It’s been 7 years since my oldest daughter was born; 5 years since my son was born; 3 years since I struggled with Post Partum depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Every day since has been an uphill battle, a daily firestorm of insecurity, worry, defeat, overthinking, stressing, anticipating the worst and struggling to accept each moment for what it was. It has taken coming to terms with what my anxiety is, how it is triggered, how it defines me and what I choose to do with it to give me the power to get through it and overcome it. I have learned through this process that I have the skillset and ability to make a difference. Through some serious soul searching, a willingness to get back in the saddle and try to live the best life that I could, I gained the courage to return to my career in education as a mental health provider. This is not to say that I don’t continue to struggle with my own issues, but when I lay awake at night, it is with the purpose of providing opportunities and guidance to young people, rather than being flooded by all of my shortcomings and reasons to not stick around. I have learned to leverage my own experiences with anxiety to help young people in a public high school realize that they are more than their disabilities, medical conditions, mental health issues, family circumstances, socioeconomic level, gender, race, sexual orientation, housing status, etc., - to teach them that they too have the power to succeed, overcome and face their personal challenges with dignity, with respect and with the promise that in the dynamic of life, the only permanence is change.
I am more than my anxiety, they are more than their challenges.