What I Needed to Hear

Dear Sadie & Jane,

You are my two little people.  Your wellbeing is the most important thing in the world to me. Loving you wasn’t a choice, it just happened when you were in my belly.  It’s funny because knowing myself and my own limitations, I wouldn’t have predicted that I would be quite this enamored.  I can’t watch you sleep without crying.  Not one time have I been able to.  Because of you two, I know what love is, not a kind of love, but love.  It’s one of the only things in life that I’m sure of.  I’m anxious about a lot of things, but I find calmness in knowing that this love that I have for you will go on forever.  Somehow, I know that it’s a love that time can’t touch.  I’m so grateful for you two.  My love for you is a superpower…and I like the idea of having a superpower.

I started this blog because I wanted to help people with anxiety, but also because I desperately wanted you to have my thoughts all in one place in case you ever need them.  In case I’m not here.  I know that may sound a bit egotistical, but you are my daughters, so you are supposed to care about my thoughts and feelings, right?  As strange as this may seem (or not), there have been times when I worried that I wouldn’t get to see you grow up.  I’ve been afraid that I might not be here to help you through life, the way my mom (your Grammy) has helped me.  Even though I do my best to insulate you from it, someday you will know that I have anxiety, specifically health anxiety, and at that at times in my life it’s been crippling.

One of things that has helped me most has been accepting that I can’t control everything and that I may be sick or get sick.  In other words, accepting that what I’m afraid of may happen and that no amount of anxiety will prevent it.  If it does happen then I’ll find a way to manage it.  It's good to focus on the fact you can find a way to handle whatever happens.  Remember, your anxiety has nothing to do with whether or not something bad will happen.  Nothing.  They seem connected, but they aren’t.

If you are struggling with health anxiety, or any other form of acute anxiety, you can manage it and live happily.  Over the last decade or so, I’ve learned to manage it pretty well and sometimes I even forget about it…but that was a long time coming.  I know everyone is different, but if you have the will to figure it out then you can do it.  I promise.  You will have extremely hard times and sometimes even when you are trying your best, you’ll have to be ok with just getting by.  There will be lots of times when your mind and thoughts are telling you things that just aren’t true and your feelings will be all mixed up with the thoughts.  That’s because feelings follow thoughts and thoughts follow feelings.  You will need to learn how to work with both and appreciate how connected they are.  I know how hard that can be when you’re right in the middle of those strong thoughts and feelings that can be so noisy, scary and confusing.  Keep trying.  Over time, you will learn to figure out which thoughts make you stronger and which ones make you weaker.  You'll learn how to encourage the ones that strengthen you and dampen the ones that don’t.  You will also learn that feelings are unpredictable, nearly impossible to control and come and go like waves on the surface of the ocean.  They are there for you to enjoy, share and to use creatively, but they can also make you reckless, so don’t mistake them as truth and don’t make decisions based primarily on them.  Instead, listen to the whispers from the places inside you that are steady and calm, that is where you will find yourself. (P.S, you have to listen closely because they aren’t nearly as loud and persuasive as those darn feelings).  Try to remember that it takes time to learn how to do all of this so please be patient and kind to yourself.  Lastly, when there is nothing left to hang on to, always remember these words.  This too shall pass.  It will.   -Momma Jen