My Tough Week and International Women’s Day

It was immediately obvious what day it was as soon as I checked my social media feeds this morning. International Women’s Day was plastered all over my media channels. I scrolled through stories of strong, composed and successful women beating the odds, overcoming their fears, expanding their reach, building others up, and achieving their ambitions. I also saw numerous doting husbands and other men raving about how they are in awe of the amazing women in their lives. Awesome! I was genuinely glad to see these posts.

But I want to be real with you. I struggled to relate to it all today.

Before I elaborate, I feel for the sake of women experiencing anxiety or depression, I should give a disclaimer:

Trigger warning

This is out of respect for women who are in the throws of postpartum anxiety or depression. It’s wonderful to read about others’ journeys and relate to each other, but you need to know your boundaries. If reading about one of my darker days isn’t going to help you right now, then don’t.  I promise it ends on a hopeful note though!

I’d gotten a terrible sleep. My husband isn’t the “social media PDA” type (which is fine). And the last couple weeks have been really tough. My mental health had taken a deep dive. I hadn’t felt this bad since my son, now a year, had been an infant.

Just a week ago, I found myself rocking back and forth on the couch during a severe anxiety attack, near-hyperventilating into my hands while sobbing to my husband that “I just want a bunch of pills to put me to sleep so I don’t have to wake up again.”

Simultaneously, the guilt sunk into my soul as I peeked through at my innocent, precious little ones looking at me with confusion and worry in their eyes. And I lie spoke to me out of the current darkness of my mind: “Look at me. I am passing the anxiety on to them. They are going to have to fight this their whole lives too, and it will be my fault.”

How did I get to this point?

Well, busyness, stress and lack of self-care all added up and took its inevitable toll. Since moving to a new city, I was unable to continue with the in-home cognitive therapy support I had been receiving. I also had let my eagerness to get our new home in order overshadow my need for sleep, and my son had been teething at warp speed (he pushed through SIX teeth in one week!)

Mercifully, I was able to get back to my more “normal” self later in the week and found a renewed motivation to focus on self-care and make time for myself. I took my vitamins. I went to bed early. I ate proper meals. I clumsily followed some YouTube fitness routines. And with help from family, I even managed to clean the home and put together a nice (belated) one-year birthday party for my son. And then I got two nights of terrible sleep and did a little too much, and woke up with the heavy weight of exhaustion on me again. I was in a fog all day, and I could feel a general anxiety start drumming away in me again – telling me that I need to get out of this funk now so I don’t go there, get to that point, again.

I spent a good deal amount of time on the couch today, letting my children discover their own way to play while I semi-dozed and tried to think nice thoughts about myself. And along with some very kind encouragement from a local mom’s Facebook group I recently joined, here is the conclusion I came to by the end of the day.

International Women’s Day is for me too.

Mentally I know this – I am a woman after all. But emotionally, I was feeling all day like I fell short. Like I didn’t deserve any praise or do anything worth applauding.

But here is the TRUTH:

As women, we don’t have to be feeling 100% all of the time to be worthy. We are beautifully and wonderfully made – just as we are. Sure, we will go through life improving ourselves and having successes and failures. And if we choose to, we can allow our loving Creator to fill us and refine us.
But we are already who we were created to be.
We are already enough. We can have loud and proud days, quiet and contemplative days, or frail and vulnerable days. We can be busy, bored, successful, struggling, wandering, waiting, rejoicing or raging. None of it makes us more or less a woman. None of it makes us more or less worthy.

Let me make it more personal for you. Please pin or share this as a reminder to yourself!

We are worth celebrating, today and every day!
Let you be you and let your light shine through!

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