Mental illness can be complicated to explain, which is why one mom wrote a letter to her children in an attempt to tell them what it’s like to live with anxiety. Sara Lindberg‘s note is addressed to her kids, but we can all learn something from her words (parent or not). It’s a glimpse at the struggles people with anxiety disorders face and shows how mental illness can impact the people around us.

Here’s a short excerpt, though we definitely recommend checking out the whole thing:

I still remember the day I came home from the store and you were both playing on the slip and slide.

It was scorching hot—probably 90 degrees—and you were squealing with laughter as you jumped through the sprinklers and launched your bodies down the big yellow slip and slide. In that moment, the pure joy about the simplicity of your world is what compelled me to do what I did next.

For a brief moment, I was brought back to my own childhood, feeling the lightness of life. As soon as I took off running, you got out of the way, but I’m sure you weren’t convinced I was going to do it. Once my body hit the ground and I was soaked, you were ecstatic. You ran to me and jumped on my body, and all three of us lay there in the water, messy and cold. You both looked at me with absolute pride and admiration.

I didn’t think first—I just jumped. And in that moment, I was the mom I want to be, the mom you so often need me to be. The mom I struggle with daily, never allowing her to be a part of my life.

What you didn’t see later on that night was me in the house crying—wondering why I won’t let myself be her more often.