Adulting · Anxiety

A Mom’s Anxiety

Have you guys seen Ariana Grande’s brain scan? The one showing the PTSD she has after the Manchester Bombing? Yeah I think I should scan my brain too. No joke, seriously.

It all started 4 or 5 years ago. See I just have one cousin my age growing up. She and I were born 1 month apart. We grew up together, went to playdates and birthdays together, and went to elementary school together. Later on we did grow apart a bit as she went to a different high school and university and we both had different groups of friends.

But then we got closer again as we got older. She actually set me up with my husband as he went to the same high school as hers. We got married months apart then life and kids happened .. and we weren’t as close as before though we tried to keep in contact as much as we can.

Fast forward a couple of years later .. got the shocking news: my cousin, who just had twin babies, has leukemia.

I think I blocked those days from my brain but now that I am writing this, I’m starting to remember the day. I was living at my moms with the kids as my husband was doing his 9 months masters course abroad. I remember it was before 8 am, I just came back from school drop off when I saw my uncle walking around in circles in front of my mom’s gate. When he saw me he hurried off. I didn’t know why but now I know he didn’t want to face people. Now I know .. he was devastated.

After that I don’t remember exactly what happened, as I said I blocked a lot of things from my brain. But I do remember clearly my uncle telling my mom: after our mom (my grandmother) passed away, you’re the only person I have left in this world that can give me strength so please help me .. I don’t know what to do. From that day us three girls knew we had to be strong for our mom, just like she had to be strong for her brother.

Looking back now, there’s a lot of things I don’t remember. I don’t remember who told me she passed away. I don’t remember that date she did. I don’t remember if I was pregnant with my 3rd or not (why cant I remember?)

But I do remember her birthday, Nov 4. And I do remember her first crush and the code name she gave him. And I do remember us trying to fake injury and go to the school nurse together to get out of class.

I also remember that I did not cry in her funeral when everyone else was crying. I remember thinking: what’s wrong with me? Why am I not crying?! It took me an entire month to break down, alone in my room.

And to be honest, I still don’t think I dealt with all my emotions. Being a wife and trying to be the person your significant other needs, having a household and trying to juggle all the responsibilities, raising 4 kids to the best of your abilities .. you just cant breakdown and deal with your emotions.

This is why we moms have perfected the “I’m fine” syndrome. Just sweep everything under the rug and deal with it later because no worries .. of course I’m fine.

But then .. anxiety started to creep in.

Ten year ago, they found a polyp in my colon that was just the type that could’ve turned into cancer. I was very lucky and I did the needed follow up after it. I’m due to have a check up soon. Oh my God .. what if it came back? And already grew into cancer? It’s called the silent killer for a reason! My God .. what will happen to my kids?

I felt a bump in my breast. I’m breastfeeding but still went to have it checked. The ultrasound showed that it doesn’t look cancerous and the doctor said she would rather wait till I finish breastfeeding because it was close to a milk gland and they’d rather not prick it .. especially when it’s looking so reassuring.

But what if the Dr. is wrong? What if the ultrasound technician missed something and was wrong too? What if I had breast cancer?! Would my husband remarry and go off with his new wife forgetting our kids (just like her husband did?) My God .. what will happen to my kids?

My arm hurt the other day and I had a tingly feeling in my hand. It must be that the breast cancer spread to my lymph nodes and cause this tingling. Forget that I slept on the rocking chair holding my 10 kg baby .. no it must be cancer.

Then my shoulder hurt for a while. OMG how didn’t I see it. It’s a symptom of lung cancer, along with a recurring cough, which I did have throughout the year.  My kids .. my four beautiful kids .. what will happen to them if I die??

Think it would be best for me to go to a doctor. But if I do go to one and ask for a colonoscopy because I believe I have colon cancer, a mammograph because I just know its breast cancer, and a chest x-ray because yes I do, I think I have lung cancer too. You know what, just throw in a brain scan in there too because it wont take me much time to diagnose myself with brain cancer.

I think most probably, this doctor will refer me to a psychologist .. which yes by now I know I really should go see someone professional about this.

The first time I had a full on anxiety attack, it was 9 pm .. sitting on a rocking chair with my baby. My older 3 sleeping soundly in their beds. I was going through my phone and saw a video of a little girl who was being abducted by a predator.

My heart started beating very fast, I started sweating, I couldn’t breathe properly and felt dizzy. I put my baby down and started breathing long deep breaths. I had to talk to myself and reassure myself over and over again: it’s ok .. my kids are safe .. it’s ok .. my kids are at home with me .. sleeping in their beds.

After I calmed down, I went to each of my kids and kissed them on their foreheads. Then I saw how crazy this all was. The incident in the video was in another country, in a place that we never visited. But deep down, I’ll always have the “what if”” .. “you never know” .. “it just takes a sec” .. “it can happen to anyone”.. that I just cant seem to shake off.

So yes .. I believe I suffer from anxiety. And yes .. It is getting worse by the day. And yes .. I am very worried I might transfer my anxiety to my kids (which is making me even more anxious). And yes .. I know I know .. I really need to go see a professional and get the help I desperately need.

But for now .. I’ll take my antibiotics for my throat infection while giving my son his dose of Ventolin on the nebulizer and while I just remembered that my 3 year old needs to wear clothes from a different country tomorrow to preschool and did my daughter remember to put her homework in her school bag?

I promise one day I will get the help I need but for now .. I’ll just sweep my anxiety under the rug and smile .. and always reply I’m fine .. absolutely 100% fine.

Adulting · Life · Parenting

Failure

I feel like a total failure…

You see my DD came home today with an assignment to write about a role model from her family. I was honestly secretly wishing it was me. Then I saw the questions she has to fill out: the person’s gifts/talents, the person’s accomplishments…

And I half joked to my husband, I don’t think DD should choose me, what talents or accomplishments do a stay at home mom like me have? He said: maybe how fast you can finish a McDonalds large fries haha..

I get that it’s a joke, and I get that I was asking the question while laughing so he didn’t know the insecurities behind that question, but it honestly got to me.

What did I accomplish in the last 10 years?

How many projects did I try to start and never actually finished?

Wanted to lose weight? Nope didn’t, gave up and made a Nutella sandwich instead.

Joined a gym? Went 3 times only.

I don’t even remember how many business plans I thought of and wrote down but never did anything about or saw anything through.

Started a blog? Don’t remember the last time I posted.

Started a journey to read a 100 books? Couldn’t even reach number 20 and I love reading books!

Today is just one of those days ..

Hopefully tomorrow I can see my 4 kids smiling faces and know what I accomplished

Hopefully, when I see my son’s teacher and when she tells me how polite and nice and helpful he is I know what I accomplished

Hopefully, when I see my oldest daughter, who turned into a beautiful young lady, reading quietly in her reading spot I know what I accomplished

Hopefully, when I see how articulate and smart my two year old daughter is I know what I accomplished

Hopefully, when I see my healthy baby crawling all around and laughing .. I will know what I accomplished

But not tonight .. tonight I will allow myself to mourn all those unfished business .. all the times I said I can when obviously I couldn’t ..

Tonight .. I feel like a complete and utter failure..

Adulting

“Cooking” Dinner

Lying down on couch tonight after kids are sleeping, watching one of the talent shows on TV, I realized: I got no talent, least of all cooking.

In our house, we almost always order out. Except on weekends, where we eat out. And because we want to be somewhat healthy, we usually order from decent restaurants and not fast food. It’s getting quite pricey. So I decided to start cooking. Or attempt to really..

So I told DD, we will cook tonight and I want you to help me.

DD: Cook? Like Betty Croker cake and cup cakes?

Me: No, cook dinner. Real food.

DD: Like what?

Me: We will make pizza tonight.

DD: Surprised .. Really? Pizza? Real pizza?

Honestly I wish I can say I got this amazing recipe online for a pizza dough, and that I made my sauce from scratch. But no, I started small and easy. I got Betty Croker Pizza crust (just add hot water), and ready made pizza sauce, and shredded mozzarella. So technically, we didn’t really cook, we just assembled ingredients.

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Popped it in the oven half sure that I will actually burn it. I am already thinking over which restaurant should we order from in the 10 minutes it took to cook. But it turned out great! The kids loved it! They keep telling everyone we cooked pizza. I don’t really correct them or explain. Why not maybe one day we will make our own dough. Oh who am I kidding.

So getting back to The Lord of the Rings, I just finished part 1 of it. I never read The Hobbit before and didn’t get why there was such a big deal about the movies. But now I know. Now I get it. Add one more crazy fan to The Lord of the Rings insanity. And I don’t even like fantasy or anything whimsical or out there.

Here are my thoughts at the end of part 1:

  • Tolkien is a creative genius: As I said, I don’t like fantasy. I don’t believe in aliens or conspiracy theories. I don’t like questionable grey areas, I usually see the world as defined black and white (boring I know). So imagine how surprised I was that I loved this book. Tolkien created this whole entire new world with new creatures and everything. Each race and each individual has their own different dimensions and are beautifully thought through and crafted. Now I don’t know anything about the fantasy genre, I don’t really know if hobbits, elves, or orcs existed before Tolkien or not, but there is no denying that he is a genius.
  • The bearer of the ring is a hobbit: I loved that Tolkien chose a hobbit to carry the huge responsibility and burden of being the ring bearer. He didn’t choose the wise wizard. He didn’t choose the strong kings men. He didn’t choose the agile elf. He chose a young, small, innocent hobbit straight out of the shire. Never judge the strength of a person by the way they look. A disheveled sleep deprived mom can move mountains for her family, just like a tiny hobbit can stand to face Mordor.
  • Man is the only race within the company that gave in to his temptation: There are five types or species or (I don’t really know what the technical term to use here but you get my point) in the company of the fellowship of the ring: a wizard, a dwarf, an elf, two men, and four hobbits. Leave it to mankind to succumb to the temptation of greed and power and try to forcefully grab the ring and claim it for themselves. To be fair though, only one of the two men did that. The other, Aragorn, is an amazing leader and brings honor to mankind.

So I decided to watch the movies after I finished each part of the book. DD and DS were excited to watch the movie with me. I know it is not suitable for their age but I put it on for a while just to make them happy. DD of course spent the entire first part looking from behind the pillow, even when the hobbits were just running around in the shire. DS, on the other hand, loved it and didn’t want me to turn it off even when the scary parts came. So we got to the part where they went into the Prancing Pony, the part where Aragorn was first introduced. He was sitting in a corner with a hood over his head and DS was asking me: mom who is he? Is he a good guy or bad guy?

I said: he is very good. I really like him and I hope the actor in the movie is good too. His name is Aragorn and I really really like his character.

DS: Mom, you know, I really really like your character.

Leave it to a son to melt away his mother’s heart.

Adulting

Oh the Joy of a Reunion

As I was saying Middlemarch has many truths that still stands today. Nothing more truthful than what I found on page 51 describing so poignantly what I, and I am sure many of you, go through every day.

“We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time; keep back tears and look a little pale about the lips, and in answer to inquiries say, ‘Oh, nothing!’ Pride help us; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our own hurts – not to hurt others.”

I ran into an acquaintance of mine the other day. She graduated high school with me. The following is a bit of our conversation that illustrates the exact quote written above. Lets call her lady; or maybe girl, I don’t think she would like being called a lady for fear of seeming old.

Girl: Oh wow! Is that you? I haven’t seen you since graduation! Wow you look so different!

Me: (Pride help me) Yes yes time flies by. You look exactly the same.

Girl: I know hehe. So what are you up to?

Me: I have three kids, two girls and a boy.

Girl: Ohh .. that’s so nice. And..?

Me: And what?

Girl: So what do you do? Do you work?

Me: No I don’t I’m a stay at home mom.

Girl: Oh but what do you do with your day?

Me: (Please just tell me the right answer so I can end this conversation. Why do I find that I have this need to explain myself to this woman.) You know, taking care of the house and kids. What are you up to?

Girl: Oh you know nothing really. I just finished running the marathon. (Ooh so that’s the right answer…) and now I am training for the next season. I am also starting my own business and running around now to get the final paperwork in place.

Me: Good for you! That sounds great! Good luck with everything!

Girl: Yes yes it was so good running into you. If you want to do anything with all time on your hands just let me know. We could use someone like you, you know. It’s such a shame you were always the top of our class.

Me: (Fighting back tears and looking a little pale around the lips) Yes yes I’ll call you soon. Nice to see you too. Bye.

I went back home feeling frustrated, flushed, a bit angry and a bit ashamed.

Then I opened the door, was greeted with my husband’s smile, two kids that came running, and a baby who extended her arms so I can carry her.

Those feelings quickly changed to that of love, gratitude, and an overwhelming feeling of being blessed.

So very very blessed.