When all the doubt and anxiety start to close in
I think anyone first meeting me, just knowing me through social media, and even many who know me on a deeper level, most would say I am a happy and outgoing and light-hearted person. I tend to be pretty carefree and up for anything. (except being late, just don't get me started on being late. I hate it and I always am late now.)
So recently, over the last year or so, my husband has occasionally mentioned to me how I am not as "easy" or "lighthearted" as I have been in the past. When I am in a mood that is defensive I scoff and quickly throw some rude jab about, "well if I didn't have so many dishes or piles of laundry then maybe I would be more easy going." I know. I'm lovely. But when I have a soft heart, and I am open to improvement and hearing more about myself, it hurts me. When did I become so.. not fun?? It breaks my heart, I feel like that is one defining characteristic of Ali Lewis. I wont dive too deep in this but I feel like I have let the pressures of the world, social media, and comparison and my love for the drug of being the super hero mom who does it all, get in the way of my true deep happiness. The happiness where I can hear my body tell me that I need to have a dance party or when I need to rest, or slow down, or just take time to eat real food. The kind of happiness where I have a soft heart and I see my kids for exactly what they are... kids, and not children of the corn (I mean what? I would never....)
I have been longing to lose this cloud of guilt, of heaviness, of anxiety and stress, and if we're being totally honest, just self-concerned worries.
So last night I threw it out to the world. No more hiding this little secret, I drove to my parents and I broke down. I asked for a blessing from my dad And after it was over I felt the tiniest cloud lift off, after a call from my mom I felt a little more. After thoughtful messages and help from friends I felt a little more off. I don't think I'm any where near it vanishing but I think little by little I will chip away and hopefully become a more light-hearted, happy, and easy going mama. I was first of all shocked at how many women not only struggle with this occasionally, but struggle daily and for years have battled these feeling on an even deeper level. My heart aches for you and I know that a simple quote, or talk or nice thought will not "cure" your depression or anxiety, but hopefully it will just be one more arrow in your quiver that you can turn to when you need it. So many of you reached out and shared such beautiful messages with me that after seeing how many also struggle with these thoughts, I had to share them.
So copied straight from my Instagram, this is my post. Below the post you will find the links that people have shared with me. If you have anything that you think may help someone when they have these doubts, guilt, or anxieties, please send it along to me and I will gladly add it to the list.
The biggest thing I guess that came out of this that I didn't really expect, was that we are just not alone. Our doubts and our stresses, our guilt and our loneliness. We are NOT unique in these, and thank heavens for that. How wonderful it is that you can reach out and find others who are in the same sinking boat as you and are willing to help you paddle to safety. But here's the key - YOU have to be the one to reach out first.
But in all seriousness, I have had a cloud of anxiety, discouragement and guilt hanging over me today (**edit the last few months) that I couldn't shake no matter what I tried. All the positive reading, podcasts, conversations with friends couldn't shake the heavy weight I felt.
Call it a mental game with myself or call it Satan messing with me (I pick the latter) but I arrived to my parents home in pieces tonight and they, and my sister, built me right back up and helped me remove some of the weight.
After a fathers blessing I was able to breathe a little deeper and see a little clearer. It's still hovering and trying to get at me and honestly I couldn't even tell you what it is exactly.
I'm tired (so tired 😭) not for lack of sleep either, I'm tired from emotions, guilt for not being a good friend, for missing too many calls, for not attending enough play dates, not bringing thoughtful gifts when good or bad things happen to those I love. I'm bothered that I don't have routines to keep every single piece of my life in order, stressed about silly little things like why I can't figure out how to become a minimalist?!? And why didn't I get invited to that party? Or why didn't that group include me in that text thread (I know, little things). I'm worried I'm going to get a disease and then what happens to my family?!? I'm dragged down by the feeling I need to just lay on the floor and ignore the mess and play with my babies while they are little because "they grow so fast and if I blink and I'll miss it." I'm trying!! But The stress says no! I have SO MUCH TO DO! And I'm supposed to enjoy washing their little clothes and little messes because soon they won't be little clothes and then I won't even be washing them when they leave home and again I'm like, I KNOW!! I'm trying to soak up every second I have with them all while working, and maintaining a home and trying to hang on to any friend that has stuck around with me since I really am a crappy friend and I doing my best to get what I need spiritually and listen to my "inner voice" that I'm pretty sure gave up on me a few months ago.
I'm just trying to be a good human and serve those around me and be a good wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, church member, human being in this world and raise good humans and.... I don't know. I feel like this is a bit heavy? I'll stop here. What I guess I'm trying to say is I have days, weeks and months that I struggle, and in between those occasional or longer periods I have great days weeks months where these thoughts don't overwhelm me. I just thought you should know that I'm pretty sure I'm normal, like I think it's normal for this to happen every now and again. I also think it's ok to admit it. I also just want to say I am so grateful for the priesthood and the amazing peace it is able to bring into a mind in disarray. Ok now I'm done. #braindump
- PRAY PRAY PRAY. Get on your knees and pray till you feel like he is listening, no matter how long it takes. || If you are out of practice like I have been, here are a few great resources. 1|2
- Read and Print out - 2nd Timothy 1:7 || For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. || My mom said that she has this printed and on her desk and every day reminds her where the negative thoughts come from. Also this talk.
- Call a friend or family member - the love I felt from family and friends was so unexpected (not that they don't show support always) I just didn't realize how many people cared about what I feel would be a little thing. They reached out because I reached out.
- If you aren't ready to talk about it with anyone, call on your ancestors. I truly believe that our family who has gone before us stands at the ready to help us in any way. I like to think of my Grandma Gwennie pinching me and encouraging me, of course all while drinking a coke. This talk elaborates on this idea.
- Find books that can uplift you. A few that were mentioned. I thought it was just me | Present Over Perfect || I am reading the second book currently and it is amazing.
- However you need to get it, take some time for yourself doing what you can do to connect with your soul. Take a bath, go for a drive and just sit in the car in silence and listen to what your body is telling you.
- Serve people around you. I have made a commitment to myself that for the next 30 days I will find ways to serve people around me. In the morning I am saying a prayer, asking for help to see those around me who I can serve. I know if I can pull my self OUT of myself I will feel lighter and better about my situation. Not all acts of service will be huge but I am keeping a small journal of how it makes me feel. Let me know if you want to join in! ALSO - have you seen this site that you can find ways to serve in your own neighborhood?? It's pretty awesome.
- This talk that was shared with me || Healing = Courage + Action + Grace
So these are just a few of the things that have been sent over and I'm sure I missed a few but I will add as I get more. Thank you all for those who reached out to me. I truly am grateful.