I’ve always struggled a bit with anxiety. Before I had kids, I had a bit of a breakdown at work and quit my job after just one day. This was the start of my anxiety journey, and it hasn’t really gone away.
When I had kids, I was diagnosed with post-natal depression; but never with any anxiety.
It’s not until now, 7 years on, that I realise I’ve been struggling with it this whole time.
Specifically around the 3-8pm mark. I originally said (in an Instagram post) that it was between 3-6pm, but I have to admit that the anxiety extends until the kids go to bed.
It started when Chloe was a baby..
When all I did was struggle during the day – I had no idea what I was doing as a parent. Chloe struggled to sleep and I didn’t know how to get her to sleep. I was lonely, too scared to leave the house (Chloe was a spilly baby and everytime I went out I had to change her multiple times) and struggled so much with breastfeeding.
I would do all I could to hang on by a thread during the day, and by the time 5pm rolled around, I was almost broken.
The countdown to 5pm started at around 3pm though – because the end was in sight.
The end being Phil coming home and giving me a break, and keeping me company. Helping me feel less alone.
During this time, also known as “the witching hour”, the anxiety would build in my stomach. Like a bad case of the butterflies, it would build and build until it was overwhelming.
If Phil ever said “sorry I’m running late tonight”, I would have a meltdown.
This continued on for years, without me even realising it.
Sadly because I didn’t deal with it at the time (when the kids were babies), this anxious feeling around the 3-8pm mark, has become like muscle memory in my body; and I’m having trouble letting it go.
So now that my kids are 5 and 7, I still experience so much anxiety it’s ridiculous.
My kids are big enough now to look after themselves, and I don’t have the same stresses I had when they were babies. However, the feeling won’t go away.
In fact, it’s gotten so bad, I had to take myself back to the doctor because what I could see happening, wasn’t healthy at all; I was beginning to lose myself yet again.
I am very fortunate that at the doctor’s clinic I go to, they have a couple of free counselling sessions available to those who need it – so my doctor booked me in for one of those.
So I’ve now got some tools to help me accept these feelings, and move on.
This includes listening to music during the witching hour, paying attention to my feelings, lowering my expectations of myself, my kids and my husband. I also have some mindfulness techniques around anchoring myself, and I have a book to read.
It’s called The Happiness Trap.
I love my kids so much, but parenting is the fucking hardest thing in the world, and I never for a second thought this would happen.
Also, you may notice that on my Facebook page I’ve been sharing a lot (and I do mean a lot) of memes and funny posts, etc etc. This is because I find comfort in them. I find them funny and I want to share with you guys.
I’ve been struggling so much that my own website has taken a back seat to my anxiety.
I chat about a lot of my experiences over on my Instagram stories (happymumhappychild). These are like my daily vlogs.
I hope you’re all doing ok out there. Parenting isn’t easy and you’re definitely not alone ????