I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Struggling with OCD

When hubby asked if I would like to go with him to Chicago, I was pretty excited. It's a no-brainer really. All it would cost us is a plane ticket and a little food money. Some time away with my husband and some time to myself while the kids stay and have fun with family?

Hmmm, let me think about that.

He will have a conference to go to during the day and I am looking forward to having some uninterrupted time to read, shop, possibly meander. Then dinner each night with my man taking in some fun sights and the timing really couldn't be better. I have alluded to the last six months being on the challenging side before. We have been involved in some emotionally hard situations the last six months and it has taken it's toll on both of us.

We are not falling apart by any stretch. But sometimes when you are too close to a situation, you need to take a step back and gain some perspective. Finding the vision for our role and just getting a breather can be enough to keep us putting one foot in front of the other for a good while longer.

It can be hard to get that breather and perspective at home even when the circumstances aren't right in front of us. Caught up in the day to day happenings can make it hard to focus and see things clearly.

This trip wasn't the easiest for me to yes to, however. Since starting a family, I have developed somewhat of an anxiety issue. When Olivia passed away (our ten day old, premature, infant daughter) I became pregnant within a few months. We were over the moon but about half way through the pregnancy I began to have serious panic attacks. I struggled with them until my last trimester when there was some relief when our second daughters impending birth took center stage. But the issues were not gone. They resurfaced when our little girl was a few months old and post partum depression crept in.

The darkness was there and I felt like I was in a hole with no help in sight. At that point, it became clear to us that I had not fully processed Olivia's death. I had supressed a lot of my emotions through the pregnancy, refusing to give this new child inside of me a sobbing, grieving mother. It didn't seem fair to a newborn baby. My guess is that the supression built up and that is what triggered the panic attacks during the pregnancy.

But here I was now a sobbing, grieving, anxious new mother. It was at this point that I began medication to help me get a handle on things. I also went to a see a counselor a couple of times just to tell my story to someone who didn't have an emotional tie to my family. It was hard for me to really open up and talk about things with either side of our family because I knew that my pain was their pain. They were grieving also.

Seeing the counselor helped me to get outside of myself. Those two sessions were some of the best two hours I have invested. It has been almost ten years but while I have been able to process the grief and move on, there are some residual effects of that time in my life. I now find my self struggling with an obsessive/complusive side to things. I obsess about my children and their well being, with my relationships, with conversations, homeschooling, with finances and it goes on and on.

It is not always a daily struggle. The fall and winter months are the hardest though. The familiar smells of this time of year that take me back to those places where the pain overcame me. I have to make a conscious choice each and every day to submit my fears and obsessions at the foot of the cross. They are too heavy for me to carry alone.

That is why this trip, as enticing and exciting as it sounds (and will be), is so hard to say yes to. There are fears. Fears of dying and leaving my children alone, fears of my children not being taken care of the way I would like them to be, fears of just generally awful things happening. They are irrational and that's why saying yes to this trip is so important to me and to my husband. I have to look those fears straight in the face and say no way, I am still going to live. I will not be paralyzed by the fear.

Olivia's birthday will be while we are away and I think it's no conincidence. We will celebrate ten years since she was born, together, just the two of us. The way it all began.

And I can't wait.


Joanna J. said...

What a beautiful post. I just stumbled on your blog, and I can identify with much of what you have said.

The only way for one to find peace and contentment in this world is to cast our burdens at the foot of the cross and remember the unmatched blessings He has given us: a Savior, forgiveness of sins, eternal life!

My personal cross to bear over the years has been infertility and loss through miscarriages. God chose to bless me with one beautiful little girl, but EVEN IF HE HADN'T, He still deserves my whole heart and all my praise!

Day to day can get hard...discontentment and jealously can creep in when people around me are having babies and growing their families, and I must accept that God is good and His will is perfect for my life. He has closed my womb, but He has not closed my access to grace and mercy. Hallelujah!

I hope you have a wonderful time of renewal and rest with your husband. Thanks for the reminder to cast my burdens on the Lord,

Many blessings from your new reader,

Joanna @ Grace In The Home

Sarah said...

I pray you have a wonderful time in Chicago! You both deserve this treat (even if it IS a work related trip!)and your kids will be in good hands, I'm sure. Praying you'll be able to rest in His peace and faithfulness!!