The Truth About My Anxiety
Since sharing my first post about anxiety, I have been inundated with messages from people with their own stories about anxiety.
It has made me think about the fact that I suffer from anxiety more than I’m willing to admit.
On Christmas Day I finally admitted to myself and to my husband that something wasn’t right. I was thinking about the possibility of us being involved in an accident too many times, which caused me a lot of panic every time I got into the car; and this has been happening for a few months now.
Prior to this, the thought of leaving the house with the kids to do ANYTHING was making me feel sick to my stomach.
When they were babies, I also didn’t leave the house much because of the fact my daughter was a spilly baby. This meant I had to change her clothes multiple times a day, regardless if she had a million bibs on. I just didn’t want the grief of being looked at, or even worse, judged. So I just never went out. I didn’t really go to playgroups, and I never did any kind of activity other than the playground and the occasional zoo visit.
Even that one time I went to the zoo was a disaster because I’m sure my child picked up on my anxiety and was crying pretty much the whole time.
Now, I always worry my kids will play up and I’ll have to be a beast and I’ll be judged. It doesn’t help I get recognised quite a bit (I don’t speak about it but I do), so I always worry they’ll be thinking “what a terrible parent”.
I think I’m a fair parent, but when we go out my kids have a tendency to push my buttons. Plus I’m already on edge from just being out … I’m pretty sure my kids know when I’m on edge so they just push me even further.
Having a smallish house (80 sqm) with little storage, has meant it feels like we have A LOT of things. My mind often feels cluttered if my house feels cluttered and sometimes it causes me a bit of anxiety. If you follow me on Snapchat (happymumnz) it feels like I’m always tidying up / reorganising.
I recently came across this wonderful Instagram profile called “Mamas Scrapbook“. Anna is not only a mother, but she’s a psychotherapist. It was this post here that I connected with incredibly … I have definitely had some of these thoughts:
What if I fell down the stairs right now? I could push that guy under the bus. I could swerve my car and cause a pileup. Flashes of thoughts run unprompted through my mind, playing out vivid worse case scenarios. I see myself flying down the stairs carrying a child or purposefully crashing my car on the motorway. You wouldn’t notice the tiny grimace and shudder that sweeps across my body as the thoughts move through my head. I used to be utterly ashamed, thinking there must be something wrong with me. I avoided driving for almost ten years as I felt overwhelmed by thoughts that assaulted my imagination. I must be crazy. These intrusive thoughts happen to MOST of us (94% off you as per my Insta poll today), often heightened by anxiety and depression. Yet nobody talks about it because they are horrified by their own thoughts. I want to normalise things for those of you who experience this and have never spoken about it. Intrusive thoughts DO NOT reflect who you are, they DO NOT reflect your personality. You are NOT crazy. The thought itself isn’t a problem, it’s what you do with it, whether you engage with it, let them dictate your wellbeing, and add narrative..that’s what makes them problematic. We can fear them and desperately push them away, which often makes them enter more frequently. When they cause distress and action is taken to avoid triggering or acting on them, that may be veering into OCD and would benefit from support. So, when a thought strikes you, leave it alone to pass and wilt. Know that you’re not mad, you’re not bad, you’re normal xxx This is my #mindfulnovember post for today’s ‘about me’ topic #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #depression #ocd #mindfulness #therapy #wisdom #phobia #driving #mumlife #momlife #mumoftwo #mumofboys #mumblogger #mummyblogger #mommy #mommy #pnd #postnataldepression #therapy #psychology @mindcharity #depressionquotes #depressionwearslippy
I would never do anything with my thoughts, but my thoughts are there.
It was on Christmas Day though, after suffering for months with these thoughts, that I verbalised my concern. As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew I needed to seek help.
So I will be making a doctors appointment (he’s away at the moment) and I will be chatting about therapy and / or medication. I am already on Citalopram for my depression but am open to having something else if it helps.
I have received SO MANY messages from you guys telling me your anxiety stories. I am gobsmacked at how many people suffer (and I realise it’s more than just this) and astounded at the level of bravery shown by these women in being able to share with me their stories.
So many of you have reached out and offered me support, kind words, and advice: all of it I have taken on board and am now using an app called “Headspace”.
I used to use this but forgot about it. Last night I got my Shakti Mat out and lay on it for 15 minutes whilst listening to Headspace. It was actually quite wonderful.
I have a lot to learn in life, and one of the lessons is to not let my mind control me. I am in control of my mind, not the other way around.
If you’ve read this: thank you. If you’ve reached out to me: thank you. If you’ve spoken to no one but your GP and/or your partner: I’m proud of you.
If you know something is wrong and haven’t done anything yet – I’m still proud of you. Acknowledging something isn’t right is actually the first step.
The next step is probably the hardest – seeking help.
My advice is chat to your GP. I know not all GPs are helpful, but they will know what to do. If you don’t feel confident with their answer, please seek a second opinion.
If there’s one thing I know is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to someone .. even if it’s just me.