Maternal Mental Health Week: Anxiety (Guest Post)

With this being Maternal Mental Health Week I wanted to share with you some stories from other mumma’s I’ve met through blogging. Today’s post on anxiety comes from Andrea, the comedy mumster mind behind the awesome Mumma Shine blog.

I am stronger than my Anxiety

I never used to have bad anxiety, I worked full time, was able to ring people, go out with friends, leave the house alone without worrying about anything. I had reached management level in a company that I loved, and at age 19 was earning more than a lot of other people my age.

Skip To 2011

I fell pregnant and started feeling very anxious, constantly panicking about the worst, making myself so sick over it that I would miss days of work, beg for more scans and call the midwives in a panic. After having Izzie I lost a lot of friends from not doing the things I used to do, suddenly the panic attacks started. Running on very little sleep, I had no support from my maternity team. I would call in sick to stay at home with Izzie, my work at this point were having enough of my excuses and gave me an ultimatum; put work first or leave.

Eventually my anxiety got so bad that I decided my only option was to leave work to be with my daughter 24/7, we moved to a new part of the country to be closer to my mum, leaving all my friends behind my anxiety sky rocketed. Multiple doctors told me to just keep taking those magical pills to feel better and wait for a miracle. It never come.

2017: 6 Years On

My anxiety was at its peak; it was like drowning, constantly feeling overcome with fear and panic, unable to catch my breath. It was dragging me down and I couldn’t breathe. I isolated myself thinking that staying in, away from the world, would be safer. Like a fish in a tank, watching everyone live life on the other side of the glass, while I was stuck inside.

Presuming this increase in anxiety was simply because I was in a new place and that if I gave myself time it would all go back to normal. That new friends would be found and I’d be happy again. But my anxiety was only getting worse, I couldn’t leave the house alone, make phone calls, I had no friends in the area. Even with my partner and my children, I had never felt so alone.

2019: New Year, New Me

One morning while listening to the radio I heard someone talking about life goals. They said when you want something don’t sit and wait for it to come to you, go out and grab it. Look at your goal and think of what steps you need to achieve to get there.

Sure, the first step is going to be scary and daunting, but push through it, because once you do it you will feel amazing. When you reach the second step it will be even less scary than the first, and eventually after you keep putting yourself out there and reaching new steps, your worry will disappear completely, and you will reach your goal. Don’t be scared to put yourself out there and stop waiting for life to happen.

So, I thought could this work for my anxiety? Could my anxiety be beaten if I just pushed myself to do things and stopped waiting for it to get better. That evening I saw a mum meet up on an Instagram story, I thought to myself this is my first step in start fighting this anxiety, this was my chance to push myself. I messaged the ladies and they were so lovely, they told me not to worry, they were anxious too, and we could do this together.

The whole drive there I was panicking, what if they don’t like me, what if I say the wrong thing, what if I don’t act like I do online! As soon as I arrived and met everyone my anxiety almost disappeared instantly. Everyone was so inviting, they hugged me and told me they were proud of me for going out of my comfort zone to meet them all.

I had thought about this moment so much the night before and It wasn’t as scary as I was making it out to be. The children all played together, we ate a picnic, we walked in the forest and talked for hours. I honesty had the most amazing day and felt like I had known everyone for years. The anxiety was still there but it was like a tiny flutter every now and again, not big crushing waves. By pushing myself through the anxiety a new step was reached.

Had I cracked it?

Could my anxiety be beaten, by pushing myself out of my comfort zone by experiencing the real world around me instead of waiting for a miracle cure?

Well, it’s now May 2019. My mental health is still up and down, my anxiety can be a bit dark some days. However, I’ve a new found confidence in myself, new friends, my blog’s back up again, and I feel amazing! There’s an excitement to try new things, reach new steps and achieve the goals I want to achieve.

My future feels a little brighter and not as scary as it was before. By pushing myself, I CAN beat anxiety. Sure, it’s going to be tough, those first few steps are going to be extremely scary and anxiety inducing, but doing it enough, can help me achieve great things. I may never be completely anxiety free. However, it can be managed without having to wait for my life to start, by living in the now.

I am stronger than my mental health.

My anxiety does not define me.

Andrea x

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