiate dependence and my journey to recovery has been no secret. I chose not to hide behind the curtains of secrecy that often come with facing a chemical dependence on prescription pain medications. I have sought therapy and help with my anxiety associated with parting ways with opiates on a regular basis. I have become a bigger and better person, I am stronger. My entire blog is dedicated to my journey as well as to mental health in general – relating to others, helping others, listening and offering support.

Just recently I came down with a weird set of symptoms that I could not define. Severe back pain coupled with another severe symptom I would rather not blog about.

Oh do not laugh – I know I blog about EVERYTHING – but for the sake of those who may be eating dinner, let’s say, mine was not exactly staying in – severely. This continued for two weeks.

I am new to my area. I moved here to be closer to family in September 2013. I have an OBGYN here, a pain management doctor that I parted ways with recently, a therapist, and a psychiatrist. I had yet to find a primary care physician and decided this time around instead of spending hundreds of dollars at the emergency room or at urgent care – I would finally make a relationship with a family doctor.

Their introduction was fantastic. They were kind, fast, and very attentive. My lab results were in within 24 hours. I was called personally. Another set of labs would take longer – but I would be informed, they said. At no time during this appointment did I request any narcotic pain medication. I simply asked for answers.

Upon finding out that my results were all negative for anything major – the back pain was so severe and the other symptoms continued so I sought out the help of the emergency room for a catscan. These results were negative for anything that needed immediate attention. I called my new doctor and let him know and asked him for other suggestions. I then saw a stomach doctor as well as an orthopedist. During these visits it was discovered that I have a severely sprained back that is causing continuous muscle spasms. It’s possible I have a torn disc in my lumbar region and my entire insides below are simply traumatized. Once again, despite the pain, I did not ask for and was not prescribed any narcotic pain medication.

Color me shocked when yesterday – a courier stopped by my door. It was no sooner than the orthopedist that my primary doctor referred me to found the sprain and other issues – that this letter came into my hands. It was from my new primary doctor. It read, in a nutshell, that my previous records had been obtained and my prescription history reveals I am known as a “doctor shopper” – an “addict” and am no longer allowed at their practice or to be treated at any of their facilities in the city.

I just about fell over.

I have never once in my life doctor shopped. I am very much against this practice. My previous medications were obtained legally and for medically proven specified reasons by the same set of doctors at the same practice. While I did go through withdrawals upon stepping off the medications this is not uncommon for a patient who has been on such high doses for such a long period of time. Within the letter was a flyer to a recovery center “go and seek help” it said. Funny it was the same recovery center I went to in December to be evaluated to be sure I did not need any further treatment or to see if I even qualified as an addict at all.

Allow me to digress but the results from the addiction specialist confirmed that I am not an addict nor do I have any addictive tendencies. My prescription records were scrutinized for 3 hours as was I before this determination was made.

My question to you is – why would you ever trash a patient like paperwork through a shredder without asking them for an explanation? 

You are subjecting innocent people to the biggest problem: a stigma.

I believe this sends a negative message. Denying medical care to a person without questioning or further investigating what you see on paper is very irresponsible, humiliating, and heart breaking to a patient who – since you never asked or cared enough to know – worked very hard to get to this point. I also forgot the part where I asked you for narcotic pain medications.

Is it because I came into your office and said I was in pain? Because I told you I was making you my primary doctor that you went and got all my records and jumped to a conclusion without going straight to the source – or for that matter, allowing an ailing patient to defend herself?

It is very disturbing to me that patients can be so easily ignored and kicked to the curb by medical professionals that are supposed to protect them. While I did not disclose my previous history to you in my appointment – it is because I am still learning to trust medical professionals after my recent experiences. I wanted to build a rapport and have you understand and know me before I opened up to you. This is quite possibly my fault – I’m sure, because you are not emotionally attached to me and you had never met me before that day, that you automatically assumed that I fall into the same category as those who abuse the system in order to obtain controlled prescriptions for recreational use.

I am not one of these people.

Your snap judgement has caused me heart break, anxiety, and distress that is truly unnecessary. It is a very lost and lonely feeling to know that a doctor you were trying to use as your family provider no longer wishes to provide to you based on a stigma – without any defense from an innocent patient.

While I did take up this issue with the Executive Director of the practice in question and with the doctor himself – I am writing to all doctors that work in any field where this may be an issue. It is one thing to tell a patient that because of their history you cannot provide controlled medications – yet you can still treat them in other ways.

It’s another to completely kick a patient out of your facility based on paperwork. I am a human. I am further than words, prescriptions, and whatever other reports you obtained that may have painted me in a light that you did not appreciate.

Through it all, I never have requested any controlled medications from that practice or any other provider. Would it hurt you so bad to bring a patient in on your precious time and ask them to elaborate? Is it truly against your will to find compassion because I thought that was part of your oath you were asked to take when you became a doctor?

Holding patients as stigmas causes such negative feelings of humiliation and distrust. I now have to search for another provider and am worried, scared, and anxious I will never be able to receive treatment for true problems because of a difficult past that I worked very hard to correct and to be frank – I was never wrong or abused the system in the first place.

I beg you to question yourselves as you practice each day. While I understand you keep emotional distance from your patients – it does not mean that you cannot dig deeper to better understand the measures a patient has taken to willingly fight a very difficult disease that, in my case and in many, is involuntary.

Please do not subject innocent women like me – innocent men, adults, adolescents, to feeling as though they are so abnormal that you cannot even treat them for a simple sinus infection, or perhaps give a simple referral because I need to see a doctor that is outside of your scope of study. Allow patients to feel welcome, understood, and above all: not judged.

I never got a phone call, an office meeting, or a personal voice message. I got a typed letter that was clearly copied from a template with a scribble of a signature on the bottom. This completely hurt my feelings and makes me question the integrity of doctors in the medical field who claim they are all for supporting patients in every way – including recovery.

This is not supportive or understanding – this is judgmental, unfair, and will affect me greatly now and in the future as I learn to work forward from this. This could affect anyone who may not have been as strong or in the position as myself to be able to recover at the pace that I did. You should reach out your hands – never take them away and leave your patients feeling desperate, uncared for, and worthless.

I never lied to my new doctor. He, however, lied to me when he said he was happy to have me join the practice.

That could turn any person in need of help into such a shameful place that it may have more negative effects than you ever intended.

I hope this message gets across to as many doctors as possible. I understand you hold high standards because you are licensed. I realize that others hold you to that standard and you are monitored- yet the realization is, people who have fought addiction whether it be now, in the past, or in the future – are still human beings with souls. We are far more than statistics – and a piece of paper or file folder you can just shred and throw away.

Let that be a lesson taught that maybe a patient can teach you – rather than you teaching the patient. Sometimes we’re wiser.

Because we’re people too.

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My Heart Unlocked: The Key

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Love can teach you many lessons.

I have suffered with anxiety, depression, and self-esteem issues for many years. These issues date back to around spring of 1998. I have been through several major relationships – one of which ended in a broken marriage. Following divorce depression can become especially overwhelming. I had already been suffering for a year and a half prior to our separation due to postpartum depression stemming from the birth of my daughter in May 2009. The darkness I exuded brought so much despair that eventually – my ex husband decided to leave.

My life seemed to begin over again. Here I was living alone with racing thoughts and questions: how did this fail? I wondered had I ever really been in love – why had this gone so awry  … it was at that point that I said to myself, and believed, true love really did not exist.

In April 2012, on a chance encounter, I met my now husband, Joe. My heart was dead bolted. Locked. My soul was marked with a “No Trespassing” sign. I was still struggling with my esteem. I felt rotten, ugly, like I had completely been doomed to never feel the essence of true love. I was faced with a man that I instantly recognized had the type of strength I had always dreamed of. Here before me stood a Veteran, divorced himself, who had also survived cancer and had three children himself. His intelligence immediately sparked my interest. I consider myself a very smart and talented lady in a lot of respects – but his intelligence was not condescending. I was used to the type of man who would patronize me by making me feel as if my quotient of wisdom was stupidity, not knowledge.

Joe and I talked for hours each day. This man understood and got to the bottom of the deepest pits of my inner demons so quickly. I believe it was his kindness, his warm smile, his gentle voice that spoke to me with such caring generosity – that truly unlocked my ability to open up so immediately. It came out of nowhere. All of this time I had wondered if there was a man who was patient, kind, forgiving, understanding, hopeful, and loving – that would actually believe in me despite my emotional baggage.

Joe has never once left my side since. He has seen me through some of the most difficult times. We have braved my depression, anxiety, addiction, and health issues TOGETHER. He has taught me the meaning of true love. The value of his confidence in me goes hand in hand with his undying affection for each and every part of me. He never questions me. Every day I wake up and I’m told I’m beautiful. Little notes written on the steam of the mirror after I take a shower – “I love you, baby.” These are things I have never experienced before. In looking back on the past I realize that I never once failed anybody or anything when it came to love – I just had not yet found what it was truly supposed to be.

In my Prince Charming I have learned how to open my heart again. The key was in someone’s ability to grasp onto my inner imperfections and show me the light in each flaw – and that knowing that despite any days where I may cry for no reason, be moody, yell obscenities, need time alone – he still guides me and holds my hand through each moment. The key was finding somebody strong enough to not let go when the darkest hours present themselves in such perilous light – and instead, that someone would hold me through it and turn that into time together that just makes us both stronger.

He is my best friend. He is closest to me. He knows me better in 2 years than anyone has ever known me in all 34 years alive. He has brought me into that place of happiness and peace – he has taught me that the emotional catalyst to renewing my faith was simply in believing in myself – and to to trust someone else to do the same. I love him more than I could ever imagine loving another human soul – and in this lesson, I have become whole again. After being torn to pieces – his hands, his face, his smile, his heart, his hope, his soul, his genuine belief in my genuine self – has put me back together with a soulful thread and that missing needle in the haystack:

Undying, true, selfless, faithful:  love.

It does exist. We are proof.

 

Stop that Wrecking Train

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It takes a lot to bring me out of my hole of sickness. When get sick – I get sick BAD. It’s been one year since I had my last case of any sort of flu or cold (I was pregnant with pneumonia – fun). January 2014 is no different. I am still on the mend and actually at the height of it – I’m feeling terrible. I’m on a lot of medication for the strep throat and for the ears to get them to drain. I am very tired.

Yet still, I felt compelled to come and write my thoughts with regards to an incident two days ago that touched me a little bit too close.

At the beginning of my blog I wrote an open letter to the Famous.

If you have yet to read this lovely masterpiece of my mind’s rantings – it embraces that famous people make mistakes and that I often thank them for what they do and being in the spotlight. Without a person who has overcome difficulties and pursued their dreams – we would not have our much loved entertainers, leaders, writers…. the list goes on. I mentioned in the article that I understood not all famous people were famous for a positive reason … thus the purpose of me coming out of my sick hiding hole to write today.

Dear Justin Bieber:

Here I see a 19 year kid. You are just that – a kid. You may consider yourself an invincible teenager because you are in the limelight. I know you have a plethora of money that goes as far as the ends of the earth. You can buy yourself whatever you want and prance around with your head in the clouds: nothing can stop you. Justin – something CAN stop you. Your money and fame cannot save you from hurting yourself or others by being swallowed by actions of stupidity. I know you will not read this. Odds are this will become lost in a host of tweets and fan mail that you will overlook all the same. I just have a few thoughts for you – wishes perhaps.

You have 7 years until you are 26. Today’s prompt is about the number 26. I want to see you live until the age of 26. You have such a bright future. You are a talented guy – your music often echoes in my head when I’m playing with my own children. My daughter, in her 4 year old high pitched off key yet cute voice, sings “baby … baby … baby …oh” – and it makes me smile. Yet, in this pattern of deadly activity you are showing – I cannot allow my children to idolize, or even listen to, a voice that perpetuates stupidity.

I myself fell into a pattern of addiction and acknowledged what I was going through. I sought the help of family and professionals to guide me through. The first step for you is not to be taking pictures of yourself and posting to Instagram that you are “The King” like Michael Jackson. It is not to tell your fans on Twitter that you appreciate their support and to never change for anybody. You need to let your fans, and the world, know you are learning a lesson. You must let everyone know you understand the fault of your actions and recent patterns and that you are seeking guidance to correct these inner notions that lead you to such abusive tendencies. Your music touches the lives of younger folks – those who claim you have “saved” them. These young minds embed the way you reflect yourself on society into their own brains – has it ever occurred to you that they are watching and learning from the impressions you make each day?

I am a mother, Justin. I am a wife and a friend. I am a daughter. I could never have gotten my pathway to freedom without reaching out to others and admitting I was going down the wrong road. I could not fulfill those roles knowing I was in too deep with the decisions I had made. Please, for everyone, set an example. Become a leader and a voice for those afraid to speak up that they may be falling into the same problems you are clearly showing you have. Your recent dealings that are spotlighted in the headlines show a person lost in the spotlight of famous freedom – unable to see the negative consequences of their actions. It is not too late, Justin. Do not let others who are in the same position, yet not famous, believe those types of actions are okay.

I can see you at 26 – happy. I can see you meeting your fans after a show and speaking with them about how far you’ve come – and signing their CD’s for the new songs you’ve just released that have given them more hope than they had before. Please step up to the plate. You can do this. You can grow and extend from these recent turbulent days. Instead of acting like you cannot fall into the trap of car accidents, overdoses, and addiction – remind the world and your fans that you are a regular human being too. The world is watching you – as a mother, I am watching you. I am praying you will find your own pathway to freedom out of the spotlight and you will seek the assistance of others that can help you through what appears to me as a difficult time for you.

You can reflect to the world that your career and copious amounts of cash make you happy and you are not the troubled young man I see. But I doubt this is true. I see a tortured soul who is afraid to speak up for fear others will lose respect – or stop buying your music. You are more likely to gain respect by being a voice. You will stop making music eventually if these patterns continue. You will be lost forever with the other souls in the arms of the angels that never sought help. In the face of the eyes of the world you could lose your battle that could have been won – and those who have always followed you and considered you their “savior” – will only find devastation and questions that could never be answered because you could not simply grow up and show yourself as an actual human.

Everybody makes mistakes. No one is immune from the consequences.

I’m praying for you, Justin.

Fear: The Side Effect of Hidden Truths

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tomorrow it will be 28 days.

Some would call that a month – I want to be technical. It’s 4 weeks.

It will be one month on January 20, 2014.

One month drug free.

I come out and say this bluntly – it’s as if I walked into a karaoke bar asking to sing “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse and announcing prior to my off kilter notes and ear piercing falsetto: “I am 4 weeks drug free”.

Last night I had a nightmare. I know with my residual conditions of chemical dependence I will experience such things as vivid dreams, sometimes the sweats still, long term problems with pain as well as mental trauma of flashbacks and anxiety. I already had Panic Disorder so I admit I’m a bit blindsided by MORE anxiety. Did I REALLY need more? Could we not have left that part out?

I digress.

I am a 34 year old mother. My blog originally started as one single post. It was my journey – my pathway to freedom from my own personal prison of drug addiction. It was a memoir of “how” “why” – Facebook posts I copied and pasted: a chronicle of sorts. To be honest, I never expected anybody to read that fully – it is beautiful and kind genuine hearts that have commented to me about how they read the entire post – which, if printed, is actually 14 pages.

New blog violation #1: keep it short.

Oops.

The nightmare was that I was presented two pills – my original drugs that got me dependent. In the dream I held those pills close and thought about it – yes, or no? I remember glaring into the deep, white speckles of Percocet  in front of me and popping them into my mouth – and swallowing.

Immediately I was gagging, washing my mouth out, and telling myself “NO! How DARE you?!”

I woke up shortly thereafter in a sweat. I woke up afraid – praising the Lord that it was not real. I had really woken up drug free (and it was snowing for the first time this season – a beautiful surprise from the hands of the Heavens). It made me feel thankful for the life I am currently living and that each day that goes by – is such a huge milestone.

Fear, to me, is a side effect of hidden truths.

When I was younger – I was scared of snakes. My parents could never figured it out – as I never had any real confrontations with snakes. Why was it that whenever one popped up on the back porch – I would wince, begin screaming, have the urge to vomit, and run. I still do this as an adult.

The truth behind it was that I’ve always had nightmares of snakes eating me (I hear some resounding laughter) – but no really. The truth  was that I have an inner fear I had not explained to anybody – I am fearful I will die in a ninja like war with a giant snake in the desert. It’s the same with my fear of elevators (and falling), and why I’m claustrophobic (I’ll suffocate).

It’s when I decided to really examine my fears that I discovered the truth behind how to overcome addiction – and for that matter, begin to deal with my other phobias that plague me and hold me back from doing simple things like walking through the grass at night.

I could not very well do it without owning up to the realization that these things had taken over my life.

How could I overcome such soulful madness, physical damnation, the inner twisting of my brain and organs – without truly owning up to what the deep root of the problem really was?

The fear of the unknown – the path I had never traveled down – is what prevented me from being able to originally recognize the problem. It was an achievement in itself that I shut the door on fear and opened the door to the truth. I let in those consequences of my actions and I took them head on. I knew there would be pain. I knew there would be suffering.

I also knew there would never be an open path to freedom from this monster if I did not behold the inner truth . Without that acknowledgement I would continue to live with that suppression of the soul that continuously played like a broken record to my brain “you cannot do it – you will continue to live in silence.”

Today I am no longer quiet. The silence is long gone – my fear of the unknown is a path I have already begun to journey down and now have reached the exit sign at Day 28.

I am choosing to stay on this path – this often difficult and winding road with such ups and downs – curves that could easily throw me off the cliff. Now that my truth is exposed the peace and catharsis comes in truly living the experience and learning a lesson – a lesson in which I plan to continue to share and hope to inspire people that live with their own fears of the truths that could potentially bring them onto the road home.

There’s no map for this. There’s no way to completely guarantee that everyone who catalysts themselves into the universe of recovery from whatever battle they are facing will truly succeed.

The success begins with telling the truth. It sounds so simple – like a history lesson on Pinnochio or George Washington.

Do not be afraid of admitting you are fearful, scared, and terrified of your own truths.

Remember – fear is merely a side effect of knowing you have them hidden secretly in the catacombs of your soul.

Freeing those truths will free your mind of fear and you shall face it head on – and with that, you have nothing to fear – be proud you have begun that walk up such a difficult mountain – maintaining hope, love, and faith.

You can get there – and there’s many hands to hold along the way. You are not alone.

Cheers to Day 28.

(and no, I would rather not invest in a pet snake, but thank you for asking)

From the Diary of an Anxious Mother

Dear Diary,

Today I am still dealing with a very sick 10 month old. Winter months, I used to love, as I could skip in the snow when school got called off, or sleep, or watch TV while ingesting copious amounts of Totinos Pizza Rolls.

Motherhood makes me hate Winter.

Flu, strep throat, stomach bugs, cabin fever…

(Cue the germophobic mother who hates cleaning up vomit and panics if the children’s temperatures go over 98.6)

(OH MY LORD THEY MUST HAVE CHOLERA)

I attempted to give the baby a bath (antibiotics are the bane of childhood: insert diarrhea all over the bed, pillows, and of course, the child). Shortly after drying him off, he began choking and gagging as if he had something stuck in his throat …

(OH MY LORD HE MUST HAVE SOAP POISONING HE’S GOING TO GO BLIND)

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Upon bracing myself, patting his back, waiting to be spit up on from whatever poison the innocent bathtub experience must have been ingested into his tiny system – he smiled, he giggled, and reached to stroke my face (as if to say “no really, mom, I just bit down too hard on the wash rag you gave me to play with while you so gently stroked my hair with tear-free shampoo”).

I placed the baby down for a nap and composed myself. These things happen, I said, constantly within my racing thought provoking brain, and sat myself down with a nice cup of Pepsi (do I really need this caffeine, I mean come on, who needs Pepsi when you have Panic Disorder). I turned on the television and put my feet up – flipping through channels and finding something cool to watch (oh hey Food Network, I love Chopped) – “so whose parenting skills are on the Chopping block…” I laughed to myself (while in my head, imagining Ted Allen looking so slyly at me like “Guess who ISN’T getting the 10 grand?”)

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Oh, come on, I lamented, now microwaving myself a fancy steamers meal (quick – four and a half minutes to cook, what if the kid chokes again, or if he has another toilet incident BUT NOT IN THE TOILET) – give yourself a break. You are a great mother – even though you live with Panic Disorder.

I am an anxious mother. I find myself in panics (your heart races, you are short of breath, you shake)

(OH MY LORD THE WORLD IS ENDING – ARMAGEDDON – THE ZOMBIES ARE COMING – QUICK HIDE THE CHOCOLATE AND PACK THE LUGGAGE!)

It’s not just that I panic over situations above (the word hasn’t ended, there’s no armageddon, and unless you have Shaun of the Dead on repeat, the zombies really are not coming) – I panic over SIMPLE things.

That one cracked dish the baby had his hands on – oh dear, did he just bite into that crack and slice his gums, or for that matter, do I need poison control? Is that a tiny bit of glass he just shoved down the back of his budding throat?

Oh, nevermind, that was an old top from demented plastic tupperware (sorry, sorry, I wasn’t looking, darn “Jump to Conclusions” mat)

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(OH MY LORD I LET HIM WATCH OFFICE SPACE – HE’S GOING TO LEARN HOW TO CURSE EARLY)

This is the diary entry of a mother who lives daily in panic. It is a learning process. It is a continuous battle of soul searching, coping strategies, relaxation techniques, new daily activities. I am in a continuous, relentless motion of “how to prevent myself from freaking out over the child falling backwards into the Pack and Play” – I am a proud mother of THREE. Yes, THREE. My children are ages 6, 4, and of course the above mentioned, 10 months.

The simplest of “whoops, the football just went under the table, let me go grab that” turns into “the child just bumped his head getting out from under the table”

(OH MY LORD RUSH TO THE ER – IT’S A CONCUSSION)

I simply have to examine myself in each moment. Learning to breathe and deal with the small things without overreacting is probably a course I should have taken in college (oh wait, ponder this, I have a Masters in Counseling…) 

I remember that these are tiny human beings. Their innocent, graceful souls are just now budding as they hit each life milestone step by step. Accidents happen. Sickness happens. Vomiting in a public place after overeating at Chick-Fil-A – it really does happen.

(OH MY LORD THEY HAVE NOROVIRUS – GET THE BLEACH)

(no, they over ate, especially your biggest one, he knows how to sneak peppermint sticks from the pantry without getting caught and then he goes into the corner and chows down – and then you wonder why he grabs his stomach in pain)

Another life lesson from the dealings of an anxious mother: I’m learning not to keep my eye on EVERYTHING.

If I do, I will read into it. I will wonder why, how, my mind will go off into oblivion for minutes upon minutes about how to handle the situation – do we need urgent care?

(OH MY LORD ARE THOSE PEPPERMINT STICKS EXPIRED)

Truthfully parenting is a very difficult responsibility. It’s a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, experience in being a chef, house cleaner, nurse, friend, and nurturer. For somebody who struggles on her own with anxiety, this trip down the lane of raising children often becomes difficult. I simply now am embracing that IT IS OKAY to worry. No one wants these little beautiful beings to be in any pain or get into any trouble. I, however, on a daily basis have to take the IT IS OKAY and bring it to the level of not having a completely full on heart rate at 160 over a lost shoe, a leaf on the floor (THERE COULD BE E-COLI ON THAT) . 

It is a true lesson in human strength and spirit to live on a daily basis with something that can take years upon years to get under control. I know I am not the only one. Some would think that these struggles in parenting are normal – sure. No. Not really. Mine are not. Another mother may take her kid eating dirt as “yay I don’t have to make lunch” – I take that as:

(OH MY LORD ITS PROBABLY GOT SOME WILD ANIMAL POOP ON IT – WHERES THE RABIES SHOT)

So not me:

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I’m always stuck on “First child eats dirt, parent calls doctor…” – it is an endless cycle.

Sure, they make medications for that. Insert section into this diary entry, where shortly after wondering if my parenting was on the Chopping Block, that I reached for my anti-anxiety medication with the hopes of being calmer by the time the child woke up: just in case he dirtied up the crib again and I find a piece of broken tupperware in his poop…

I am on an uphill battle to fix this – I know I can get better.  I know I can find a happy medium between understanding what’s normal, what’s not, and being okay with what’s not and knowing – in 99.9% of the cases, it’s an easy fix.

The battle to the top of this mountain includes learning how to embrace vomit as an ordinary process – not always a crisis – and other tiny things I’ve spoken of above that have happened today. I will get there. I welcome other mothers in all of their wonderments of raising children to speak out on how to find parenthood more delightful, less frightful.

I AM  A GOOD PARENT even if I find little things terrifying.  I live with panic disorder and I am still on a learning upswing as to how to incorporate relaxation into my daily routines so that anxiety does not bring this mother down into the pit of (OH MY LORD DID HE JUST ….)

So as I grab a piece of the hidden chocolate (just in case, you never really know if the Zombies are coming), and I sip from my broken tea cup (the one the second kid decided to drop on the carpet while it was full of Fruity Pebbles, and then so gracefully with her hair in her mouth and her hands unwashed, decided to eat each pebble off the floor)… I remember that having a struggle is NOT A SINFUL THING – it’s only a bad experience if you do not attempt to learn from it.

Each new day is a new journey into the unknown. From one anxious mother to any others out there – I want you to know I understand your plight. Panic Disorder is no walk in the park, but we can all decide to live with it, hold on, and brace ourselves – and in this realization, I just noticed that my parenting skills were not on the Chopping Block.

(OH MY LORD IT WAS A SEAFOOD DISH – THAT JUDGE MUST HAVE FOOD POISONING – THAT BASKET WAS NOT IN THE FRIDGE!)

Ah. Back to life. The baby is awake. It’s time to take the baby for playtime in the playroom – and enjoy those moments where my heart rate is just a little bit normal, I don’t feel nauseous, I am not lightheaded, and I can stand up without shaking, freaking, screaming, or having the sudden urge to dial 911.

These are beautiful moments for an anxious mother.