What it’s like to have anxiety as a parent?

I’ve had anxiety for 7 years now, and although I’m not anxious all of the time, i have definitely had my fair share of anxiety/panic attacks. Even though I have a general idea of what causes them, I hardly ever know when they’re going to happen and I still don’t know how to fight it all of the time – I mostly have to walk away & leave the whole situation. 

Before having Alyssia, I struggled really bad – I pretty much dropped out of school because of it and spent most of my time in counselling sessions. I became a recluse at one point and hardly ever left the house, I was scared – anxious to leave just incase something happened to me. What if somebody was following me? Watching me? I don’t know? I found daily life so hard to deal with, I felt so different & excluded from everyone and everything – it was horrible.

But since having Alyssia, I am alot more confident in myself – I have a purpose now that I am a mum. The first few weeks of being a parent, I made all the effort I could to go to baby groups & get myself out of the house as much as possible – but all of a sudden I just stopped? Things started to slip back, and my anxiety started to beat me again.

Yesterday for example, Alyssia hardly ate anything (not like her at all) she was super sleepy & didn’t seem interested in doing much at all. Last night, she went to bed fine but then woke up screaming and didn’t stop crying for 2 whole hours. This worried me – I always think the worse when she’s like this, so there I am with my heart beating faster and faster as I hug her tight whilst she’s screaming and crying at the top of her little lungs. I gave her cuddles, checked her temperature, gave her calpol, water, more milk, read her a story, and put the telly on for her, I tried everything I could think of.. but is she just teething or is there something seriously wrong???

It just makes no sense, when my anxiety gets the best of me – my mind thinks of the worst case scenario every single time (there’s obviously something wrong with her, right?) Of course there isnt.. and that’s the thing – I can see it happening right infront of me, these thoughts going round and round in my head – yet I can’t seem to stop them? And then I start to worry about the worry – I mean, this is getting ridiculous now.. what if Alyssia could sense that I was panicking and it was making it worse? The last thing in the world that I want is for my baby to suffer the way I am with this horrible anxiety disorder.. that would seriously break my heart!

All I want to do when my baby is distressed is be able to calm her down & comfort her – but my anxiety is stopping me from being the mum I want to be and honestly you have no idea how crap that makes me feel. Sometimes the anxiety passes in a matter of minutes, hours. Sometimes it’s just kind of there – but controlled not quite attacking me yet… and sometimes I feel okay, but then I remember that it will return and it’s going to get me again.

• I get anxious over alot of different things, I am currently getting over a fear of driving alone with Alyssia in the car – a few months ago, Alyssia was quite poorly and had an allergic reaction to something she had eaten (dairy), on the way home from our day out she threw up in the back of my car whilst choking on her sick – I had to do an emergency stop on a dual carriageway and get her out of the carseat as soon as possible – it was so scary & since then I have been scared to drive alone with her.

• I get anxious when Alyssia gets poorly, I always think the worst & always make the mistake of googling the symptoms.

• I have serious trust issues and won’t leave Alyssia with anybody, although I am hoping that this is something I can work on.

• One thing I really do struggle with is what people think of me and what if they’re judging my parenting or just me in general? – I don’t know why I care so much but I do.

• I am an anxious mess & don’t have many friends at all – although I have made quite a few online friends through social media & blogging, yay!
Parenting in general can be such hardwork, but trying to be a mum and suffering with anxiety can be so difficult at times and it really can make you feel so crap..

After 7 years I still don’t have any solution, but medication has definitely played a part in helping me, along with remembering how to breathe – that sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But sometimes it’s too much – and I just can’t cope, I have to wait until it’s all over to then start my day all over again.

Anxiety has definitely ruined hours, days, weeks, maybe even months of motherhood for me – but I will always try my best to protect my children from it.

Please don’t tell me I’m the only mum who feels like this? Surely I can’t be alone..

Thanks for reading,

Zoe x

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