It’s no secret, I have anxiety.
I’ve always had it and I can pinpoint the moment i felt it the most when I was 16 and I couldn’t relax and my thoughts hit me like a freight train so I tried to walk to calm myself and I walked for 4 hours and didn’t realise where I was. If I could explain what anxiety felt like, that would be it. Pacing and not knowing where you’re going.
I used to be very ashamed of it, like it was dirty, and in fact I never understood it really, just thought I was an over thinker. I’m an Aries and their dominated by their heads, (mines exceptionally large too lol) so it made sense. I accepted it.
Life went by with having anxiety and a side of depression and was really fine by me, when I didn’t want to deal with it, I isolated myself. I would lay in bed all day and it wouldn’t matter. No one noticed, and it was easy. I’m a clown, I make jokes, I mask it well.
However I discovered that this is all very different when you become a parent and suddenly you no longer can ignore any of those feelings. For some, becoming a mum or a dad is the first time those feelings come up. To say it’s confronting would be an understatement.
Suddenly, there is no time and no way in hell you can lay in bed all day and switch off and recuperate. No way you can zone out and watch tv and forget all the negative feelings. You have a little voice and little eyes staring at you saying “mum..” You’re responsible for another life. As if that doesn’t give any normal person anxiety.
Your head is now full of your daily thoughts plus the thoughts of caring for your children. It’s exhausting. Beyond exhausting.
I have to go to the doctors
I can’t take both children, what if one runs off?
What if they cry?
What if people look at me?
What if I have to breastfeed? People will judge me. I’ll bring formula, but people might ask me why I’m not breastfeeding?
What if someone tries to kidnap them when I’m out?
What if I have a car accident?
Your thoughts are then interrupted by a cry or a tug at your shirt. Your heart is racing anyway and you just think “wait! I need to figure this shit out.” Your children need you, and you need to calm down. It all gets too much. You can’t control these thoughts, they spiral on their own. That’s anxiety.
I’ll stay home.
Safest option is to do just that.
I’m a bad mum, I should go
I never get to do anything for myself
This is too hard
I hate my life.
I hate how I feel
I hate having anxiety
Yesterday I ventured out with my baby and had big plans to get a coffee. I was going to do this on my own and handle it well. Instead I had an incident that is still bothering me. A lady reversed into my pram, I yelled at her to stop, she got out of the car and told me my pram was in the way, all while I’m holding my baby to put her in. She got angry, she yelled, threatened to punch me and threw my pram.
I cried – this is why I don’t leave the house, I thought.
It hasn’t just happened to me, it’s happened to my friends. Strangers looking at them while their kids scream and wail, like their the most horrible people in the world. I know it’s human nature to judge, but you don’t know, you’ve never walked in that persons shoes. You don’t know that they might already feel like the most horrible person in the world, and they don’t need you to add to it.
If I could tell strangers one thing about having anxiety it’s this, If you see a mother struggling, if her toddler is having a tantrum at the park, don’t give her a dirty look and ask the toddler if he’s okay, go up to that mum and ask her if she needs a hand, tell her she’s doing a good job. Tell her you understand it’s hard. You don’t know the thoughts swimming in her head. You don’t know if today was the day she finally ventured out after having her new baby. That day could have meant a lot to her, and your looks, your judgement, your aggression could do so much more damage than you know.
Anxiety is shit enough as it is without having anything added to it.
Unity is more powerful than anxiety, and on days like that, we just need for someone to show us that they’re with us.