i opened my eyes this morning and was greeted by anxiety. it told me i wasn't good enough. that i wasn't doing anything right; not by myself, not by my son. i balked at its familiar weight, planted on my chest. its grip on me making it more difficult to breathe. the lack of control of my body and my mind made me afraid, the fear making me irritable. this manifested in my loss of self control as i yelled at my sweet baby, twice. both times wanting to throw in the towel and quit the day already, humiliated and upset, and so sorry. i was failing. i was being weak, and cruel. i thought, 'great, another day i have to fight myself just to exist.' because that's exactly what anxiety feels like. fighting it for the real estate of your own mind and body. knowing its effect on you is not who you are. battling it or succumbing to it was not how you wanted to spend your day. but its power bends you to its will. to fight back when you feel so out of control, afraid, while battling invading thoughts, your body being manipulated into an unbearable, weaker state... it feels an impossible task most days.
but today i said that wasn't what i wanted for my day. i told my head to shut up. when it didn't, i decided to just stop listening. i decided to proceed with my plan for the day, even as my thoughts screamed at me, and my body cowered in fear, my lungs and my heart trying to steer me away. i continued to get myself dressed. my mind screamed at me how ugly and unworthy i was, would i really be going out in public looking like this?? i took aidric to play with his friends at his sitter's. my mind screamed at me how terrible of a mother i was, for abandoning him, how selfish i was for giving myself time to work. i drove myself to a new coffee shop, my familiar spot being closed for the day. my mind terrified me, running scenarios. i wouldn't find parking, i would look like a fool in a new place, there would be no place for me to sit and work.
the silliness of the thoughts that i was allowing to make me afraid killed me. did i really care if i didn't look perfect? i snapped and posted an ootd picture anyway. would i really rather fail my classes, my career, to appease the lie that i was a terrible mother for spending a few hours away from my boy? i asked him, do you want to go play with your friends? "YA!!" he said, clapping. i planned something fun for us in the afternoon. was walking into a new place really so terrifying?! i chanted to myself, angrily from my shame, 'it's just a dang coffee shop'. i sucked the power away from these thoughts by replacing my internal dialogue with my true thoughts about them, the ones i choose to believe. i replaced my power and eased my shame by reminding myself these silly thoughts were not my own.
these were my reflections as i found parking right next to the door and was welcomed into a near empty, beautiful space, with friendly staff and ample space for my laptop and books. as i sat, i felt my victory. the invading thoughts and the squeeze on my lungs slunk away. i felt euphoric. i worked in a tizzy, crossing off tasks from my to-do list that have been collecting dust for weeks one after the other. i received a picture from a's sitter of him smiling on top of a slide, enjoying his friends. i felt my strength in overcoming this vice that threatened to keep me in chains today.
i am taking this day, tucking it away to recall the next time, to remind myself i do not have to succumb to erratic thoughts and that fear does not mean imminent failure.
now, with a cleared head and less stress straining my self control, i'm preparing to go pick up my baby with eager arms and a clear heart. no longer on edge, my anxious thoughts will not burst out of me in a fit of yelling, but instead, i am eager to play and enjoy my little boy. i am thankful to myself, for valuing my son enough to know that i must take time to myself to be my best for him.
this morning's anxious thoughts can shove it. today, i did so good. today, i did what was right; by me, by aidric. today, i made a good day.