For me, being a mother and having anxiety, I have faced all sorts of days. When my anxiety strikes, it’s like I have left this world. I feel helpless, alone, scarred and disconnected from things around me. I used to curl up in a blanket and let the anxiety take its toll on me until I felt it was safe to move. However, now being a mom, I am not able to hide when my anxiety strikes.
I have to overcome it and do the best at being a mom as I can. It can be hard to take care of a little one while taking care of yourself and your anxiety. I am learning how to manage my anxiety while still being a mother. While it’s not walk in the park, I am doing it and here is how.
I came to the realization one afternoon while listening to my 18-month-old boy cry because mommy wouldn’t let him stand on the kitchen chair. I was afraid he would fall. My anxiety kicked in, and I was taken into my mind where the “what ifs” spiraled out of control. What if the last thing my kid sees is me giving him trouble?
After sitting there crying alongside him, I thought, “Why am I doing this to myself?” I was so afraid of death itself, I had lost the ability to parent my child and look out for his well-being, all because of the anxiety inside me.
I decided things needed to change that day. I needed to live my life being the best mom I can be for my son. It has been an uphill battle every day. I can no longer dwell on my anxiety. Even if I am in the middle of an attack and my son needs a cup refill, bum change or to for me simply help him build with his blocks, I have to be there every step of the way.
There are a few things I remind myself every day. I thought I might share them in hopes of helping another mother/parent living with anxiety.
1. It’s OK to feel this way.
Sometimes, you need to let yourself feel the anxiety. This is OK as long as you remember it’s just a feeling and it will past. For me, sometimes, despite my best efforts, the anxiety is strong. It’s a bad day and that is OK.
2. You need to take care of yourself in order take care of your child.
Remembering to eat and to rest can feel impossible some days. For me, the fear of falling ill and leaving my son behind always helps me to remember I need to stay as healthy as I can and keep going to be there for my child. Some days, it feels like a heavy weight, but I see that little smile and it makes it easier.
3. It’s OK to have a bad day.
No one is perfect, and not every day can go a smoothly as planned. Acceptance is key. There are still days I have an attack, and I can’t let it go. I carry it with me all day, but I know it’s just one day. Tomorrow, I can try again and make it better. Everything is one day at a time with anxiety.
4. Be patient with yourself and others.
I know for me if a day filled with anxiety hits, I tend to get a bit on edge and easily aggravated. I used to shout a lot. Then, I realized there are better ways to express your emotions when on edge. Now, I remind myself of this daily. Be careful with the words you use, and staying calm helps me stay in control. I need to be in control while disciplining my child. I don’t want him to fear the monster the anxiety-induced rage has turned his sweet mommy into. I just want him to know what he did was wrong, and I love him no matter what.
5. Think about all the positives.
Day to day, there are ups and downs in life. Remembering to live in the positive side can be hard. It can be helpful to think about the happiness of the day before you go to sleep. It really helps me ease my mind of all the things that went wrong. I, then, can look forward to the happiness the next day will bring.
6. Enjoy every moment.
Life is full of the unexpected. I try hard every day to make it a great day. Sometimes, the anxiety weighs me down, but my son has watched me struggle with the bad days. He knows sometimes mommy needs a hug or snuggles to help me remember what I live for.
These simple reminders help me along the way when my anxiety becomes unbearable. Being a mom or dad with anxiety can be tough, to say the least. All I can do is wake up every day, ready to give it my all!
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