Anxiety has made an unwelcome return to my life recently. I think I had about a year off it where I managed to keep it at bay and I felt good. Strangely this was just after my 2nd pregnancy and I was going through the hardest time of my life. And that right there, is the point – there is no rhyme or reason to anxiety.
I think I have always suffered with anxiety but it was more on the extreme worrier end of the scale when I was younger rather than the hard-core anxiety stuff I get now. The main misconception that surrounds anxiety is that it’s worrying and telling someone with anxiety to not worry about something will instantly make them feel better. Unfortunately it won’t because anxiety is much more than worrying and sometimes there is no reason for it, it’s just there.
My anxiety has been at its worst since having children and from what we have found out so far it is relatively hormone based so I get good weeks and bad weeks. Over the last few months I have been experiencing more bad weeks than good and that has made being a Mum pretty tricky to be honest! I think the hardest part for me is that I get physical symptoms and the main one of those is dizziness. This dizziness when really bad completely knocks me off my feet. I can’t look after the kids by myself and that breaks my heart. I had to miss my daughters first settling in session at nursery because of it. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time it isn’t like that. I can function, do what needs to be done but a lot of it comes with a sick feeling, a worry before I do it and a huge build up to something as simple as the walk to school.
It’s hard. I solo parent from Monday to Thursday most weeks and that in itself makes me anxious; knowing I haven’t got anyone there for back up if I’m feeling wobbly. However, this is where everything shifts really because doing it alone means you have to do it. Obviously if I am really dizzy then I do need support and I have wonderful parents who will drop everything and have the kids for me. But for the most part I have to force myself into situations that I may avoid if I’m not alone. I have to get Little Man to school, I have to get Little Lady to nursery and I have to go to work. One of the main ways to conquer anxiety is to face it and from experience that’s the hardest part about starting recovery but the more you do something the easier it becomes.
Anxiety is the bane of my life and it haunts me every day but I have two smiling faces waiting for their breakfast every morning and although the desire to hide under the duvet all day is most definitely there, I can’t. I have to fight it. A few years ago I started to fight it and managed to teach myself some ways of coping. This time, it hasn’t been so easy and I have been to see the Doctor who is helping me. It is helping. I sat in the Doctors room shaking; I didn’t want to be this Mum, I didn’t want to need help but actually what I realised is to be the Mum I want to be I had to ask for help. So with the Dr’s help, my nearest and dearest’s help and my wonderful friends help I will get there. They don’t claim to understand it, gosh I don’t think I understand it but they are there for me.
I will be the Mum who walks her son to school without feeling panicky and I will be the Mum who can take her baby to baby groups without being scared. I might not be her right now but one day I will be. I have no doubt there will be hiccups, I have been here before; there is no quick fix but I will do it. I have to, I have 2 little people counting on me.
Writing this has been therapeutic for me; I forgot how much writing helps me but if you are reading this and you are struggling too, go and get the help. Being a parent is hard and sometimes we need help too.