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The Complexity of Being a Mom With 'Functional' Anxiety

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The problem with appearing “functional” is that people expect functionality. My anxiety does not always allow for functionality. Not in any real, productive sense anyway. I do what I consider the bare minimum: I feed and clean my children (and myself), I make sure they know I love them, I clean the house and make sure the fridge is full. I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere though.

I see my husband, who is fantastic at his job and is so successful, and I feel like I’m missing out. I don’t diminish what I do as a mom, being a mom 24/7 is tough work! Even when I get sleep I’m still exhausted! But I find myself wanting for something more. I want to see myself functioning in a role other than “Mom.” It doesn’t have to be outside the house. It could be as simple as this, talking about something that is hard for me to talk about. Maybe finding a way to help someone else feel better about themselves in an effort to feel better about myself.

Honestly, I think I use cleaning the house as a little bit of an escape most of the time. It’s a stress reliever for me, but it’s also an excuse for me. If I’m cleaning the house or taking care of babies, or some other motherly duty, then I can’t go out. I find that I more and more want nothing to do with going out. I use the fact that we moved to a different state as an excuse that I’m holing up in the house. We moved a year ago. I know. But the thought of leaving the security of my home for any longer than necessary seems to put me in a state of discomfort and even sometimes panic. I like my home, not feeling outside scrutiny or criticism. I guess part of me feels like I scrutinize myself enough, so why get it from the outside too? That’s my fear and anxiety taking over.

My anxiety has left me feeling like I’m struggling (and not winning) a battle just to be a functional person. There are so many things I want to accomplish that I feel my anxiety is holding me back from. These are things I have wanted to accomplish for years but feel no closer to now than I did 10 years ago. It’s infuriating! I know what is holding me back, but I still haven’t been able to overcome this.

That’s not entirely true though. I feel, for the first time in a long time, like I have taken a step toward doing what I want. It started with writing about my anxiety and being open about it. It was (it still is) terrifying! But I am being open and pushing myself to try and ease some of that anxiety because as ironic as it is, talking about it helps. It doesn’t stop being scary, talking about what feels like my biggest weakness, but when I get it out there, I start to heal a little. And I think the only way I will feel like a “functional” person again is through healing. I need to be able to go out of my comfort zone, out of the house, but I need to be able to heal a little first. Baby steps, right?

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Thinkstock photo by artpustovit

Originally published: March 25, 2017
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