When Depression and Anxiety Convince You They Are Winning
Depression and Anxiety have this special ability to lie to me in ways that I often can’t catch on my own, just as my addition does. That’s why you’ll often hear me say things like, “my head is a dangerous neighborhood that I don’t like to walk through alone.” It’s also why I regularly check-in with a life coach, a therapist, and other recovering addicts who have the emotional sobriety and maturity that I want. And sometimes, even still with all of these tools in place and people to lean into, anxiety can creep in a start feeding me lies all over again.
I woke up from one of those lies tonight.
Now, before I tell you what the lie was, I want to talk about how I knew it was when I woke up. There are some warning signs I look for when identifying thoughts that are fueled by my anxiety, thoughts such as “Wilder deserves a better parent” or “I can’t keep doing this anymore.”
The first thing I notice is what time it is and what woke me up. The most typical way my anxiety presents itself is by waking me up somewhere between 2:30-4:00 with an upset tummy. My anxiety lives in my tummy and my heart and the two are the fastest way for me to recognize if it around or how bad it is. So, I’ll wake up and have to go use the bathroom and by the time I’m all settled back into bed, I’m also usually setting back into my anxiety provoking thoughts. I’ll also notice my heart rate is higher than when I’m grounded, in moments such as when I smell the top of Wilder’s head while we rest up together somewhere. And then, my hands get clammy and my feet get warm. But I also notice that I’m not able to think about one thing for a focused amount of time and that my eyes are constantly moving around under my closed eyes trying to keep up with my thoughts. Then, my whole body starts moving as my leg starts tapping the air, up and down, faster and faster.
I remind myself as I notice the web of anxiety wrapped around my tried mind and body.
It’s the same web of anxiety I’ve been slowly getting more stuck in all month; believing the lies that my depression and anxiety are telling me.
I’m not doing enough. I need to be doing more. Wilder deserves a better parent.
And then breathe. Again.
I remember the days that were consumed by trying to get sober. Or more recently, the days that were spent in a fog of tears and voices while pacing with my nine month old.
I remember that I’m a newly (two years Feb 4th) recovering meth addict who accidentally got pregnant during their last relapse and who as sense become a single papa, parenting during a pandemic while in public eye. All while battling Postpartum Depression/Psychosis and an immense amount of hate (and love) from the world. Throw in a twin flame break-up and an unwell heart dog and heck, here we are. Holding heavy things that just a few years ago I would have felt privileged to hold. And I do now, believe me that I do. In fact, I’ve never felt more privileged then I do right now in life. But my edges have hardened when my anxiety is lying to me.
I want to soften my edges and be a soft landing pad for my own feelings. I want to hold myself just as I do Wilder.
This morning I woke up not feeling like I was doing enough or good enough. Then I realized it’s how I’ve felt all month, since turning two years sober from crystal meth.
But I’m no longer willing to believe those lies.
From meth addict, to role model.
Danny (& Wilder)
*I’ve missed you all*
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Thank you Danny. For your brave heart and love.
Do you think that feeling privelidged or lucky sometimes makes it more difficult to deal with the anxiety? For me it does. Since I was young I always wanted my little girl. Now I have her, she is 4, and I feel like the luckiest person alive. She is my everything, she’s amazing. But hand in hand with that comes the crippling anxiety that I’m not good enough, not a good parent, not doing as well as I should be, not coping with things as well as I should etc. Then on top of that fear that something bad will happen to either me or my daughter – that we won’t be tougher. Sickness or death. I am in therapy for these things specifically. But it is still hard…