Parenting is hard. For many of us, it’s a daily battle between trying to do what’s best and trying to just get through the day. For so many more, it’s trying to juggle being a mom or dad while managing our own mental health struggles. Blogger Kim Zapata recently shared a post about being a mom and parenting with anxiety, and her brutal honesty is resonating with moms everywhere.
The post on her Facebook page details what it’s like when your anxiety swoops in and knocks you down and parenting with anxiety.
Kim writes, “Earlier today, my anxiety came to a head. I found myself shaking on the toilet, and in tears. I found myself unable to articulate anything. My thoughts, my feelings, everything was just too big.”
“I am afraid of a monster I cannot see, of a future I cannot predict, and of matters in which I have no control.”
Kim shares that while she has a prescription for medication to help manage her anxiety and depression, she often refuses to take it. The stigma surrounding mental health and moms who take meds led to her feeling shame over that little pill. She goes on to say, “So instead of taking my prescription, I sat with my anxiety. I tried to meditate and breathe through it. I tried to write and work through it, but nothing helped.”
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.”. Approximately 40 millions adults over the age of 18 have an anxiety disorder.
But while anxiety disorders are very treatable, only 1/3 of sufferers seek or receive treatment.
Let that sink in a minute. ONE THIRD of people living and dealing with an anxiety disorder receive treatment. So many people choose instead to suffer in silence, or try to manage their anxiety or depression alone. Again, the public stigma of mental illness can make people forgo treatment or stop before their disorder is under control. It’s heartbreaking and dangerous.
Which is why Kim’s words have struck a chord with so many. By bringing it out of the darkness, she’s shedding light on a subject that affects so many, and making it ok to say, “I need help.” She writes, “But everything passes. With medication. With meditation. With exercise. With counseling or cognitive therapy, group therapy or art therapy, or any other thing which gets you through.” Whatever it is you need, THAT IS WHAT YOU NEED.
We’ve read stories of people who were overcome by their mental illness and took their own lives. Or mothers who took the lives of their children. We all know someone parenting with anxiety, or through depression, or while trying to manage their own mental health. Maybe it’s you. And maybe you needed to read this today. To know that you are not alone. And that asking for help, and getting help, is nothing to be ashamed of. Our mental health matters, and we as a society have to start recognizing that.
(Image: Facebook / Sunshine Spoils Milk by Kimberly Zapata)