I have largely been honest about my anxiety journey right from the beginning when I was first hospitalised back in 2016.
I have learnt so much in this journey – what are my triggers, what do I do when I need to manage my anxiety, sought treatment with intensive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and obviously.
But what I haven’t fully touched on – is how this pain in the bum mental condition affects my day to day life. Like anyone with it, each day or week can be a bit different. Being a mother is certainly a tough gig and there are elements of mothering I really struggle with that can cause my anxiety to totally blow up and rise.
I really struggled when I first became a mother of two – I would have panic attacks when I would take both kids out becoming very overwhelmed, very quickly. Almost three years on, if I am tired or stressed – this still gets me super quickly. I always tell people I am not an ‘arts and crafts’ mum but honestly it’s because the mess makes my anxiety sky rocket, when I want to get the house cleaned up or washing put away I can get quite anxious if the boys need me through these times. I am a ‘doer’ so once I have my mind focused I really struggle with disruption. Or every morning getting my boys out to daycare and me off to work – my adrenaline doesn’t lower until after I have dropped them and I’ve nearly made it to work. It’s bloody tiring if I am honest.
But one thing that’s really caught me by surprise is travel. Once I was alone with the kids, my home became my safe place. When I would have these panic attacks I would return home with the boys and they could play about while I regrouped or cried or whatever. But I was safe from prying eyes, the threats that felt ever so real and just could be me – even if that was basket case me. There are certain people in my life I will turn to when it’s out of control and they can also give me the comfort I need to calm down.
So fast forward – going away over several nights is now a mental challenge for me. I was a traveler, I loved it. I ran away to Europe on my own when I was 19 and generally loved traveling. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love it. I love seeing new cultures and learning new things but it’s mentally tougher than what it once was.
Take this weekend for instance – I headed off for some much needed rest on the Goldie and to celebrate a friends 40th birthday so this should be relaxing – yes yes?
Not quite – numpty over here had a panic attack on Sunday morning 🤦🏻♀️ what was I panicked about? I was struggling being away from home, in someone else’s home and worrying about the boys. I don’t leave the boys for very long or when I have in recent years, I have made sure they are in the care of someone I trust completely.
When my marriage fell to pieces…. I started to grow into a different person. Being assaulted pushed my anxiety levels off the charts as you would expect. What it’s done is forever changed me – I am more vigilant, I don’t trust many people, I worry about my sons a lot.
The things that have happened over recent years broke me as a human – my soul was crippled, my sense of humor was buried, my social skills shot at one time and any ability to feel safe was totally jeopardised. This meant I really avoided social settings where I didn’t know many people, I became more introverted and stuck to people I knew, stuck close by my home when it was bad and took solace in my two boys often sitting in their rooms when they weren’t home just looking around at their beds and thinking.
It’s affected my life more than I could have ever imagined. It takes me a while to warm up in unfamiliar social settings now, I lose steam quickly if I can’t retreat for recharge, I have panic attacks or get very antsy when I travel.
It takes time – it takes hard work, anxiety is a constant battle for me but I try to hide it as much as I can or not let it get the better of me. Sometimes it does but I try hard not to allow it to dictate my life.
I have three people I absolutely lean on with my full weight when I can’t deal it with it myself. My mummy, my closest girlfriend and she knows generally if her phone rings and it’s me something is wrong (we see each other most weeks and text continually so it’s not just for a goss sesh) and Wayne.
This weekend – Wayne helped me. Sat me up on his lap, held me close and rubbed my back until my panic attack settled. He just got it.
I am so fortunate to have these people who care, who are there when that panic sets in and who never judge or say what the hell is wrong with you. Some people aren’t so lucky and that’s so sad – it shows the true isolation of mental health.
I guess the point of this blog is to maybe normalise how some anxiety sufferers might be feeling, to put words around the thoughts that people don’t understand and just be open as really that’s what I want with my blog.
Hope you have had a nice weekend!