Anxiety + Hope

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”- Chuang Tzu

My daughter Ellie refuses to eat chicken without ketchup.

Jack, my oldest, will not slide down a slide without yelling, “Yahoo!

The youngest, August, can’t go to sleep without his stuffed puppy Deke.

And for some reason, my body will not function without anxiety. If there is even a hint of calm in my spirit, my brain finds something to get worked up about. If things are going good, that little voice pops in and says, “Nope, don’t get comfortable because it is definitely going to fall apart again. I promise.”

I plan things like trips or parties and just as soon as I have gotten myself committed to the idea, that voice comes back in and says, “Buckle up, buttercup, it’s about to go down.”

At night, it is a race between my mind and body – which will fall asleep first? Will my body relax quickly enough that it won’t give my mind time to start the downward spiral into all of the things I didn’t do good enough today?

My therapist says that voice serves as a manager to protect me from disappointment that served me well at some point. We talked about that a lot recently in one of our visits, and I realized that the last time I got really – I mean REALLY – excited without that little voice in my ear was when I found out that Ellie would be a girl. That was right before her diagnoses were discovered and my whole world changed.

“Don’t you have a kid with something wrong with it?” I was asked this week by a person I hadn’t seen in a while.

I wanted to roll my eyes and leave while waving my middle finger in the air, but I caught myself.

“I have a 4-year-old daughter with Down syndrome and heart problems,” I said with a gigantic smile, “but she is doing great. And I have a smart first-grader and a 3-year-old who just had a birthday. They all drive me crazy.”

I read that you can’t have anxiety without hope. That makes me feel a little better about what I am accepting as just part of my DNA. I want to be known as a person who is hopeful, even if she is a nervous wreck who is always planning for the worst-case scenario. Just like I want my kids to be known as the special, kind, talented, loves of my life that they are instead of the problems that they create in their wake.

I don’t know much, but one thing I do know is that you can’t feel the joy of the highest highs without experiencing the sorrow of the lowest lows, and if we hide from the sadness and anxiety, we can’t get underneath that to remember the spark of hope that keeps us moving forward and fuels our fires to change the world.

My kids. Each have something wrong with them, but even still, they are the coolest people I have ever met.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Diane Perkins says:

    TU! Thisssss is beyond awesome! You absolutely “nailed “ the emotions so many of us experience! Life is quite an interesting “roller coaster” journey Your children are precious, beautiful & handsome YOU are an “AMAZING MOM” and WONDERFUL inspiration to so many . Please continue Blessing us with your insightful thoughts😇💕


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