My friend Rita Arens wrote about anxiety and parenting today.
“I’ve tried to insulate my daughter as much as I can from my anxiety, but when you live with people, it can be hard. Especially when you’re alone with them as much as I’m alone with my girl. As a result of seeing me cry sometimes for no reason and telling her hey, it’s not you, I’m just sad and sometimes I get sad and I don’t know why, hold on, I’ll stop in a minute, I hope she is kind to herself if she ever cries for no reason. I want to make the world perfect for her but I know that I can’t and actually I shouldn’t, because if I did, she wouldn’t know her own strength.”
Parenting with a mental illness is not easy. Rita wrote so beautifully about the fears of those of us who go through this that we’re hurting our children in some way. I always worry that I’m contaminating my children with my own mental illness, as if every time they rub up against me they’ll get what I’ve got.
Don’t touch me. You’ll get the anxiety.