The Lillenbergs

The Lillenbergs

Friday, March 3, 2017

Real Life Mommy: Anxiety

This is something that I have been thinking about writing for a while,
but didn't know how to go about it, or even if I really wanted to.
It's something that is very personal, and something that I usually try to keep hidden, 
but about a month ago, a childhood friend wrote me a message saying something to the effect of
"I love how perfect and full of life your little family is!"
What a sweet comment, right?!  And that's what I thought at first,
but it made me do some thinking....
At first, I was excited.
I was so happy that I succeeded.
That I successfully fooled the world with my Instagram and Facebook posts to thinking
that life was perfectly happy.  Cause that's what we all want, right?
But the more I thought about it, the more sad I became.
I started thinking about this social media world, and how we (or at least I do, hopefully I'm not alone!)
always compare ourselves to one another.  Or at least, we compare ourselves to what we see portrayed on social media.
And I was sad when I realized that I was contributing to this problem.
Because what I post isn't the whole truth about my life.
Obviously, there's a completely innocent side to social media, where I have truly cute and happy
things that happen or that my kids do that I want to capture, remember, and share with  my friends and family.  But that just creates a false sense of who I am.
Ok, I'm probably sounding a bit dramatic now.
But I just all of a sudden felt this responsibility to share that  my life is far from perfect.
Especially at the time that this friend wrote this to me,
I was so surprised because this was one of the toughest couple weeks of my life.

You see, I struggle with anxiety.
I have a strong family history of it, but I always thought I was the one exception.
I thought I was pretty awesome for escaping the struggle of it for so long.  But then I became a mom.
Obviously, being a mom is hard on everyone.  But it was more than a normal struggle for me.
I tried to avoid it for a long time, and often times blamed it on just being exhausted.
But once my kids finally were sleeping, it was only getting worse.
As I've accepted that it's something I have to deal with, I've been able to put my efforts into
not  letting it control my life.
There are several things that have helped, but I'm still early in this trial and still struggle with it nearly every day.  I am quick to snap, I get angry so easily, and when something does make me upset, it takes me so long to pick my self up and put a smile back on my face.
The hardest thing is thinking about my kids.
Feeling like I should be enjoying their childhood more.
And feeling so helplessly guilty when I lose my temper with them.
Chris is my rock and knows exactly how to help me when I have an anxiety attack,
but unfortunately he is busy with dental school most of the time and not always around.
So it is a daily struggle that I am trying to work on.
It probably wasn't necessary to share all of this, but I wanted to share so that in case anyone else struggles with this, know that you're not alone.
And know that there is so much  more that goes on besides what is portrayed on social media.
I decided to take pictures when I was struggling.  I did this for about a week (and there were other times where I forgot to take a picture)
When scrolling through my photos, I realized that I usually had a photo from earlier in the day, that was when I was feeling better and that looked like a happy little photo that I might post on Instagram.

So here is one from earlier one day.  With my brand new "happy thoughts" shirt,
that I bought with the sole purpose of helping remind me to be happy.
The next is proof that my magical shirt did not provide the magical powers that it was supposed to.

^This is what life looks like far too often when Chris gets home from school.  He has to pick up the pieces of his broken wife.  I feel bad for him that he has to deal with me, but I don't know what I would do without him.

Here's one that would look harmless if I had posted it.  Just snuggling with my baby girl.
But in reality, I was just trying to hide my tears during a bad day.

I think this was one I actually did post to Instagram.
Snuggling, smiling, family.
But in reality, it was after a huge emotional breakdown where my whole body physically hurt from being so stressed, and Chris was again there to help ease my pains.
And here's just a couple of what I look like most of the time.
Just feeling defeated and at a loss of what to do.
Look at this precious face.  Looking back, I hate that I could even be feeling sad
with how handsome and smiley he was.

I'm sorry that this was such a downer of a post.
Overall, I of course love my life.  I have an incredible husband that I literally couldn't live without.
Two beautiful children that are so sweet, smart, and funny.
I am so blessed.
But I still struggle.  
And I know other people do too and don't talk about it enough,
so here is my contribution to the discussion.
Because I know we all have moments that we don't post or share about being a #reallifemommy


  1. Summer, I just cannot tell you how grateful I am for your post. I began to experience anxiety when I started working as a nurse, missionary, and just life. I have struggled so much to just love and accept myself. It is so difficult to have to work so hard to be happy and at peace with life. I have met so many courageous people like you. THANK YOU for being amazing and beautiful YOU. We can do this.

  2. I love you Summer! I see you as someone who has been blessed with so many wonderful gifts! Just remember our Savior never leaves us alone. He loves you so much. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." I would love to talk to you anytime. ❤You are amazing!