I’m not sure why that made me pause. I suppose it’s because I’m so used to being asked “how are you” in more of a I-don’t-actually-give-AF manner, but this time was different. It felt like a loaded question.
How was I really doing?
I talk about mental health a lot online, but when was the last time I truly checked in with myself?
If I’m being honest—with myself, with you—life has been like a fog lately. A thick, grey fog.
I can’t seem to clear the cloud in my mind. I can’t seem to do much of anything, really. My to-do list is growing longer and longer, but the items remain unchecked.
Am I lazy?
Or am I burnt out?
Is it something else entirely?
You might scoff if I mention that I have ADHD. I didn’t have it as a child. It appeared in my mid-twenties and has only worsened with age.
“She’s always trying to come up with new problems for attention,” you might say. “Along with her BPD, anxiety, insomnia…”
I’d argue then that mental health issues are more interrelated than we might realize, and here is where the real problem comes in.
I can take a pill for my BPD, and it helps. But if I take a pill for my ADHD, it makes my BPD worse, which makes everything worse…
There is no quick fix.
This time, I must get to the source of the fog if I hope to clear it, but every time I try, I get distracted.
I began to shout uncontrollably as soon as my baby was born.
I praised God loudly, over and over again, because I’d spent the last 9 months terrified I wouldn’t make it to this moment.
Before pregnancy, I had severe anxiety and panic attacks, but I stopped taking my medications when my husband and I decided to try to start a family.
The medications weren’t safe while pregnant, but weaning off of them was a nightmare.
I remember shaking, crying nonstop, and the exhaustion that came from quitting my medication cold turkey (which is not recommended — btw)
It all paid off, however, when I found out I was pregnant one month later.
I’d been so anxious about whether I’d be able to conceive or not, but the moment I found out I was pregnant, a new fear crept in:
What if something happened to the baby?
I could not shake this thought no matter how hard I tried, and my husband will tell you, I spent day and night googling all my symptoms and terrified about any and every potential hazard that could possibly hurt my unborn child.
One symptom, in particular, became worrisome: the itching
At first, I thought my stomach, arms, and feet itching was normal. My body was growing rapidly. I assumed it was “growing pains,” but eventually, it began to feel like there were fire ants on my body.
I googled my symptoms, which my OBGYN told me to quit doing, but I came across a condition called choleostasis of pregnancy, which is a liver disease.
I asked my doctor for a blood test, but despite the severe itching, the blood test came back normal.
My doctor would’ve left it at that, but in my gut, I knew something was wrong.
I asked for another test two weeks later, and sure enough, it came back positive for choleostasis.
One of the risks of choleostasis is stillbirth, especially as the pregnancy progresses.
I was 36 weeks pregnant when I was diagnosed, so the day I hit 37 weeks, I was induced.
As difficult as pregnancy had been, I found labor to be easy, especially with an epidural.
I felt safe at the hospital, and the moment my daughter was born, adrenaline gave way to relief.
I praised God loudly for my biggest blessing, and three years later, I’m still praising Him for my biggest blessing: a happy, healthy daughter named Lily
We are knee-deep in the trenches of potty training.
Lily is a sweet but stubborn three-year-old girl that has no problem using the potty at school, but when she’s home, she wants a pull-up.
And she wants mom to change it…
I thought maybe I wasn’t being firm enough, so yesterday, I wrestled her for half an hour to get her to sit on the potty.
Spoiler Alert: Nothing Happened
I stepped away for a minute to grab my phone, and by the time I’d returned, my child had hopped off the potty and peed all over the kitchen floor.
I was livid.
I began to yell and called my husband to help clean her up.
While he bathed her, I stepped aside to collect myself and clean the kitchen floor. I felt like a failure as a mother. How could her teacher get her to use the potty but not me? What was I doing wrong?
Once I’d cleaned the mess, I returned to the bathroom where my daughter was shaking and crying hysterically.
I didn’t raise my voice often, so she didn’t know how to react when I did.
That’s when I realized that my child was scared… of me…
My husband looked at her and looked at me, and said, “Do better, because this is not okay.”
And I agreed with him. It took me seeing my daughter shaking and crying in the bathroom to finally understand that I am my child’s safe space.
She feels safe making mistakes with me, and if I’m not gentle, that will change. She will start to lie and hide as I did, and I won’t be able to be there to be her rock. Instead, I’ll be a barrier to her, and that’s the last thing that I want.
More importantly, that’s the last thing that she needs.
I apologized to her multiple times at bedtime. I even held her against my chest and played with her hair until she fell asleep, but I still felt like shit.
I’d messed up.
I am, however, giving myself grace as I hope you all will, and I’m committing to doing better.
My husband and I had a lavish month-long affair for our wedding as is the norm for many Pakistani/Indian weddings.
I was so occupied with planning the events, especially the mendhi and shaadi, that I didn’t have much time or energy to plan the honeymoon, so I asked my husband if he could takeover planning the trip.
I didn’t care where we went or what we did as long as we were together. He ended up choosing Grand Cayman Island.
Truthfully, I hadn’t even heard of the island until he booked, but I was extremely excited. The beaches were gorgeous, there were plenty of island activities we could indulge in, and the restaurants were highly-rated.
We took off for Grand Cayman the day after our valima, and even though we thought we’d “chill” on vacation after several back-to-back wedding events, we were eager to explore the island as soon as we landed.
We booked a boat trip, which would take us to swim with stingrays and to a beach that housed hundreds of starfish.
When we got to Starfish Point at Grand Cayman, our guide mentioned that if the starfish were out of the water for more than a couple of seconds, they could die.
After hearing that, my husband was mortified.
Everyone began taking the starfish out of the water for “quick selfies” before sticking them back in, but my husband had ZERO interest in photos after that.
He stood like a lifeguard, and if anyone took “too long” to get their photos, my husband walked up to them and reminded them to put the starfish back in the water before they were hurt — or worse.
So no, I didn’t get a cute starfish photo from my honeymoon, but I gained something greater:
Massive respect for my husband.
If he was this protective over a starfish, then I knew I’d made the right choice in marrying him. He’d protect me for life, and he truly has since the day we met.
If you came over, chances are you’d never see it, and even if you did, you’d probably never guess what was inside.
Ever since I was a child, I found comfort in small spaces.
My mom would often find me fast asleep in my closet, and as an adult, this hasn’t changed.
In a way, small spaces are reminiscent of the womb, especially when you’re wrapped tight in a blanket.
Well, in my bathroom, there are two closets. One belongs to my husband, and the other belongs to me.
Behind both closets is a third door, and when you open it, long dresses are hanging inside.
It turns into a small tunnel-like space once you crawl passed the clothes.
Inside, I’ve created my very own panic room.
I talk often about mental health and how I’m prone to episodes of anxiety and panic.
When that happens, my panic room is the place I retreat to.
It’s dark, cozy, and small, and I’ve filled it with a few items that help me immensely during moments of emotional distress, including a weighted blanket, pillow, lavender essential oil, eye covers with built-in headphones, and snacks.
Check out the video below where I take you on a tour of my panic room:
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