Yesterday was tough. January and February are generally somewhat difficult for me....less sunshine, post-holiday blahs, etc. The depression tends to try and kick my butt a lot more frequently, and with greater force. Yesterday was one of those days when my mood went up and down faster than the stock market. I was fine, I was crying....fine again....nope, angry....it's tiring just trying to keep up! Years ago I would have totally lost it, but now (thank God) I've learned that it's just temporary, and so I keep plugging away.
The problem yesterday was that I wasn't the only one struggling. All three of our kids have anxiety and/or depression issues in varying degrees, and I hate that. I hate it with every fiber of my being, because I feel like it "came from" me (whether there's any factual basis for that feeling is irrelevant, it's how I feel) and that means that I should be able to fix it. Right? I mean, I caused the problem, it's my job to take care of it. Sigh. Obviously that's not a realistic or even particularly rational line of reasoning, but there it is. I'm the Mom, I must fix everything!....she says, with panic in her heart. I know what an uphill battle this is, and it kills me that my kids have to fight it.
Since Thanksgiving all five of us have been sick one way or another - bronchitis, ear infections, sinus infections, you name it. Lots of antibiotics and antihistamines and anti-whatevers floating around here, while we keep the tissue companies in business and wander around the house like snot-filled zombies. Youngest son had a particularly nasty double ear infection coupled with a sinus infection, so he was "blessed" with some pretty strong meds. The drugs seemed to be doing the trick as far as his infections, but it wasn't until yesterday that we realized they were doing another trick - they were setting off his anxiety like crazy. He'd been saying that he felt more anxious than usual, and he was very jittery, but yesterday it peaked and he had a hard, HARD day. He'd planned to spend the day with his girlfriend before she went back to college, and he wound up cutting that short by several hours because he just couldn't function. Thankfully she's a sweetheart and she gets it, but still....my heart just hurt for him.
This is what's so hard for me to accept: my kids - all of them - have struggles that, even though they may be similar to mine, are uniquely theirs. Theirs to deal with (or not), theirs to work through and fight against and live. And I can't fix it. Not even a little bit. It's much easier for me to be philosophical about things like one of them failing a test or not getting a job; those issues are not unique and are most definitely conquerable. But the other stuff? Wow. I spend hours lying awake, wondering if something I did or didn't do caused them to have these struggles, if I "ruined" their lives by somehow afflicting them with anxiety and depression. I'm the mom. Don't I get the credit - or blame - for laying their foundations? Was my work so faulty? I believe most parents worry that they haven't prepared their kids sufficiently to deal with the world in one way or another. But this - this is more. Worse. This is beyond teaching them a good work ethic; this is realizing that my child may never be able to hold a "normal" job, because of overwhelming anxiety. This is worrying that some incident will be too much and one of them will decide to quit fighting altogether. This is praying that their future spouses are tender-hearted and supportive and understanding enough to help hold them up, as Jon has done for me all these years.
This hurts. And I can't fix it.
Still, this morning is a little better. There was lots of talking and praying and hugging yesterday, which helps. My boy's meds are finished now, so it's just a matter of waiting for his system to settle back to normal (yeah, "just"). And once again, we've all reaffirmed that we're here for each other; that even though we can't fix things, we can and will be there to support and encourage and love, no matter what. I'm thankful that we have that blessing. I'm praying that God makes that enough, because me being mom just isn't.