Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Lingering Anxiety

In June of 2017, my world felt like a complete mess.

I'll be honest---my ex-husband getting remarried was not easy for me. It came with a lot of changes and also a lot of heartache, as I watched him start a new life while I was still alone.

But on top of that, I was awoken early on the day of Hayley's summer dance recital to someone banging on my front door and ringing the doorbell over and over again.

Apparently, that's what court servers do... 

The constant door banging and doorbell ringing had woken everyone in my home up at 6:00am, including our foster baby. And then the man explained that he was serving me court papers for a change in child custody.

I could hardly breathe.

But after sobbing on the phone to my mother for a few minutes outside, I picked myself up and walked back into my home to get all of my children ready for the day.

Before we left for the dance recitals, I called my home teacher and received a Priesthood blessing. In it, God told me there were specific reasons this was happening and that I would gain knowledge throughout this process that would help others throughout my life.

And somehow, I managed to make it through the day of dance recitals without crying.

But it was that night that I completely lost it in my room. And it was almost every night after that for the month of June that I sobbed into my pillow as I fell asleep.

Every time my children were with me, I kept them close. And each time they left my side, I felt anxious.

Every choice I made was made carefully. Normal, every day things scared me. I shut my blog down for 5 months. I put my foster care license on hold. I took a semester off of school. I was constantly worried about the future and haunted by the past.

I found myself at the court house four different times and each time, the anxiety I felt on the inside was almost unbearable. But somehow I kept it inside and was able to get through each of those court appointments.

I met with my attorney on numerous occasions and felt anxious each and every time I had to speak about the possibility of the future.

Any time an email would come through from my attorney or the opposing attorney, my body would immediately revert to a state of anxiety, without even knowing what I was about to click on.

The entire process was extremely traumatic for me.

And the week before trial, the panic I felt anytime I was separated from my children heightened.

I'm a planner by nature. And thanks to my diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I hate feeling like I'm not in control. And this whole thing had me feeling very much like the choices of our future were not in my control but in the hands of a judge who doesn't even know our family.

It has been almost nine months since I was woken at 6am on a Saturday morning.
I spent most of 2017 wondering why this was happening and how this would affect my children.

And last Sunday, I asked my bishop for a Priesthood blessing as I was going into the week of trial.

In the blessing, I was told that I would be able to speak calmly and feel peace during this process. I wasn't sure I believed it because I know myself---and I am not an eloquent speaker nor did I believe it would be possible to feel peace inside that court room.

But I tried so hard to trust that blessing.

And when Wednesday rolled around, I decided I was going to have a great morning with my kids and trust that God would be there when the afternoon hit.

And all I'll say about the trial is that God delivered on His promises. I felt incredible peace and reassurance and I spoke more clearly than I've ever been able to before.
It was miraculous and beautiful and empowering and since that day, I've said prayers of gratitude daily for a God who was there exactly when I needed Him.

It's now over.

And all of the promises made to me were given.
And in so many ways, I am grateful for the past nine months and everything I have learned.

But what I've experienced in the past week has been really difficult.

I assumed when this ended, the heightened anxiety would end.
Unfortunately, it didn't.

Sometimes the anxiety hits when the trauma is over because our brains tell us it's safe to feel

This isn't the first time I've experienced this and it won't be the last. It's hard to have a major portion of your heart walking around without your protection for most of the day. Motherhood is the greatest thing I've ever been given and yet, it comes with a lot of anxiety because I cannot always protect my children when I want to. 

So this is where I'm at. It has been a long nine months and I am extremely grateful that the hardest parts are over. But please be patient with me throughout this transition. It's going to take me some time to feel like I'm back to a new normal again.