“I can’t do this anymore.”
“I am mommied out.”
“There’s no way I can cope with all of this.”
Have any mothers among us not said or thought these words? They’re usually followed by the guilt and possible shame of not doing enough for our families. Because we can never do enough, right?
Last on any to-do list is us.
Stressors we experience every day: time demands (there’s never enough time); finances and bills; relationship pressures; and the self-doubt and questioning of “am I doing this right?” coupled with the organic nurturing and protective instincts of motherhood. These can create an internal storm that demands relief.
Depression and anxiety are our roommates. There may be a talking head, like me, telling you that you need to make time for yourself. Yeah, OK, where and when? And who will take care of my kids while I take a bubble bath?
So we may start to cope by turning to what we think is a perfectly logical “fix-it” through alcohol, recreational substances, gambling, eating, or other forms of stress relief or comfort.
We may link relaxation to a glass of wine, making a bet, or eating two pizzas. It feels good for a moment — in fact, several moments. Then we find ourselves progressively dependent on that relief.
Addiction occurs more rapidly with women than men because of our biological makeup. It stinks, but it’s true.
Then we come up for air and realize that the relief has become a problem that has consequences. The stressors that we sought relief from — the demands of parenting, money, relationships, work, and our self-esteem — are strained or totally unmanageable. We are more anxious and depressed because now we are sick from what we thought was the solution to our problems.
We think, “I just wanted to get away for a little while. Escape and forget.”
You are not alone in wanting relief. When it becomes a problem, you can find help. You can turn your own nurturing and protective instincts in on yourself and find healthier coping solutions. This is not a hopeless situation, and you have more power than you think.
Only you know or suspect you may have a problem. Ask yourself a few questions in private and see what you find. You are worth the time and so much more.
To take the self-test for identifying alcoholism and addiction developed by Johns Hopkins University, click here.
For more information about the treatment Timberline Knolls provides for women who are struggling with substance use disorders, please visit www.timberlineknolls.com.