Sorry about the hiatus! Since Riley is getting older, more wiggley, more demanding, and more energetic I have found less time to sit down at the computer. He no longer sleeps as often and when he is awake he wants to be on the move. He can't move himself yet beyond rolling around haphazardly, so he whines until someone carries him or walks with his hands in ours so he can slowly walk around (his current favourite activity...gets kinda boring for us, and hard on the back...even Ayden gets bored of it and he's pretty patient with his baby brother!) Anyways, suffice it to say I've had way less time to sit down at the computer so I have been falling behind in even checking my emails, let alone blogging. Then, if I have a chunk of time, I can't think of the million and one things I have been storing up to write about, and I sit blankly staring at the screen. Hmmmm. I had something to say, now what was it???
This week has had a theme for me.
In my post partum depression and anxiety treatment group (hereafter referred to as ppd/a tx group, for the sake of brevity and my carpal tunnel syndrome) we have been working on becoming aware of the thoughts that accompany strong emotions we have during the week, identifying those thoughts that trigger the most emotional response for us, and examining supporting or not supporting evidence for the accuracy of those thoughts.
For example. Today I was breastfeeding Riley in the car. The big boys were in their car seats buckled up, and I was sitting in the front seat. We were parked on a busy street and I had this intense feeling of anxiety and fear. What was I thinking about? I'll give you a sample?
What if we get hit by a vehicle while in the car? I'm not buckled in and neither is Riley. If we got hit really hard it could really damage the car. We could roll. The impact could tear Riley from my arms. [visual image of car rolling and accompanying crash noises and screams] What if I held on really tightly, with superhuman strength that you hear adrenaline can give you? What if I held on tightly with this arm and the impact of the crash injured the rest of his body? [visual image of crash and me holding only Riley's decapitated head].
I can't sit here, I can't think this, I can't live with this kind of danger lurking around every single moment in time, I can't keep my family safe, I'm irresponsible for sitting in this car with no seat belt, breastfeeding my unsuspecting and vulnerable baby...
People. What is wrong with me? I think like this ALL THE TIME!!! In retrospect it looks ridiculous but in the moment I can assure you that I believe it possible, likely, or even expected. To my core. Irrational. Fear.
This is what I came up with to calm me down:
My counsellor, Irene, told me to try and come up with a visual image that is peaceful, personally meaningful, and positive and to focus on that image when I start to feel really anxious. I focused really intently on my image and repeated to myself:
until I calmed down.
I think part of me often believes God wants to punish me or put me through difficult experiences or break me into pieces, or is somehow not trustworthy. Not good. Reminding myself that God is good really helps make me feel peaceful again.
Then I came back to my cousin's house and when I had a few minutes to myself I sat down and came up with supporting evidence and non supporting evidence for the thoughts I had about a crash, an unrestrained baby, and a decapitated infant.
-I have seen a great many car crashes
-I have seen a great many freak accidents (involving vehicles or not)
-I have seen weird results: severed limbs, avulsed skin, eviscerated body parts
-because I have seen these three things, I know it is possible. I know it happens every day. I know it could happen to us.
-We are parked on a busy road
-I have heard many car crash decapitation stories
-Riley and I are vulnerable because we are not buckled in
-rarely do vehicles crash into parked cars
-we are very visible to other drivers
-we are one of a lineup of parked cars that would cushion us or make it less likely for us to be hit at all
-God is good [this, of course, does not preclude any disaster or catastrophe but reminds me that it is not the overwhelming theme of my life]
-Vehicles drive less than 40 kph on this road making rollover upon impact virtually impossible
-urban crashes are rarely spectacular and we are downtown
-I'm very responsible with car seat safety. I have good carseats. I buckle all three of my children in with due diligence EVERY time, and check frequently to ensure proper installation
-It is God's task to decide if catastrophe or freak accidents will happen to me, and not mine. Mine is to be reasonably diligent and to live as calmly and happily and fully as I can.
-It is not my job to keep everyone alive.
-It is in my most vulnerable moments that God is most graceful and strong
So there you have it, folks. The diary of a crazy lady. It looks so simple written on the screen but it is a battle for me to go through a day without some imagined catastrophic event erupting in my brain!
The interesting thing is, this is actually me calm. I used to think like this constantly, and now I think like this once a day or every few days. Right now I'm on holiday in Victoria with my three boys and we are having a fabulous trip, with much noise and chaos and family and food and pleasemommycanI and pleasemommywillyou and IwanttoplayWii and Matthewtouchedmytoy and Aydenspankedmybum and grunt, grunt from Riley for milk.
We went to the Victoria bug zoo and my kids touched a foot long millipede and held a praying mantis the size of their faces and a stick bug the size of their arms and petted a scorpion and a tarantula and several cockroaches the size of my palm. I highly recommend this slightly creepy zoo for anyone visiting Victoria; it was fascinating and the tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and really good with kids. My boys LOVED IT and I learned a lot about bugs.
We have gone swimming at the community centre and to the spaghetti factory for lunch and tons of other fun stuff too.
I couldn't sleep so I thought I'd post since I'm missing you all...
but I'm sleepy now so I'll go crawl back in my bed next to two sleeping boys on the floor and a warm, milky infant curled up keeping my spot comfy for me...
love and hugs.