One of the most important aspects in my relationship with Josh.
We've come a long way in our communication since we first met (We could sit in the same room, alone, and not say a word for an hour ya'll.)
A L-O-N-G way!
First, I've had to realize how I communicate my fears, anxieties, frustrations, irritations...
Then I've had to learn how Josh communicates these same situations...
all for the sole purpose of learning to communicate TOGETHER in a way that creates a sort of harmony.
Now that I'm a mom I am realizing just how important communication is with my kids too.
Especially in the realm of my anxiety.
The word, "anxiety", is no stranger around the colony household.
I've learned that being open about my anxiety and its triggers not only helps me (isn't it just so freeing to be able to say out loud that you are on the verge of a freakout!), but it allows my kids to see exactly where I am at at any given time.
Key things I feel are important to communicate to them as I parent through my anxiety:
I want them to know that...
- God has made us just the way we are
- He doesn't make mistakes
- sometimes God allows us to go through things that are difficult, but He will ALWAYS walk the difficult paths with us if we allow Him to
- life isn't always easy
- we can't always control things, even our emotions
- emotions are a good thing, but they can be like a wild horse if we don't learn to control them
- we are NEVER too old to say "I'm sorry"
- just because mommy is having a bad day it doesn't mean that it is because of anything THEY have done
I don't feel like I can over-communicate to them how much I love them and how sorry I am when I lose my temper and let my anxiety or panic get the best of me.
I also think it is only fair to let them see where I am at any given point. Today, in order to redeem yet another "snow day" at home with a Colony full energy, excitement and "creative" ideas, I made a Mom-o-Meter to indicate where my anxiety level is. They can look up there at any given time to see where I am mentally, and what they can do to help this mama out.
Most of the time my kids are very sensitive (especially Zeke) when they see the level rising and are more than willing to comply to what I am needing from them.
If you struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, don't try to hide it. It will only exacerbate the onset of symptoms and, in many cases, will leave the kids wondering what they have done wrong.