FEAR is the monster that lives under my bed. I think he’s green, but he could be orange or even purple, hard to really tell since when he shows up it’s quite dark in my world. It’s scary, he often shows up out of the blue and without much warning. I have lived with some level of fear for the past 18 months or more. An elevated level, more than worry and at times pushing total freak out. This fear debilitated me for a period of time early in the process of my son’s illness. It felt as though I was on the world’s faster roller coaster; with more loops, dark tunnels and speeds that continued to take me from zero to totally freaking out in seconds and then back again. Faster than your average amusement park ride.
In fact, at the onset of this situation, I found myself going through a myriad of emotions. I vacillated between being scared to death and being angrier than hell (Not with my son but the situation). I wanted to kick and scream and run away from the situation. I wanted to claw the eyes out of every doctor, social worker and treatment team I came in contact with. And then I wanted to climb into my blanket cave and stay there until the whole thing was over. Back and forth I went: Anger, fear, anger, fear. At times it felt like I couldn’t breathe and other times as though I was breathing too much. You get the point. I was a hot mess. No other way to describe it.
Then I started to look at things differently, it was the beginning of acceptance, because I realized that this situation wasn’t just going to go away and things were not going to return to normal. I didn’t even know what normal was and today “normal” doesn’t look anything like what it did a year and half ago. I also realized that camping out in my blanket cave, not eating or sleeping was taking a physical and emotional toll on my life and I knew that wasn’t the way to help my son. I needed something that would really get my butt in gear and get me started on a path of self-care. I had thought about taking up running, Zumba, or going back to the pottery studio where I had been taking classes the year prior to this crisis. Nothing sounded good. Honestly, it was exhausting to even think about getting myself up and out. I was conflicted because my days revolved around ensuring that my son was ok, visiting him in the hospital, attending family meetings, school meetings, doctors appointments, etc. I made up excuses that I didn’t have time. I didn’t have the energy. Honestly, I was in a way punishing myself as well. There was a part of me that didn’t feel as though I deserved to take care of myself. Clearly I hadn’t been able to take care of my son. (And there’s the blame that I mentioned in this post –> The Stigma: Blame, Shame and Secrecy ) I wasn’t immune to it. Being an active parent for my children and doing the best I could for them has always been a top priority. In fact, it was more than that; it was how I defined myself as a “good” parent. And this is where the FEAR Monster rears his head again.
Still, I needed to do something different, what I was doing was not working for me. I was living in constant fear; I was hiding from life and not treating myself well at all. Then, I was told about a yoga program being offered by a local studio, Inspire Yoga (InspirePenfield.com) called “40 days to Personal Revolution” based on the yoga teachings of Baron Baptiste. I signed up immediately. Boy did I jump in with both feet! The program included a commitment to practice yoga six times per week, participate in weekly workshops and focus on mediation, journaling and improving diet. Now, I know that this is not the perfect recipe for everyone going through a crisis of this type, but it was absolutely perfect for me. Once I committed to the program, I was dedicated to participating full on. As I look back, the reason why this program was so perfect for me was that the intensity of it mirrored the intensity of what I was experiencing attempting to come to terms with my son’s illness and the physical, mental and emotional strength needed to support him. It created balance.
Since the program’s completion, I have stayed with my yoga practice and focus on a goal of 3-5 practices per week. This keeps me present and much more grounded, even when the FEAR monster rears his head. And rears his head he does, often. I realized through this process that my goal really wasn’t to make the fear go away, but instead to recognize it and use the tools I learned in yoga – breathing, grounding, staying present, and resting – to not respond and react to the fear. I no longer move from zero to freak out, though I still experience all levels of fear from time to time. I just keep coming back to my yoga mat and bring that practice into and throughout my day. Oh, and I have come to recognize and accept that I am a “good” mother; forgiving myself for my perceived shortcomings.
This continues to be a work in process. What I know for sure is that taking care of me is top priority. If I’m not well, I really cannot be present for my son or my family.
Join the conversation, follow me on Twitter @farfrmparadise or email me at FarFromParadiseBlog@gmail.com
Thank goodness for yoga and grounding
And thank goodness for your love and support! xoxo
Krista Khan says
Once again you has shared your story and put your heart on your sleeve. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You inspire me to face my fears and to accept what situations have been given to me. Face them and do the best I can.
I’m not always successful and most days it’s just too hard and I give up but I will keep trying. Thanks sunshine. Love ya to bits!!! xoxo
Thank you Krista! Keep up the good work! xoxo
Lisa Callinan says
Amy, your courage to just move forward through the full on discomfort, is just incredible!! So glad you found some solace on the mat. I too found some solace through yoga when I needed it most.
Thanks Lisa! Yoga has been such an amazing blessing for me! I’m blessed to be able to practice as often as I do, such a gift! xoxo
Thank you Lisa! xoxo
“What I know for sure is that taking care of me is top priority.” That, I still can’t do 🙁
Nikky, it will come in time. Your blog is an excellent way that you are taking care of yourself, by telling your story at your pace! You are doing it! xo
What can I say? You are such an amazing inspiration to all who struggle with self-care and self-worth. Keep sharing. You do it so very simply and yet profoundly that it goes to the very heart. Love to you, Lady!
Thanks so much Nikki! Love to you too!
Amelia Mims says
Yoga has been my salvation and given me the tools to function a little better with bipolar and that also comes with fears. Your son’s illness is not your fault. My parents unconditional love and support is as important to me as my meds that keep me stable. I am a late-30’s woman and my Mom and Dad hurt when I hurt, but have come to accept tht this is not their fault, they cannot fix it, they can only love me and be there for me. I hope they life with less fear. This is all meant to encourage you and give you hope. I am much better now and live a pretty good life with a home and a career. My blessings to you and your son. My heart goes out to both of you.
Rachel Kieffer (@HealthNutGirl11) says
Wonderful share. Thank you.
Taking care of you helps you take care of your son. Hoping yoga continues to help you relax.