Thank You, Mom, for Supporting Me Through My Anxiety Disorder
My mother is my best friend. She knows me better than anyone else does, and not just because she gave birth to me. She has seen me at my absolute worst and has discovered first hand what it’s like to live with an anxiety disorder by watching me.
My mother is one of the least anxious people I know. She has a go with the flow attitude and can always roll with the punches. So when I told her I wanted to seek out counseling for my anxiety disorder, I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be. We never talked about mental health in my family growing up and I was nervous that her opinion of me would change, but it didn’t. I thought she wouldn’t be able to understand what I was talking about, and at first she honestly didn’t. She educated herself though and learned all she could to try to help me. She has since become my biggest ally in this battle with my mental health.
Through the years she has never made me feel bad about my anxiety and now understands better than anyone what I go through. She has witnessed many of my panic attacks and has become my support system because she gets it on a level that many of my other family members and friends don’t.
I began to notice that when I was having a panic attack out somewhere, I usually ended up calling her. When I was going to a interview at a university, and got lost along the way wandering through this huge campus, I called her as I started to freak out. Or when I had a panic attack on a bus and had to get off at the wrong stop and was a crying mess, I called her. And I can’t forget all the times I had panic attacks while driving around a new city, or feeling like everyone is laughing at me in a mall or having a meltdown in a church bathroom.
During those times I call her because I mostly think I’m dying and I need a witness to testify if it actually does happen (but so far I’m still alive). I also call her because I feel alone and I need someone to remind me that I’m not, and she does that. Even when it’s late at night or early in the morning, I know she is the one person who will answer my call and tell me it’s going to be OK. Just hearing her voice calms me down and makes me realize I can get through this.
Sometimes I feel like a child when I call her begging for help, unable to do this on my own. It makes me feel like I’m not an adult and can’t handle my anxiety. In those moments, I have to tell myself that it’s OK to reach out for help even if it’s from your mother.
I often wonder what I’m going to do when she’s gone. My anxiety tells me I will have no one to call and be completely alone. My anxiety is wrong though, because I truly believe that even when my mother leaves this earth, she will never leave me because she will always be in my heart and mind telling me, “Monique, you can do this.”
My mother has made me strong. Her confidence and belief in me means the world. It makes me believe I can get through anything including a nasty panic attack. I’ve heard many people say their mother provides them with the same kind of comfort as mine, even if they don’t battle a mental illness every day. I think that is what mothers are meant to do — love, support and comfort their children no matter what. Yes, we the children have to grow up and stand on our own two feet, but I think it makes everyone feel better knowing that most times their mother is just a phone call away. It makes me feel like I can go out into the world every day because someone always has my back even if we are miles and miles apart.
Blake Shelton is one of my favorite country music artists. In his song, “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking,” he sings one of my favorite lines, “Call up momma when all else fails.” That line means many things to many different people, but to me it says perfectly what I feel about calling up my mother when I’m having a panic attack. When everything goes downhill and fails, I know I can count on my mother to be there to at least say that it’s going to be alright — and that’s all I need.
I’m very fortunate that my mother loves and accepts me and all the baggage that my anxiety disorder brings. I’m not just trying to brag about my mother either, but I know that I am a stronger woman because of her. We have always had a special bond with her being a single mother and raising me, but I’m so glad that not even my anxiety could break that bond between us.
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