Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
As a mother of a toddler and a newborn, I’ve been stressed. That’s putting it lightly. I’ve struggled a little with postpartum anxiety and it’s been an adventure adjusting to two children. Everyone tells you it’s a hard transition, which I expected, but I didn’t account for life. Everything else in our world continues to keep rolling, and I’m having a hell of a time keeping up.
I function very well on stress. I say that with the “everything is on fire but it’s fine” sort of perspective. Regardless of what is happening, I can turn off the emotions and roll with the punches. Is this a healthy coping mechanism? Nope, but it’s handy. However, with the encouragement of my therapist, I’ve attempted to not engage in such unhealthy habits. I try to be all “in touch” with my emotions and acknowledge my feelings and get to the root of my problems. While helpful in the long-term, I’ve been a glass case of emotions in the short-term. Do I need more self-care? Yes. Do I have time for daily showers? No.
The stress has been like a tidal wave. Every other day I feel like I’m drowning in all the emotions. My brain starts going haywire, insisting that it’s too much and gosh wasn’t it great when we were ignorant and numb and free? Emotionless looks so good right about now.
Except it’s not helpful. I may not have the greatest insight into my own mental health struggles, but as a psychology graduate, my rational self knows it’s not helpful at all. Small amounts of stress can offer focus and motivation, but if let run wild, stress can be devastating.
After a few weeks of two children, work, immigration lawyers, and holiday and post-baby credit card bills, I was in tears every day. Multiple times a day. My toddler would stroke my arm and tell me that it was all going to be ok. I was no longer functioning. And then I had a light-bulb moment; I needed to let it go.
I will admit I’ve been watching an excessive amount of Frozen, but I’m serious. I really needed to just let it go. No amount of stress would change my situation. I couldn’t possibly be more motivated, and, I was losing focus. Stress was making my situation worse, and it was impacting everyone around me. I could cry all I wanted but my toddler still needed her teeth brushed and the baby had still shit his pants. Everything that was waiting for me would still be there, regardless of how many curse words I hurled at my work computer.
Let me tell you, I instantly felt better. Sure, it sucked. Objectively, my situation hadn’t improved at all. Subjectively, I was recognizing that it is what it is, and it won’t always be like this. There is an end-goal, a light at the end of the tunnel, and I will cling to that light for dear life. Stress keeps me on my toes, but when it becomes too much, I’ve learned to just fling a few curse words and move on.