September 1, 2012

August 23, 2012, 12:52AM

Dear Anxiety,

I thought I had you beat.

I worked very hard all summer to get rid of as many external stressors as possible. I spent my free time organizing and cleaning. I put together piles and piles of things that we sold at the garage sale, sent to the consignment store, or donated to Goodwill. I went through our budget and figured out where we could cut our expenses. I started trying to do some more cooking and menu planning.

My not-so-free time was spent rediscovering the joys of motherhood. The kids and I went for walks to the park or to get snow cones. We went to the zoo. We went to Grandma's house, swam in the kiddie pools, played on the swing set and with bouncy balls. We blew bubbles. We painted and colored. I was feeling pretty content, actually. I would even say that I was happy.

But, in a matter of eight minutes, all of my hard work went down the drain.

Now I have about three anxiety attacks every single day. Every time the kids and I get home, I have to check the entire house to make sure no one is hiding somewhere. When the dogs start barking, day or night, I have to go check to make sure it is nothing I should worry about. If I see someone walking down the street, I have to watch to make sure they are not coming to our house. Before I go to bed each night, I have to check all of our doors at least four times to make sure they are locked, and if I can't clearly remember checking them, I have to do them all again.

Eight terrifying minutes. That's all it took.

The most infuriating part of this whole ordeal is how it was handled by the police department. On the one hand, I want to believe their story. I want to tell myself everything is okay; it was a fluke incident. There wasn't any criminal intent. But, on the other hand, I just cannot do that. There are too many things that don't add up with the "official" story, and I'm driving myself crazy thinking of all of those things.

I want to go back in time. I want to be the mother I was before all this happened. I want to feel safe again.

The worst part is, I don't know how I'll ever get that back.

But, I will . I don't know how, but I will. So, Anxiety, take this as a warning. You will not win.



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