Anxiety attack before a birthday

Josh and I had a special moment last night. It was life-altering, scary, and illuminating all at the same time, and I can tell you that it was meant to happen.

I can emotionally and mentally manage stress a lot better than I used to. I am no longer mentally weak where the first thing I turn to are thoughts of hurting myself. My thoughts now automatically turn to deep breathing, prayer, and other relaxation techniques. However, this doesn’t always coincide with how my body handles the stress.

My body reacts to stress poorly. The stress I speak about is the one everyone around me juggles—the stress of finances. To give you an idea of what I’m feeling, my neck is so tight I feel like it cannot extend. Josh has been massaging me, but he still can’t get through all of the knots in my shoulders, neck, back, and arms. I feel mentally and emotionally rested and happy, but physically unwell.

Anyways, my body apparently had had enough that it went into some weird overdrive, and it led to an anxiety attack. I’ve had plenty of anxiety attacks in the past, and I can tell you that this one was like no other. With Josh’s attention and TLC, I managed to work through it and come out unscratched.

I remember the exact turning point of my anxiety attack. The Nuggets were asleep and I was hanging out with Josh as he showered and talked me through my anxiety attack. I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor leaning on the door frame, attempting to focus on something…anything, trying to get my breathing under control. At one point, Josh must’ve noticed that I couldn’t focus on anything because he redirected my thoughts by asking me about…I actually don’t remember what he asked me. I don’t remember because what happened in response to his question was so impactful that all I could think about was how grateful and humbled I felt because of it.

When Josh redirected my attention I noticed that I no longer had to control my breathing or try and focus. I noticed I was no longer having an anxiety attack. (Josh and I have been together for almost a decade, so we’ve had plenty of practice and growth to know how to get through my anxiety attacks. It wasn’t always this way.) I was in the middle of a sentence when I had an epiphany. I turned to Josh and exclaimed, “This is what Ilan (aka Little Nugget) goes through!” I couldn’t finish explaining what I meant because Josh and I burst out in tears. We cried like two big babies. We couldn’t be there for each other because of how emotionally heavy the moment was. We held our individual spaces sacred for that emotional stretch. Trying to describe exactly what we felt would be like taking a picture of a celestial sight, but of course the picture would not do it justice.

We felt so guilty for all of the times we’ve underestimated Little Nugget’s moments of what could be described as anxiety. We’ve overestimated his capabilities to cope with these moments, and most importantly, we’ve done a poor job at providing Little Nugget with what he needs in order to learn healthy ways to endure.

There I sat on the bathroom floor, Josh helping me through my anxiety attack. I felt shame as I babied myself through this attack while having expected Little Nugget to deal with his emotions as a mature adult.

After crying my eyes out, I found myself transitioning to praying. I realized that in not holding back on feeling sadness, guilt, and shame, I had made space to feel un-freaking-believably grateful for the course of events that had just happened. I prayed the Lord’s Prayer, a Hail Mary, and repeated, “Thank you for this, God” over and over again.

Once I had calmed down, I looked at Josh and said, “What a night for all of this to happen!” It was the night before we celebrated the birth of our baby boy. The night before we became a family, before Josh and I had more than just ourselves to nurture. We had been awakened together just as we had entered parenthood together. It was a deep moment of connection, love, gratitude, and humility. We knew what we needed to change to better nurture our Little Nugget.

My lip is quivering as I type this, my chest breathing deep, and my vision blurred by the tears filling my eyes. I will never be able to properly express how grateful I am for being chosen as our Little Nugget’s mom. He’s taught me so much and loves me even though I can suck at this mom gig. I am so grateful for Josh who is half of him, an awesome father, and my best friend. I am grateful for the four years I’ve had with our Little Nugget, and I am grateful for this day every year because it was the day the mother in me was born.

What a magical ride this has been.

– Big Nugget

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Day 8 – This is Stinky the Garbage Truck. Little Nugget chose him out of the Target holiday toy book. Josh bough it for him on his own birthday, and we were both excited to see Little Nugget open it. Can you tell Little Nugget liked it? He made me kiss it for the picture. 
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