I have PTSD and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) with occasional bouts of Major (and Minor) Depression. Woo. My stuff is probably 90%+ trauma related. I was raped many times as a child by many people. I have a lot of self-worth issues if I am not having sex with every man who flicks his finger at me.
During my first pregnancy I was sick all the time and I was in horrible pain. I lost 18 pounds by the end of the second trimester. I started off at 184 so this wasn't considered all that worrisome. I started acupuncture in the third trimester and my life got better. But I was on bed rest for the last two months. Thus my anxiety and panic attacks were very minimal. I was bored and lonely and depressed, but I didn't have all that much to be anxious about. I sat around with a laptop doing research on every aspect of parenting I could think about. My husband works long hours so I had about 60 hours a week by myself to research pregnancy, parenting, and dealing with my mental health shit while having kids.
Between my kids I started smoking pot for the first time in my life. I smoked through my second pregnancy with the full awareness and support of my midwife and therapist and prescribing doctor (I'm in California--this is legal here.) I feel kind of weird about it because pot is still so stigmatized, but I truly feel like it is a wonder drug. I have more of a life now than I ever have. I tried a wide variety of western meds for my psych issues and the side effects made life not worth living. Pot levels out my anxiety and gives me a slight pause in my thinking so that I have to consciously decide how to react to things. Yes, I'm doped up. (I don't drive stoned.) Every anxiety medication dopes you up. That's the point. But I hate smoking and my lungs are clearly irritated. It's been about three years now of smoking. I'm trying to figure out how to transition onto pills or edibles in some way but it's a lot more expensive and I don't have a whole lot of money to blow on drugs. Heh. Smoking is about a $10/week habit for me.
Even with pot (because I can't actually be stoned all the time, unfortunately) I still have significant variance in my days. Some days I cry a lot all day. I can't completely hide it from my kids. I'm honest and age appropriate. "Mommy's brain doesn't work quite like everyone else's because of stuff that happened a long time ago. Everyone develops differently. My brain likes me to cry a lot. It's really annoying." It's hard.
I have a hard time believing that growing up with me could be better than being free of me. Aren't I bad? Aren't I damaging just by existing? All of my life people have told children to stay away from me because I was bad. That started when I was three years old. It's never really stopped. One of the neighbors won't let her kid play with my daughter any more. (I tried to address her daughter physically intimidating my daughter. I guess they think I should have shut up and tolerated it. I *am* willing to work on issues with difficult children--but I want to talk about it and be honest and proactive.)
Yesterday while I was out running six separate men or boys took the trouble to call out insults. Dyke. Lesbian. Whore. Bitch. A variety of things in Spanish I didn't parse. I am training for a marathon. These were men in my neighborhood harassing me. I feel very unsafe now. Today I ran at the gym. I feel scared. I feel like I am just crouching in the corner waiting for the next time someone will rape me. All of these men are so fucking scary. They all feel the need to let me know over and over that my sexuality is available to them for comment. I have known too many men who didn't stop there. I feel very afraid in the world.
I feel a real sorrow in my heart for you. You have been through so much horror. But you amaze me - you are doing so well despite it all. You're training for a marathon! That's a bigger achievement than most could ever accomplish. And instead of not running, you went to the gym - again, a very admirable thing to do bc most people would just stay home. Pot is great - that's why it's available for people who need it. I'm sure you've looked into ways to filter it somewhat to reduce the negative effects of smoking. I wish I had advice. What you tell your children sounds perfect and honest. You may worry about them seeing you cry so much, but witnessing honest expressions of emotions is far better than not letting it out. Life is no Disney land and that's a perfectly sound message for your children to learn. It will keep them safe and aware. And being proactive to keep your daughter safe is something you should totally be proud of.
As for the guys in your neighbourhood - that IS scary and would certainly make me feel very afraid in the world, too. Can you protect yourself with an alarm and pepper spray to have with you when you're running? Just having it might help you feel less vulnerable. Training for a marathon at the gym is no fun.
I'm sending you many hugs and feelings of peace. I hope you had a good day and that tomorrow is good, too. xoxo