Well what does that mean? Anxiety…..well that’s what I have been told by the doctor. After having my second child anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks…….the “anxiety” wasn’t directed at my children but I just developed this massive worry that I was going to die and leave my 2 beautiful children behind. It was mad because I actually found myself debating with myself thinking “why not me, what is to stop me from developing cancer and dying?” I felt physically different the worry I had developed was causing me to have physical symptoms such as tummy pains, dry mouth, burning up and heart palpitations. It was horrid. I felt like I was visiting my doctor every week for the duration of my precious maternity leave looking for some kind of confirmation of there being something wrong with me, or I was ill, or I was dying. I didn’t get that…..all I got was your anxious…what are you worried about and I honestly didn’t know as I thought my life was great, I had just had a baby but I was happy, I suppose a bit of me thought someone like me can’t be anxious. Evenings were the worst, I sometimes would hear noises and think that someone was trying to break into my house and I would freeze and all the physical symptoms would start as well as worrying and thinking how am I going to deal with this situation.
When I think back I think it was the fact that I now had 2 babies and it hit me thinking about what would happen to them if I were to die. I had no answers because I didn’t want to accept death, I didn’t want to think about what happens afterwards….as in the words of Oasis I wanted to “Live forever”. Realising that I wasn’t going to was really difficult. Having just had a baby too made me more vulnerable.
There was nothing for me locally, nothing that was what I would call genuine support, support without a hidden agenda, support without ticking boxes, support that wasn’t being dictated by postcode or a practitioner that didn’t have a clue. There was nowhere I could go and explore this label of “anxiety”. Then I realised I was alone with this anxiety and I had to figure this out in my own head. My dad gave me this book called “Self-Help for your NERVES” by Dr Claire Weekes and it changed my life…….I understood and identified that it was a fear of dying that I had. The process she talks about Facing, Accepting, Floating and Letting time pass made absolute sense to me. I felt knowledgeable and I began to make a plan of how to reduce my fear. I talked about death to loved ones, I arranged my finances, I talked about the care and provision of my children and I set up a blank email so I can send pictures, emails and videos to an email for my children to one day access and they will know how much I love them and how much fun we have had. To be honest returning to work also helped distract my mind which worked well for me.
Taking time to explore why you feel the way you do really helped me. I hold my head high when I say “I live with anxiety”, I am aware of how I feel, my triggers and I know how I can manage this. I am a happy parent and so in love with my children. I feel I work with my anxiety in a positive way as it keeps me and my children safe in terms of making more conscious decisions. I don’t think I look like I have anxiety but then again who does? For any practitioner out there reading this….I just wanted someone to listen and maybe make helpful suggestions……I realised I am the expert in my field (my life) just like any other person is.
In April 2016 I began PANDAS Solihull Affiliated to PANDAS Foundation because there is nothing else for us parents locally. It is a safe environment for parents experiencing any mental illness to access support to help cope or manage their emotional wellbeing. At this group you will be welcomed, encouraged and listened too through your personal journey of MH.
I have also started #everybirthmatters which offers HypnoBirthing and Doula services as a support to women experiencing fear, anxiety and worry through pregnancy and birth. These life events can impact massively on the mental wellbeing of a family and I believe these techniques can help support a woman and her family through this experience.
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Thank you, if this helps just one person then i'm glad I wrote it #MHAW