This post has taken over a week to write. It is one that has been really hard, and has felt pretty personal.
Most people quit their jobs because they hate them, or they’re moving, or they are tired the same old, same old.
Recently I announced that I am pregnant with our second child. And with that pregnancy came a lot of lifestyle changes. There is the usual, no more taking ibuprofen, taking prenatal vitamins, doctor or midwife visits, forcing myself to eat more at home, changing my exercise routine, and more.
One thing that changed, was my anxiety medication. I have been taking medication for anxiety on and off for years. When I say on and off, I mean that there have been times in my life where my anxiety is better, and I don’t feel I need it as much.
Finding out I was pregnant made my anxiety skyrocket. And I noticed every time that I would take my medication, even at the lowest dose, I was so sick all day long. In order to try to deal with it all, I got medication for nausea, which would then cause all sorts of other fun side effects. I finally decided to try some natural remedies. I tried magnesium, exercise, lavender, and chamomile tea. Heck, I even looked into other natural remedies, but discovered many weren’t safe for baby.
My anxiety got to a point where I felt like I had to pretend to be happy and normal whenever I was around people besides my husband or parents. Honestly, there are days where it is still like that. There are days I put a smile on my face and I pretend that I am the happiest person in the room, when inside I am an anxious, sometimes depressed, mess.
Last week, I got the usual text from my boss with the week’s work schedule. I was only scheduled for two days, but I almost instantly started crying. The thought of leaving the house, when I knew I would have a million things to do, and pretending to be this happy camper, crushed my soul a little bit. I went to see my husband while he was at work, and we had a good conversation about it. We agreed that I would turn in my notice the next day.
I decided to be polite and give my boss two weeks, because he had been so willing to work with my schedule, and my husband’s. He understood that we have a kid, and that sometimes life gets overwhelming. However, when I explained to him why I was leaving he was gracious enough to tell me that my last shift could be the following day, and said he didn’t want his employees to feel anxious or stressed to go to work.
The funny thing about anxiety is that, like I described above, sometimes people who have it are extremely good at hiding it, and pretending. I’m not master at hiding it. Sometimes, if my anxiety really shows, I am the meanest, moodiest person around. And I am afraid that there are/were times where not only my coworkers saw that, but also my husband, parents, and son.
There are people, like myself, who are okay at hiding it, and then come out and say “I have anxiety and I’m really tired of pretending I don’t.” Be kind to those people.
Jeffrey R. Holland gave a General Conference talk in 2013 titled “Like a Broken Vessel.”In it he states:
“However bewildering this all may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor.”
He tells us that anxiety, depression, and other mental disabilities are nothing to be ashamed of. He also points out that while there are medical doctors to treat medical conditions, there are doctors capable of treating mental conditions. He says:
If things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values. Be honest with them about your history and your struggles. Prayerfully and responsibly consider the counsel they give and the solutions they prescribe. If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. So too with emotional disorders. Our Father in Heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation.
This is counsel that I have tried to follow for years. My favorite quote from this talk however, is not directed at those who are afflicted by anxiety or depression. It is directed towards those who love or know someone who suffers from mental illness.
Be merciful. Be nonjudgemental. Be kind. Be understanding. Don’t criticize people who battle with this every day. And please do not assume that they are faking or “milking it” or just wanting attention. I don’t know about others, but I know that when I am feeling extremely anxious, the last thing I want is for people to judge me for it, or give me more attention for it. I would rather go hide until my anxiety has passed.
There were plenty of times when I was working that, while I was feeling extremely anxious, I would rather stay busy and out of the main conversation with other co-workers. I am sure it made me look rude, or moody, or who knows what else, because I wasn’t part of the conversation. And I didn’t want any part of it. But that’s how I dealt with it, and I am sure I’m not the only one who deals with my anxiety in this way.
When I get anxious, I clean. I scrub dishes, scrub walls, cupboards, tables, counters, you name it. Just the other day a small panic attack hit, so I rearranged my son’s room in preparation for his new sibling…due in five months. However, being home, and being a mom is something that really helps. I am most comfortable when I am parenting my child, and playing with him.
Just having my name taken off of the schedule brought more peace to me than many will ever understand. I have no idea what the future holds for me, or for mine and Jon’s family. I can tell you with assurity that I am meant to be a mom. It is the most calming part of my life.
This was my first week of not working in a long time. Like, not even two or three days. And I am still not really sure how I feel about it. I felt peace, but I am also scared. Jon is happy because he knows in the long run I will stress a lot less. He knows I am happiest at home with Jackson. I think for me, being a stay at home mom will give me an opportunity to grow, change, and become more confident in myself as a mother. It will also force me to leave the house to run errands, rather than relying on Jon to do it for me. I will have to leave my comfort zone.
I am looking forward to growing more confident in public. And maybe one day I won’t have to pretend I am happy to be at the grocery store, or running errands. One day I will be genuinely happy to not be in my house.
While I will struggle with anxiety for the rest of my life, I will do everything I can to better myself, be a better mom, and to deal with it.
Here’s hoping it settles down in about five months!!