When suffering with anxiety or depression, having a person you know you can depend on no matter what can make all the difference.
Nikki Pennington has long struggled with anxiety. It was something that followed her from her teenage years. However, she always knew that there was someone there for her- her mother.
"Anxiety has been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember," she wrote on her blog. "It’s been there for so long that I don’t really recall a time in my life without it. If you have anxiety, then you know you have that one person. The one person that knows just how to help calm you down in the midst of the anxiety fog.
"That one person for me was my Mum. She knew just what to say, how to say it and the right moment to say it to help bring me back to reality. Her words and comfort were always stronger than my anxiety. I always just assumed she would always be there to be my person but that all changed…"
Nikki grew up and got married, and just weeks after the wedding, she had an anxiety attack. She wanted to call her mother, but one simple sentence from her new husband changed her mind.
"He paused and said, ‘How about you talk to me instead? Just give me a try and see if I can compare.’
"So I did, I gave him a chance to help ease my anxiety and it was as if I was talking to my Mom, it was as if I was talking to my person."
Overtime, she became more dependant on her husband, and less on her mother.
"The calls to my Mom when my anxiety was in full force became less and less. She never asked why, never asked about it once. That’s because Moms like mine are few and far between."
Then tragedy struck, her mother passed away. Her "person" was gone, "the one that knew me and loved me with all my flaws. The one, the only one who could calm my fears."
She was heartbroken, until her husband began to tell her a story about her mother- one she'd never heard before.
"You see on our wedding day; my Mum gave my husband a note. A note that was just for the two of them. A note with the title that said, ‘How to be Nikki’s person.’"
It was a guide to how to best help Nikki when her anxiety got too much.
"Step 1: Just listen. Step 2: Listen a little more. Step 3: Don’t try and solve the problem
"Step 4: Tell her you understand. Step 5: Keep listening until she’s sorted it out on her own. She will, she always does. She doesn't know it yet, but she’s had it figured out on her own all along."
That's when she realised that her mother had given her ultimate gift, she had taken a step back from her supportive role so Nikki's husband could take her place.
"My Mum gave up being my person not because she wanted to but because she wanted my husband to know how to be when she was no longer here. She gave up being my person so that she could make sure I would always have one, no matter what."
Not matter what may separate them, her mother will always hold a special place in her heart.
"Well Mum, you will still forever be my person.”