I’ve always been a natural worrier, with a touch of paranoia chucked in too. Since I became pregnant with my daughter, and after having her my anxiety has actually taken a massive hit.
While I was pregnant I became quite anxious when out on my own as throughout my pregnancy I suffered from ‘morning sickness’ all day (though not throwing up the yucky feeling was bad enough), my daughter was back to back with me making it rather uncomfortable to carry her aswell as the fact she was a heavy baby; so I often felt pretty rough and suffering from low blood pressure (had that all my life and still do) meant that I often felt dizzy so I was terrified of passing out or feeling unwell whilst out on my own. I also had the added anxiety about whether or not I’d miscarry so that didn’t help.
Once I had my daughter, there was a lot of issues surrounding other people that went on (which I will not go into) resulting in me becoming agoraphobic and afraid of my own shadow. The only place I felt safe with my daughter was at my Nans flat, we would stay there about 3-4 nights a week.
My anxiety was so bad I could no longer stay in my hometown, I had to move away where no one knew me and I could feel safe, so that’s what I done.
Even though moving away helped ease my anxiety and agoraphobia, and I feel safe where we live, I still find I’m more jumpy than I used to be before becoming a Mum.
For example, houses creak and click from temperature changes etc; my mind however hears a normal house creak and it panics thinking that there’s someone breaking in or that someone had gotten in while I was out and hidden. My logical mind fights against it telling me that it’s nothing, but it’s not always easy to ignore the anxious side which can sometimes lead to panic attacks.
When I go out, I’m more aware of my surroundings; I’ve always been a people watcher, but now I pay even more attention to those around me and I always have ‘exit routes’ mapped out in my head wherever I go- even on buses I will only sit near the front or right at the back next to the emergency exit.
I can’t watch the news or read about terrible things such as terrorist attacks as it fuels my anxiety even more; I used to be perfectly fine travelling somewhere by train, but now I can’t bring myself to do it.
I think becoming a mum made my anxiety worse because now I’m responsible for not just myself, but a little girl too. I have to look after myself and keep myself safe in order to look after her and keep her safe. Atleast that’s my opinion on it anyway!
Anxiety attacks/panic attacks affect people in different ways- some people pass out, shake, be sick, become breathless, whereas others can appear to be ‘fine’ on the outside but inside their mind is rushing with thoughts and feelings etc. I am more of the silent type that to a stranger looks fine, but if im in public I fidget (tapping my legs/feet) and try to control my breathing, usually if I find somewhere to sit and have a soft drink it helps. When anxiety hits at night at home, usually when I’m in bed, I again have to try and regulate my breathing and talk myself out of panicking. Sometimes if it’s been really bad then I have been sick from it but that doesn’t happen often. If there’s a spider I have to get rid of, I’ve been known to cry, shake and be sick through fear. I think one main tell tale sign of me having an issue with anxiety, is that I will pick/scratch at the skin around my finger nails, bite my lips/inside of cheeks sometimes til they become sore and even bleed without realising, and I gently scratch my head as a kind of soother. Most of the time I don’t realise I’m doing it or atleast don’t realise how bad I’ve done it such as making my lip sore from biting it.
Anxiety is scary when it hits, and it can be hard to control. So please, if you know someone who suffers from anxiety, be understanding. Don’t get mad at them because they won’t go on a night out, truth is they probably wish they could but it’s too much for their anxiety. I know that with me, the thought of having people stay at my house other than my mum or Nan puts me on edge, along with going to places I’ve never been to before. Give them time, don’t leave them out and try to encourage but don’t be pushy with it. Most of all, don’t guilt trip them or call them stupid for their fears. Just because someone appears to be ok, doesn’t mean they are so just make sure they know you’re there for them, and genuinely be there for them. Just because someone isn’t shaking and crying or passing out, doesn’t mean their anxiety isn’t severe. Like I said, everyone is affected differently.
For those suffering with anxiety, a technique that I’ve used for years (which I later found out was a thing called grounding) is to put my hands on something flat and sturdy like a wall, push against it slightly and count to 10 as fast or slow as I need and as many times as I need. It just brings me back down to earth again when it’s got too much. I was surprised to see this technique used in a tv series called My Mad Fat Diary as I’d done it for years but thought it was just a random thing only I done.
I don’t know whether this post will help anyone in any way, but I thought I’d share it with you even just to give you an insight as to what it’s like living with anxiety.
🔹immeamy, you’re you, and that’s the best way to be🔹