STRUGGLING WITH WORRY
3,2,1 and breathhhhh....
I have always struggled with worry. From the moment I left home to go to university in 2010. Leaving that safety net of what I knew. I’d wake up numerous times in a week with a weird sensation in my tummy but not having a clue why or what I was worried about. Any moment I spent on my own, I would dwell in my own thoughts, thinking the worst of the most simple situation.
When I fell pregnant with my little one in 2013 that worry heightened and now looking back, it has only got worse and worse over the last 4 years since he was born.
My little boy was born premature because he had stopped growing and I had very little fluid left surrounding him so once we got him home and life suddenly was just all about me and him, the hype of my new shiny baby wore off for family and friends, I became isolated and alone, I was living on a tiny island off the coast of the uk where I had only one friend and my in laws, life was suddenly very different to what I had always known.
I would struggle to sleep between feeds in the night through the panic that he would stop breathing or that I’d forgot to put him back into his cot and I’d roll on him.
I had to return to work when he was just 15 weeks old and that was again when looking back I saw another step in the anxiety. I felt the need for everything to be perfect, I needed to feel in control of juggling home life, working life, Mum life and ensuring my marriage stayed a float. How do you keep all those balanced perfectly without mentally draining yourself and damaging who you were as a person.
In this last 12 months thanks to the Instagram community I have finally recognised that it most definitely is anxiety that I am suffering with. But also that, that does not by any stretch make me a bad person or a bad Mum.
I worry about anything & everything, feel anxious about what is probably in reality the smallest of things too most.
I now spend my weekends off from work checking my emails hourly through sheer panic that something small is going to happen, that I am going to have done something wrong despite not being there. I can’t relax and enjoy my time at home because I feel I need to be at work and controlling what is going on around me but at the same time I need to be at home and ensuring I am being the best mother possible.
But looking from the outside in, I know bottling all this up is simply meaning I am putting an immense amount of pressure on myself.
I’ve always bottled things up, I’ve never been the type to talk, I was always the one who was perceived as confident and happy positive smiley type person. I looked like I had it all together, and most will still say the same now.
I recently started a new job and everyone in the office has said how confident I seemed and how they were so impressed at how I coped with juggling so much working and home life and studying while still being a Mum.
But I suppose that it really is true what people say - with most mental health issues, you can never really tell if someone is suffering on the inside.
I have always chosen to deal with things very privately, I don’t open up to many people and even those I do open up to, i still tend to sum up how I feel rather than going into detail and enjoying having a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.
I don’t ever want to offend family members or those few that I have close to me. I’d love nothing more than to be able to openly talk and then move on but it’s just not what I know.
This week I have hit what has felt like a rock bottom, I have suffered worse than ever with anxiety at work, struggling to go through that door at 9am each morning, but on the flip side complete panic when being off, pacing around the house because I'm not in control of my own role for a day.
I broke down and told my husband for the first time that I knew that anxiety was consuming me, taking over everything I am and everything I know and that I have to learn to control it in any way I can, that I have to source help. Even if only in the form of having someone professional to talk to because I am better than letting anxiety consume me and take over my life anymore.
I deserve better than that and so does my boy. He needs the fun and carefree Mum he really knows back.
Written by Sophie Planeta
If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.
Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.