© Can Stock Photo / luissantos84
My Anxiety & Swimming
If you follow me on Snapchat (happymumnz is my username) you will have seen me crying. Not my proudest moment, especially because I did it in front of my kids, but I like to share my emotions.
I think (not confirmed, but I’m pretty sure) I had an anxiety attack at Chloe’s swimming lesson today.
It’s very hard for me to explain but I’ll do my best:
I really don’t enjoy taking the kids to swimming. I want to be a great parent and say “yes it’s amazing” but I really dislike it. In all honesty, it’s just Chloe’s lessons that really cause me distress.
For starters, Chloe’s ALWAYS tired at the end of the day. And because Chloe is already an emotional girl, she gets even MORE emotional when she’s tired. Which means if anyone breathes the wrong way, she could burst into tears. So I’m already walking on egg shells around her to make sure she’s happy.
Then, I myself struggled BIG TIME with swimming lessons when I was younger. I remember feeling very alone (even though I was in a group), and VERY scared. I always felt pressured to do things I didn’t want to, and therefore ended up fearing it more than I should have.
I don’t want this for Chloe. I realise there are times in life where we have to do things we don’t want to, but personally – I HATE THAT. I hate being pressured, and I never want to pressure my kids into doing something they’re not happy with. Or something they’re afraid of.
So swimming has always been a bit of a fine line for me. I’m already on edge, trying to make Chloe happy, all while hoping she doesn’t have to do something she’s scared of.
Chloe was accidentally put into the wrong session at swimming at the beginning of this year, which put her in that “I’m scared and I don’t want to do it” position. She cried. She refused to swim: she did it all.
At the time I sat on the side praying and hoping she would still try, but she didn’t. The first time it happened, I almost pulled her out of the water and said “right lets go” but instead let her sit through the lesson doing nothing (because she was too scared).
I organised with the swimming instructors to change her lesson but it must have fallen off the list because she was still in the wrong session today.
Which not only was tough for Chloe, but was tough for me because I had to be that meddling Mum who intervenes. I hate being that person, because that in itself causes me anxiety.
So I stepped in and said “I think she’s in the wrong session” and she was promptly changed.
But the damage was done.
I could feel myself struggling to breathe. I felt trapped. My heart started racing. I could feel myself getting smaller and smaller. I smiled and pretended like I was ok. I gave Chloe the thumbs up when she did something amazing.
But then she knocked her foot in the pool and her tiredness reared it’s head and she cried.
I was done. We left. I couldn’t breathe and I needed to get out.
I rang my husband and just burst into tears. Chloe instantly picked up on this and started crying too.
I realised at that moment that it was more than just swimming. That it was something to do with me that was causing the anxiety – and remembered the struggles I had as a child when I learned to swim.
Just writing this now is bringing tears to my eyes – tears I didn’t know I had for a situation I didn’t even realise was an issue.
Chloe is a sensitive soul, and even more so when she’s tired. So at this stage I’m not sure swimming lessons at the end of the day, RIGHT after she’s started school, is the best idea.
Swimming lessons, in my mind, are absolutely imperative for our children; but I actually don’t know how much she’ll learn at this point.
Sorry this was bloody long. For me though, writing is cathartic. I might not be good at it, but it’s so good for me to get it out.
I think as a parent I’ll probably always struggle with expecting my children to do certain things when they don’t want to. Only because I myself hated that growing up. I hated doing things I didn’t want to do – in fact I still look on those times and think “nope I learned nothing positive by doing that”.
Thank you all so much for your kind messages online. My heart literally explodes with love for you guys: you are helping me so much and you have no idea.
Feel free to follow me on Snapchat: happymumnz … I share as much as I can of my day ?