A Month of Thanks, Day Fifteen

It's interesting to have just grabbed my iPad to write my blog about thankfulness as I walked by the bedroom where my almost two year old is screaming bloody murder in protest of bedtime. Again. As usual. Two years of rolling the dice every nap time and bed time. A week of amazing sleep and then a week of newborn like waking up, and I'm not even breast feeding. Nor have I been since Maddie self-weaned at 15 months. Breathe in. Breathe out. Find something to be thankful for to share. 

The backspace button? Ha! 

Ok, today I'm thankful for my ability to deal with everything that comes at me in a much better way than I have in the past. 

At sixteen I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder with severe panic attacks. This was merely when someone put a name to my "monster" as I liked to call it. I can look back well into my elementary school years and see clear examples of anxiety. I'm textbook, which I know because I minored in psych and read all the textbooks.
Dead parent at a young age. Check. Other parent with addictions and own issues. Check. Poverty. Check. Abuse. Check. Unhealthy relationships. Check. 
You name it, I checked it, but I've always been a learner, someone who can take away lessons and carry them into my next challenges. I've never wanted to be a victim of my past, to use that as a reason for not being the absolute best person I can be, so I didn't. I was nice to people, I didn't use drugs,  I went to school, I sought out the beauty in the world despite knowing the ugly and when I was told at 16 that this was the name for the terrible feelings that kept me up at night and made me unable to function, I accepted it, sought out the best professional help I could, and moved forward. 

I am 31 and have suffered from anxiety and panic disorder for most of my life. I refuse to let that define me. It is a part of who I am and I have no shame at all. I enjoy talking to others about it, to support them or educate them, and I hope that putting it here will help one person feel better about their own struggles. I am not thankful for this disorder, but I am thankful that I have sought help, worked hard at the things I know help me feel better, and achieved a lot more than my checklist generally allows for. 

If you're struggling with anxiety, depression or anything that makes you less happy and whole than you feel you should be, please seek help and know that you are not alone, you are not weird and you do not have to be defined by anything you don't want to be. 

My child is still screaming, I'm still exhausted from a long week of work and parenting and life but I'm a lot better equipped to handle these things now than I was yesterday. 


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