I walk into the house.

Immediately I feel it. Deep in the dark recesses of my stomach sits the peach pit. It’s heavy and weighted. I can feel it every time I take a deep breath, every time I smile. It just sits there, waiting. Waiting to leak out it’s daily dose of cyanide.

Husband: How was your day?

The Peach Pit: Where is Indie? Where is Scout? Why haven’t the cats come to great us? Oh, God! Oh GOD! Go look for them! They’re stuck in the closet. They’re hurt. They’re dead. You’re now going to have to explain how you allowed both your sweet furbabies die to your tiny humans. Big fail, Mama B. Oh, my God, hurry up and go find your cats!

Me: Fine. Have you seen Indie?

Husband: Yeah, she greeted me when I got home. Hi, Evie!

Evie: [energetic 3-year old excitement about seeing her Dad at the end of a long day]

The Peach Pit: You haven’t actually seen Indie. So how do you know for sure that she is okay? You’re going to trust your Husband? He’s probably just saying that so you won’t freak out. You know you snapped at him again right? Good going, Mama B. Margaret is crying, here you are stressing about a cat when your baby is crying! She’s probably hurt! Do something!

Me: [sit down and unbuckle the baby from her car seat] Margaret, sugar sugar. We’re home. Look, there’s Daddy! [lift baby up who is now smiling happily at her people]

Evie: [still being an energetic 3-year old asking to see Margaret, to hug Mommy, if Daddy will cook this or that for dinner]

The Peach Pit: Great, so you’re just going to hand Margaret over. Are you sure she’s okay? I’ll bet she’s just smiling because you’re smiling. She’s probably really sick. And you remember when Evie said her finger hurt on the drive home? She’s dying and you’re just ignoring it. And you haven’t found Indie yet. She’s certainly dead now.

Me: Come, Evie Bugs, time to sit down so we can have this yummy dinner that Daddy made! Do you want milk or water with your dinner? [sitting Margaret in her chair and making sure she’s facing Evie]

The Peach Pit: Where is Indie? Go make sure she’s okay. Don’t leave Margaret alone, she probably hasn’t had her diaper changed all day, no matter that you watched the day care staff change her diaper before she left. I still can’t believe that you just leave her and Evie with strangers all day. All so you can have a career. I mean it’s not even a career you get paid enough for. And you’re not very good at it. Have you found Indie yet? What about Scout? Can’t even keep track of your cats and you think you’re a good mom.

Evie: Mama, how was your day?

Me: It was great, my love. Even better now that I’m home with you.

The Peach Pit: Great? Seriously? You left all those things on your to-do list undone. You didn’t even make it to work on time because you took too long getting out of the house this morning. And too long dropping the girls off at daycare. I mean how can you have had a good day? You’re not doing your mom duties right AND you’re not doing your job well enough.

Evie: Ask me how my day was! It’s my turn!

The Peach Pit: Wow, you didn’t even bother to ask your daughter how her day was? She’s going to grow up thinking you don’t love her. And now you have Margaret too. Have you looked at her since you sat her in her chair? Have you seen Indie yet?

Me: How was your day, Bugs?

The Peach Pit: Why don’t you ever call her by her name? What’s with all these nicknames? You’re lucky she knows her own name. It’s because daycare has taught her everything. You haven’t taught her anything. Look, she’s all upset now. Do you even know why she’s upset?

Welcome to ten minutes with anxiety. A beautiful picture isn’t it? If you’re ever wondering why sometimes I’m talking really fast, or a lot, especially if you barely know me – it’s because I’m drowning out the Peach Pit. If you ever think I’ve snapped at you for no reason it’s 99.99% likely because the Peach Pit is currently yelling really loudly and it’s hard to have multiple conversations at once. If you ever think that I look so happy that there must be no reason for me to be anxious or depressed (because Depression is there too, waiting for Anxiety to shut up for a hot second) then maybe taking a look into the distorted thoughts might give you some perspective.

I’m “lucky”. I know these thoughts are distorted. I am intimately familiar with cognitive distortions thanks to therapy. And can point out numerous distortions the Peach Pit tries to feed me as truths. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t really hard days, weeks, months, years when for whatever reason the Peach Pit’s cyanide is in control. That poison hasn’t just seeped into my thoughts, but into the core of who I am. It’s a constant battle to keep my core clean of the poison. It’s exhausting.