I vaguely remember a time where my biggest worry was standing in front of a wardrobe full of new clothes and stressing about what to wear.
These days, that thought doesn’t even make it to my top 500 list (except on the days where I have an event to attend and I ACTUALLY have nothing to wear).
Over the last few years, I often get a weird feeling overtake my body.
I feel hot…then cold…light headed…sweaty…
I can feel it creeping up from my stomach, approaching my throat, closing in on me.
I can’t breathe.
My heart races.
My head spins.
I’m having a panic attack.
I have anxiety.
And its developed ever since I became a mother.
However, my parental anxiety has a different definition than the one you’ll find on google.
Yes I worry about my kids, their future and their safety. I think it’s natural to want to protect our kids from what might happen or to try to make sure nothing bad does happen. But my anxiety doesn’t stem from this.
My anxiety developed when I became a parent, but it stems from me.
I feel anxious driving in tunnels.
I feel claustrophobic in small spaces.
I feel frightened staying home alone at night.
I feel trapped when the petrol light flashes.
Things that never bothered me before suddenly make me feel like I’m suffocating.
I have learnt to recognise the signs and take steps to alleviate the attack from progressing.
I slow down my breathing, and identify 5 things I can see around me.
I talk aloud to myself, and find 4 things I can hear.
I take a deep breath and find 3 things I can touch.
I talk aloud and find 2 things I can smell.
I take a deep breathe and find 1 thing I can taste.
I breathe and talk my way out of my anxiety. I find these steps work. I use them as I worry about being in a situation where I am not in control. What if I have a panic attack in the tunnel while driving with the kids. What will happen to them? What if I’m home alone and get broken into? How will I keep the kids safe? And the list goes on.
Parental anxiety or anxiety in general is not a commonly spoken about topic. It’s not something you chat about at mothers group or a catch up with old girlfriends. It’s rarely spoken about or identified. But it should be. It should be spoken about as freely as poo explosions and lack of sleep.
It’s a real and confronting issue that many people face. So if you’re reading this and can relate to what I’m going through, know that you’re not alone. Know that you CAN and WILL overcome it. Know that there is always someone who can help. Someone who will listen. Someone who will relate. Me.
Sending you love,