It’s 3 a.m. My body feels heavy and exhausted, but my mind is wide awake and racing. Your little body is next to mine, hot to the touch yet I can feel you shake with chills that no amount of blankets can seem to calm.
After hearing you cry out for me from your room, I carried you into our bed even though we usually don’t allow it. I brought you in because you looked up at me and through tears you said, “Mommy, please stay with me. I really don’t feel good.”
It’s times like this when my anxiety is at its worse. I feel like a heavy weight is pressing down on my chest, making it hard to breathe. My thoughts move quickly through my brain so that each one just seems to be a continuation of the one before.
What if his fever gets any higher?
What if the doctor was wrong and it’s not just a virus?
Obviously the rest of us are going to get this.
Now that I think about it, I feel like I might be warm.
He was around family yesterday.
Now everyone is going to get sick and judge me for bringing my sick kid around them.
If we’re all sick, we’re going to miss that party Saturday and I don’t want to feel left out.
I wonder if my thermometer is working correctly.
We need to get more Lysol and hand sanitizer.
What if I fall asleep and his fever gets too high and I don’t notice and he doesn’t wake up.
I know these thoughts are a bit ridiculous because I have no business worrying about things I have no control over. At least that’s what people tell me. All the time.
The thing is though, I have no control over my anxiety either. I literally can’t just turn off my brain like a light switch. It doesn’t work that way. I wish it did—more than anything. That I could just let it go and move on. I wish that I didn’t have moments where I felt so alone, so scared, so helpless, so unsure about everything except the fact that something bad is going to happen.
Tonight—right now—the only thing I can do is remind myself that this will pass. The fog will lift eventually, and the fear will slip away.
I will remember that I am loved.
I will remember that I have faith.
I will remember that I am strong and resilient.
I will remember that I’m an amazing mama.
I will remember that even though I have no control over my anxiety, my anxiety does not control me.
Until then, I will focus on you. My sweet baby.
I will watch your chest rise and fall in a steady rhythm that almost matches the breath of your daddy next to you.
I will place my hand gently on your back and let my heavy eyes close. I will lay with you, and together, we will help each other feel better.
At least for tonight.