But really guys, this whole anxiety thing is no joke.
I've dealt with bouts of anxiety my whole life, but none of it compares to the anxiety I have felt this past week. It was been exactly one week since our accident. And if I'm being totally honest, I thought that we'd be over it and completely back to normal by now. Life does feel more normal and I don't even really think about the accident much at all anymore. The girls are happy and Sloan seems better each day. Life is good and I feel SO incredibly lucky, but I can't help but have this constant nagging feeling that something bad is going to happen. Life looks normal, but things just aren't back to normal in my head.
Eric took last week off to be home with the girls and I. After a few days of resting at home, we wanted so badly to feel a sense of normalcy so we tried getting the girls out as much as possible. There were so many moments that felt so normal which felt so so good. While trying to be in the moment and enjoy my family, I am constantly distracted by my anxious thoughts. Something as simple as crossing the street is a huge trigger for me right now.
Actually, it doesn't take much of anything to trigger my anxiety right now. We went on a hike and I constantly feared that I was going to fall off the ledge of the trail with Phayre strapped to me in the front pack. We went to a Thorns soccer game with friends which was actually very fun an distracting, but as soon as we sat down I envisioned someone going on a shooting spree and thinking about how I would protect the girls. These are the dark places that my mind goes. There is so much love and enjoyment in between these thoughts, but I don't feel like I can completely live in the moment. I have been so distracted by my anxiety.
Yesterday we went on a walk. As soon as we started walking down our street I couldn't catch my breath. I was having all of these flashbacks of the stroller going under the car and I just kept seeing my hands gripped onto the stroller so tight. I cried and begged Eric to turn around, but he insisted that we continue the walk and act as normal as possible for Sloan's sake. Once we got down our street and turned the opposite way of where the accident took place I calmed down and we went right back to normal. We had a great walk and actually had a wonderful day for the most part.
Until last night. My anxiety got the best of me last night and I felt completely helpless. Shortly after dinner I realized that Eric would return to work today. The thought of being alone, not having Eric around to protect us absolutely flipped me out. I barely held myself together while we got the girls bathed and in bed. As soon as the girls were down, the floodgates of my tears opened and I exploded all over Eric. I am so afraid to be alone with my girls. So afraid that I cannot protect them or keep them safe. Eric did his best to talk me down, but I couldn't really recover.
I couldn't sleep last night, I felt too anxious and fearful. I woke up this morning and immediately looked at Eric's empty space on the bed. I knew he'd be at work when I woke up and I tried to prepare myself, but I still cried. I let myself cry for a few minutes and then I went downstairs to make myself some coffee. I sat at the kitchen island and told myself that I have to work harder to overcome these feelings. I have to for my girls. I just have to keep remembering that everything is ok, we're all alive and safe. Something bad could have happened, but nothing bad actually happened. We're ok. I have to keep telling myself that we're ok and so damn lucky.
As soon as I finished my coffee, the girls woke up and we had a wonderful morning at home. They woke up in the sweetest moods and I had to drag their cuddling butts out of bed to eat breakfast. We had a tea party, Sloan and I played the matching princess game about 500 times, and after lunch the girls took a nice long soak in the sink (thank you sweet potato disaster). While I didn't find the courage to go out this morning, I know that I will. Sloan starts preschool tomorrow and even though I'm a nervous wreck about being away from her, I am so excited for her and really think that getting back into a nice weekly routine will be so good for all of us.
Today has felt normal, and good. And I am so thankful for that. I realized today that I haven't taken many photos of the girls over the last week which is not normal for me. I pulled my camera out while the girls were in the sink this morning and it felt so good. Standing back and experiencing and capturing their joy and playfulness was just what I needed.
I promise you our days are not bad, they're actually really good. This is just another one of those "dear diary" posts where I am desperately trying to navigate my feelings and trying to find a way to move forward. I am determined to get 100% back to normal and I know that we will. Everything is going to be ok and I know that. It's going to take time. Time that I don't want to give, but I don't have a choice.
A quick update on Sloan:
Sloan doesn't understand why she feels so much fear, anger, and anxiety right now, but she is basically going through the same things that I am going through. She's very hot and cold. She will be her perfect normal self and then just break down. The smallest things set her off and Eric and I are having the hardest time trying to figure out how to help her through this while not letting her act like a total monster. She actually hardly brings the accident up anymore, but she's definitely still processing everything. I'm not sure if I should take her to see someone or if I need to just give it more time and let her work through her feelings. I don't necessarily want to force her to talk about the accident when she's barely bringing it up anymore. I am going to call her pediatrician and discuss things further with her.
And a few photos from this morning because looking at them fills with me with such an intense amount of love and joy.