Dear Aunt Becky,

After reading your blog for a while, I know you’re familiar with The Crazy.  Since I don’t know a lot of people personally who really get it, I’d love your advice on recovery.  Long story short, I have a great life – wonderful husband, three amazing daughters, the opportunity to stay home full time, etc.

BUT.

The past two years have been bullshit.  I developed anxiety/panic disorder while pg with baby #3, which I’m still dealing with.  I’m better than I was a few months back, thanks to therapy and meds, but life events have not helped at all (the biggest one being the death of my 6 yr old niece, who was born with a terminal illness.)  I have to fight with phobias and hypochondria on a daily basis.  Of course, I feel guilty to complain since I know there are others who have been dealt worse cards – but this is MY Hell, so it sucks shit through a straw to ME.  I still don’t feel like “the real me”, and I’m not sure I ever will.

I’m sick of it.  I want my life back.  So I ask you, as someone who has been through a similar process: What advice would you give someone who is hoping to get themselves back is the New Year?

Thanks for listening,
Mermama3

Oh Prankster, I so get it and I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I wish like hell shit wasn’t so fucking hard sometimes. I’ll spare you the platitudes because they’re bullshit and if you wanted one, you could get it crocheted on a pillow or something. Sometimes, life is just fucking tough. And then, when you think it can’t get worse? It totally does.

It’s an asshole like that.

Luckily, eventually it stops and you learn to roll with the ups and downs because, well, we’re adaptable.

But you, you sound like you’re on your way to where you need to be. You’ve realized that there’s a problem which, as we all know, is the first step. It SOUNDS trite, but it’s not. Pinning down what it is that’s wrong is hard – harder than people give proper credit. So props to you for that.

Acknowledging that I was sick to fucking death of pretending I was someone that I wasn’t was huge for me. Mentally ditching all of the excess baggage, all of the old ties I didn’t need to people who didn’t deserve my love or loyalty, examining my relationships to see them as they really are, those were all things I had to do to figure out who the fuck Aunt Becky really is and what she stood for.

It sucked.

A lot.

But it was also kinda empowering. Because knowing I was able to fix this, that I could actually control my own happiness and fix my own emotions; that’s a big revelation. I was in charge of my happiness. I was. Me. Your Aunt Becky. In charge of her happiness.

I started with small things.

An orchid plant or three. Some time in my garden alone with my headphones. My phoenix tattoo (that was like 64 kajillion sessions). Creating Mushroom Printing. Then Band Back Together. Getting my hair cut. Walking around Target alone for half an hour. Taking a long drive.

Small things. Small things that made me happy.

I’ve done a lot of crying, too. I can’t believe my eyeballs haven’t exploded, actually. Somehow, I’m still here. More or less intact. You’ll make it, too. I promise. I’m so sure that I made you something. Something to help you along the way. No one should have to walk through The Shit alone when there’s so much good in the world. I know that because I see it all the time here with my Pranksters and over at Band Back Together.

I made you a present. It’s over on Band Back Together.

Go on, go see it. All of you. It’s for everyone – bloggers or not – to join.

You will find yourself again. It may take a lot longer than you’d like and it may suck a lot harder than you think is fair, but you’re in there. I know it.

Sending you a big ass hug without a platitude. Because platitudes are bullshit.

——————-

So, Pranksters, do you have any advice to offer? I know that she and I are not the only two people in the universe who have been in this situation before. How have you found yourself after you’ve been lost for some time?

Also: JOIN THE WORLD TOUR, YO.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

31 Responses to Go Ask Aunt Becky

  • I am there right now. I have battling depression and anxiety on and off my whole life, but after a breast cancer scare this summer (after losing my dad’s fiance to cancer), my anxiety has been out of control. Still I fought using meds. Until yet another health scare sent me spiraling into a deep dark place. I had FOUR doctors confirm the second scare was actually nothing. But my fear, panic and hypochondria are so far out of control I couldnt see the light. The anxiety has also started tension headaches, that would not end. After a week in a fetal position and 4 er trips where I actually thought I was dying, I saw the doctor who put me on a totally different med than I had ever tried before. Its been 2 weeks. I dont feel normal. But I dont feel like I am dying. SO I guess that is a start. I keep telling myself that the meds take a while and someday, I MIGHT feel 100% me again. It’s scary. I am afraid to even hope for that much. Talk to your doctor, might be time to try some new meds.
    I agree with Becky, do little things for you, I am trying hard to get back to that now.
    Know that you are so not alone. That there are other moms out there fighting the same fight. And dammit we will win.

  • Katie says:

    My dear, I have been where you have been. And, I am looking at you from the other side! (Yes, there IS another side…a much happier one!) I was diagnosed at 13 with mild depression and generalized anxiety disorder. For years, I fought back with therapy. And today, at 21, I can say that I am the happiest I have ever been (and have been happy for years). My anxiety is under control (due to LOTS of meditation…yes, meditation…I don’t use anxiety medication). My depression is gone. This year has been HELL for me. I received two chronic, incurable disease diagnoses this year. I am currently sick with a cold I can’t kick because I am on steroids for arthritis (and I have asthma, which doesn’t help). I am trying to do 34 million things and accomplish everything, and have been more stressed than ever before. BUT. I am the happiest I have been. I did therapy. I still do therapy on an as-needed basis. I do life for ME. I remind myself that life has to involve space and time for me. I can’t focus everything everywhere else.

    So, take care of YOU for now. No one will blame you if you take a late night bath every day, or light a candle when you get home from work, or buy yourself a candy bar every Friday. Do what you need for you, while still living your life. Make it part of that.

    Good luck dearie, *internet hug!*

  • Heather says:

    I agree with the other two commentors completely! Stay with your therapy and meds, and do something for yourself. Even if a babysitter comes over for an hour so you can go to Starbucks for a cup of latte, or McDonalds to grab a Coke and just drive around and listen to music. Raising children is not an easy job for ANYONE, no matter how put together they look. Sending you cyber hugs (((HUGS))).
    God bless!

  • karen says:

    I’m 43 and I was lucky. In my early 20s I was killing myself slowly, and knew I had to figure things out. I sought help. I found some really frightening services (more damaging than good) some meh, and some outstanding mentors as I went along. But mostly I persevered by putting one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other.

    The thing we all have to remember is that, while some people absolutely need meds for assistance, it is still a hard slog to get to the other side of things. No matter how you slice it, there is no magic pill. (Heck, sometimes it is hard to just take the medication, never mind do anything more.)

    I didn’t take meds, but only because I knew in my heart that meds would have taken away the feelings that I needed to sort out … I have a mother who NEEDS meds (and takes/doesn’t take em at whim) so I am not dissing ‘em, they just weren’t best for my path.

    That journey gave me a lot of skills that have helped me through some interesting, tough, heartbreaking time. At 43 I can tell you that there is another side, it just takes blood, sweat and tears to get there.

    And the other side, whilst still interesting and, at times challenging, is the BEST because of the skills learned from that horrible, dark time before.

    Best wishes, Prankster, and keep on keeping on. You can do it!

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      You said it well. There is no magic pill, no magic solution to the hard work that goes along with finding oneself. That said, having a support system – even online – which is where mine has been, that’s been instrumental to my health.

      But there is another, brighter side. Always.

      xo

      • karen says:

        I love that there is this amazing online community. It makes us feel so much less alone, not only when we are in need, but also when we are those voices of caring … this forum (especially, but many others as well) reflect my values back to me 100 fold plus plus.

        xox to all of yous …

        karen

  • GingerB says:

    Um, yeah, parenting and my own health issues have kicked me to hell and back in the last few years. I was at a party tonight with friends I’ve known since I was a teenager who drank a lot, and here we are twenty years later. As we talked about how and who we are now, I kept remarking on how I expected the hard work of parenting but I didn’t expect the laughing, and that is one of the ways I hang on – trying to remember to notice the joyful bits along with the fear and exhaustion. I didn’t know I was going to be a special needs mom, I thought I could just be supermom, and smackdown! Learned a few lessons there, still learning more. I am using antidepressants and painkillers, I am working my way back to remembering to take care of me, going to Jazzercise is key to that and I will never forget that lesson again. Sometimes I do a little Buddhist chanting which works much like meditation. I’d like to do more but again, I keep forgetting to care for me, and that is what I need to do more of. My best advice is to love yourself as you are and pay attention when you feel joy. Keep us posted.

  • Me says:

    I started having bad anxiety attacks while pregnant with baby #3. I had 2 kids in a row both cesereans. The youngest 2 kids are age 1 and 3 now. A month after the youngest was born we were all in the car and we got run over by an Escalade and my car was done for.

    The kids dad works 14 hours a day, none of us see him and we moved so I could “walk to things” and “make some friends” but it has been so cold I can’t really take the babies for walks right now.

    I feel more alone than ever. I had nobody to help me recover from my surgeries. The most recent hole in my tummy has taken a year and a half to stop hurting. The worst part is that being alone so much just makes the anxiety worse. Their dad is an awesome guy I love him so much.

    There are days, like today, where I wonder if I’d be better off leaving. My oldest child was half grown when we had the babies. I had freedom, a life, friends and a job where I made incredible money. We had kids because WE wanted to. He works so much I feel like everything is on me and that I am alone. The girls are full of anxiety because they miss their daddy.

    Just recently (since we have moved) my 3 year old daughter has started seeing and talking to a “boy” in her room. It’s freaking me out bc I don’t know if this is an imaginary friend she has come up with so that she doesn’t feel lonely or because she is trying to cope with all the changes or if this is something that I need to be concerned about.

    I totally know how you feel. ALL I WANT is my life back! What did I do to deserve this? I am sick of being alone. I am sick of anxiety, sick of stress and lack of freedom. I could really use some personal space yet I’m really in need of some real human contact. I could really use anybody that can actually hold an intelligent conversation.

    I am crying like a baby while I write this. The morning really has started off the wrong way today. I’m going to go try and pull myself together now so I can go be a slave to my kids for the next 12 hours. I wish you good luck. You are not alone.

    • Mermama3 says:

      Big hugs to you honey. My DH works second shift so I know how hard it is to be alone and lonely during the toughest routines of the day – especially when everyone else seems to have this fabulous support system. Speaking as a pre-k teacher by trade, LOTS of kids your daughter’s age have imaginary friends. My 9 year old still pulls hers out on occasion. It doesn’t necessarily mean deep, inner turmoil, I promise you. And if she needs help sometime down the line, you’ll know – because you are her mother, and mothers rock at knowing what their kids need. Give yourself permission to be “good enough” for the time being – after all, how much do you remember from being a toddler? Things will get better, and thanks to Aunt Becky, you have a support system now. We’ll get there together. I like to think about this quote by Winston Churchill – “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” ?

    • karen says:

      Hey ME, You can find this me on Aunt Becky’s FB page (Becky Sherrick Harks) — her only Karen Tsang. I am a terrific listener when you need a sympathetic ear out there to telephone, even if I am in a different country — only Canada — not too expensive — just send me an e through that and either I’ll send you my number or you send me yours and I’ll call you.

      We are out here for you in forces, in every way, shape and form.

  • Me says:

    I started having bad anxiety attacks while pregnant with baby #3. I had 2 kids in a row both cesereans. The youngest 2 kids are age 1 and 3 now. A month after the youngest was born we were all in the car and we got run over by an Escalade and my car was done for.

    The kids dad works 14 hours a day, none of us see him and we moved so I could “walk to things” and “make some friends” but it has been so cold I can’t really take the babies for walks right now.

    I feel more alone than ever. I had nobody to help me recover from my surgeries. The most recent hole in my tummy has taken a year and a half to stop hurting. The worst part is that being alone so much just makes the anxiety worse. Their dad is an awesome guy I love him so much.

    There are days, like today, where I wonder if I’d be better off leaving. My oldest child was half grown when we had the babies. I had freedom, a life, friends and a job where I made incredible money. We had kids because WE wanted to. He works so much I feel like everything is on me and that I am alone. The girls are full of anxiety because they miss their daddy.

    Just recently (since we have moved) my 3 year old daughter has started seeing and talking to a “boy” in her room. It’s freaking me out bc I don’t know if this is an imaginary friend she has come up with so that she doesn’t feel lonely or because she is trying to cope with all the changes or if this is something that I need to be concerned about.

    I totally know how you feel. ALL I WANT is my life back! What did I do to deserve this? I am sick of being alone. I am sick of anxiety, sick of stress and lack of freedom. I could really use some personal space yet I’m really in need of some real human contact. I could really use anybody that can actually hold an intelligent conversation.

    I am crying like a baby while I write this. The morning really has started off the wrong way today. I’m going to go try and pull myself together now so I can go be a slave to my kids for the next 12 hours. I wish you good luck. You are not alone.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I’m so sorry, dude. I’m really, really sorry. I could have written this (aside from the C-Section and anxiety issues with the kids). We moved to STC for the same reasons.

      So. Let’s hang this week if I can ditch jury duty. I’d love to see you and I could seriously use a friend, too. My kids are the same age as yours and could use some friends.

      Can’t wait to see you. Hopefully, the Jury Commission lets me go.

  • Becky says:

    I think many of us are in a similar place just trying to find ourselves and like Aunt Becky said it’s just the little things that help get us through. I only recently admitted I needed help and started getting it so I can’t give you a lot of advice but I can say just enjoy every smile and laugh you come across in your day it helps, and don’t be afraid to talk to someone when your having a bad day even if it’s friends here on the internet getting it out makes it so much easier to deal with than internalizing it.

  • Carri says:

    I get it, girl. I’ve suffered from anxiety my entire life and I must say that it’s an every day battle. However, with therapy, some meds and support, you WILL get to the other side and you’ll be stronger because of it.
    You can’t just pop a pill and feel better; it’s a lot of work. Right now, it’s about taking one day at a time, looking at the good things in life (even if it’s just one shitty little thing like, Gee… that flower is pretty) and being around positive people who support your getting better. Get rid of those shitty people in your life and feel the weight lift from your shoulders. Take a 30 minute walk around the mall, the park, where ever, to clear your mind. Take a minute for yourself, for your recovery.
    I will tell you that there are days you’ll fall, days you won’t want to get out of bed, days that you want to just fall asleep and not wake up. I’m not going to lie and say that these tips are going to turn your life into sunshine and unicorn farts because they won’t. Hang in there, work on figuring out what your triggers are, and avoid them.
    Smooches and hugs from a fellow PPD/Anxiety survivor

  • Anxiety is such a bitch. Parenting is hard, being a mom is really hard. I was fearless before my first was born and then I was afraid of everything. Severe sleep deprivation doesn’t help either. I was diagnosed with post partum depression and put on meeds that didn’t help. Eventually I began to adjust and feel better. My second is seven months old now and the PPD came back hard but I think I can feel it starting to lift.
    I felt better as soon as I admitted to myself what was going on and sought help. Therapy, exercise (running with really loud music on my iPod), writing, and getting some time alone are all things that helped me. I’m still learning to just stop and breath when I get overwhelmed but slowly everything is getting better.
    Good luck, I hope you feel better sooner rather than later.

    • Mermama3 says:

      I agree, parenting is horribly hard – especially for people like all the moms here who want so badly to do it right. I often say the army’s got it wrong: Parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever love.

  • TheTameOne says:

    Anxiety sucks monkey balls! I’ve dealt with it my entire life. I love Lexapro and wine very much. I also love cognitive therapy and HATE/LOATHE/DESPISE/KILL NutraSweet/Phenylalanine/Aspartame. Avoid it at all costs. Trust me on this. Love to you and to Aunt Becky too, of course.
    ?

  • Smaaaaaash says:

    Don’t feel guilty talking about how crap your day was. Or how crap you feel. Have othe people gone through worse? Probably. But we aren’t here to help them. We’re here to help you.

  • Smaaaaaash says:

    Don’t feel guilty talking about how crap your day was. Or how crap you feel. Have othe people gone through worse? Probably. But we aren’t here to help them. We’re here to help you.

  • Mermama3 says:

    You guys are so awesome I can’t even stand it. I’m so thrilled to be a Prankster. Love and strength to all. And Aunt Becky – you are my hero!

  • andygirl says:

    I think your advice was kickass, Becky! I’ll add that for me getting happy, I needed the support of a therapist. doctors just wrote me prescriptions (but because my mom is a drug addict, that scared me a bit). but sitting down every week to talk to someone who didn’t judge me, whose job it was to just support and listen and validate and guide…that was immensely helpful!

  • karen says:

    I have more encouragement … I just can’t help it …

    I took a parenting class some years ago (when my first was 2 and my second was 6 months and I found myself in constant conflict with a 2 year old … PLUS she was me and I was my mom and I was NOT going to relive that mess in any shape or form …)

    I would report into the class each week by saying well, I figure I had 8 good parenting moments this week … ;-)

    It’s always increments, right? So long as we keep walking, and counting the good moments and loving ourselves, especially on the CRAPPIEST of days when we feel like we are at our worst.

    xox

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Go Ask Aunt Becky | Mommy Wants Vodka -- Topsy.com

  • Kristin says:

    I am there with you right now. I am so far down in this Black Hole Abyss that I am not sure I will ever find the way out. I am not sure there is light to see. But I am trying. I am getting shit tons of therapy, I post at Band Back Together. I have my own little blog I tinker on. I kinda want to write on it more this year cause I really think I need to. But I heard there is no normal. It’s all relative I just want to feel like the old me when I was at least happier. So Prankster I feel your pain and I am hear to listen anytime you need a shoulder.

  • gina says:

    Been there. Wow, have I been there. I lost count of the counselors/psychologists/psychiatrists I saw. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was what ultimately helped the most, coupled with some damn good meds (Celexa was my drug of choice) and topped off with consistent yoga practice. You gotta figure out what works for you. When you know, you’ll know. And you will. I’m med-and doc-free at the moment. Good luck.

  • Kyddryn says:

    I wish I could give some sage advice, offer an answer…but honestly? I just keep on slogging through the muck until I reach solid ground…or not…but I keep on because I have to, don’t I? I’m Mommy, and we aren’t allowed to sink up to our necks in it, even when the struggle to remain upright is unbearable.

    As for this: “How have you found yourself after you’ve been lost for some time?” I’ll let you know should I ever manage it.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K (muddling along with depression, agoraphobia, OCD, paranoia, and xenophobia since she was at least six years old…and that’s a fuck-load of years)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

About Twitter Band Back Together Facebook Muschroom Printing Subscribe

blog advertising is good for you
wholesale kids clothing

Cheap and cool tutu dresses with readers

Buy Cool Toys for Your Children at Everbuying.com at a cheap price.

Archives

Marchin’ for Mimi!


blog advertising is good for you