** Update: this was written in 2015. Re-reading this makes me realize how far I’ve come since then. I’ve finally adjusted to motherhood and my life feels ‘normal’ again. I talk with a therapist as often as I can (I find talk therapy helps me more than medication) and I’ve switched medications a few times. I’ve also been diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. But I feel SO. MUCH. BETTER. **
I never wanted to be a Mother.
Self-care. You hear a lot about it, but what is it, really?
Self-care is an all-encompassing term that describes measures we can take to improve our mental, emotional and physical health. Think of it as preventative medicine: it’s like a vitamin we take in the form of… anything that benefits our health. (Hah, just call me Webster’s Dictionary over here).
There’s been a common thread that strings most — if not all — of my recent conversations together. There’s not enough time. We’re all struggling to keep our heads above water, make meaningful connections, meet deadlines and impress superiors. We’re paralyzed with indecision and envy. We’re desperate for connection that — no matter how hard we try — doesn’t seem to come from the devices we hold in our hands.
Today, I flew out at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. to meet up with some of my very best friends in the whole wide world. I haven’t been on a plane since E. was born.
Turns out, I’m not the best solo flyer. (Shocker, right?)
Here are the ten thoughts you have when flying with anxiety (aka, next time I’m bringing Ativan):
I recently remembered the moment I began to experience one of my first instances of crippling anxiety. It was the very first day of law school in 2011. I walked into the building, where many (younger) students had already paired up with new friends. At 26, I technically fit the description of a “mature student”: I had been out of school for four years, and I felt decades older than most of them.
This stage of life is hard.
We rush from one activity to the next. We’re trying to advance in our careers while still maintaining some semblance of sanity. We’re never fully focused at work, always anticipating that call from daycare or school. The schooling we so carefully and expensively pursued has done nothing to prepare us for this. We’re living for the weekends, which turn into disorganized chaos because we’re all so used to routine. We try to strike a balance between planning and “living in the moment”, and end up with a terrible combination of both that makes Monday morning feel like a reprieve.
I’ve posted often on my struggles with depression and anxiety. Part of it, I believe, is because depression and anxiety are genetically encoded in my DNA. I have a strong family history of depression, and I unfortunately inherited the gene. Part of it may also have to do with my less than ideal childhood. I won’t get into details, here, but suffice it to say: I didn’t get the love I needed as a child.
I spent the early weeks of my daughter’s life on the same spot on the couch. To this day, the cushion serves as a stark reminder of those times: worn out and significantly flattened by its many hours of use. The cycle went: wake, cry, eat, cry, eat, cry, eat, cry, sleep. Repeat. And for the first time in my life, I felt a particular type of anger bubbling up within me more times than I could count: white hot flashes of rage that terrified me, forcing me to place her in her crib while I stepped outside to remind myself to breathe.
I felt like I was having a heart attack.
I’m so sorry for my lack of updates. One word: midterms. (TMI: I’m actually writing this post via my iPhone in the bathtub – multitasking for the win!). I’ve been significantly less stressed out this year compared to first year, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I attribute it mostly to my spending as little time at the law school as possible to avoid the realization that other Type A law students such as myself are currently experiencing the mental breakdowns I’m inevitably slated for after I get my midterm marks back and realize my nonchalant attitude is getting me nowhere. (Well, it may be saving a few years of my life, but aren’t grades more important, anyway? I kid. Sort of. Unless you ask a law student, who will invariably answer “yes” to that question because we’re all crazy overachievers).