There are these brief moments that come from time to time. They feel like a wave....gradually building, intensifying, then slowly drifting away, and depending on the tide that day it might return, or it will stay at bay and won't come again for quite some time.
Today a wave came. I don't know why. It was an overall stressful day though, so maybe it was a trigger. But there I was, sitting on the floor, playing with P and making her laugh and it was the most beautiful laugh I had ever heard. I kept smiling and staring at her and laughing with her. Then the wave came. It hit me so hard I almost physically fell over. I was suddenly filled with anxiety, fear and regret all over again. I was back at the beginning. I felt lost. I didn't know what to do and I just sat there staring at P wondering what the hell I was doing and what was happening to me. She stopped smiling too and just stared at me. It's like she could sense something was wrong.
Something was wrong.
We sat there for a few seconds as I contemplated what seemed like every decision I had made in motherhood and my fight or flight kicked in, but I couldn't move. Trust me, I wanted to flight. And then, just as quickly as it came, it drifted away. Relief came back and I started kissing P's little toes again, making her giggle. But it bothered me. Why did that happen? I have been making immense progress, I am in such a great place, why did I get this feeling? Was it because I had an abnormally stressful day at work? Was I just feeling overwhelmed? Oh my God...are my meds not strong enough anymore?
Yes. That thought crossed my mind. That maybe I need to call my doctor and up the mg of my prescription. But that thought scares me even more than the occasional wave of anxiety. I refuse to accept that I am getting worse. But why, in the midst of recovery, when I thought I could almost be ready to ween off medication for good, did I regress? Why today?
As much as I fear that I am not making the progress I thought I was making, I'm angry that I'm not doing better than that. Don't get me wrong, I still consider myself recovered. I am still happy in my every day life. I love little P like no other and want to experience new things with her, but I feel like perhaps I am not as recovered as I would like to think.
But I think about the steps I have taken and the steps I am beginning to take. I need to learn to expect that when I do take five steps forward that I will take two steps back, because progress and recovery do not come easy. I can't be so hard on myself and expect to be perfect every time. I will have set backs. I won't feel happy and care free all the time. I will still get stressed and fall back into old thoughts, but just like a wave, it will wash away. It will come quickly, stay briefly, and leave swiftly. I do not need to be afraid. The thoughts will never stay. I am progressing, one step at a time.