The word anxiety is thrown around quite a bit these days. It seems everyone is struggling with this somewhat nondescript word in a society that is putting more pressure on all of us than ever before. Moms, especially, talk about anxiety almost with the same frequency as asking for recommendations on what type of butt cream to use. It’s out there; it’s mainstream. And that, in and of itself, is a little scary. But what does anxiety look like for those moms who suffer from it? Of course, it looks unique for each person, and my story is no different.
I can remember being nervous as a child. Trying out for a team, joining a new club, or preparing for a big test – all of these situations made me nervous and uncomfortable. But I pushed through and always learned from the outcome and grew as a person. The nerves went away. I knew this time around was different just a few short days after my first child was born. We were driving home from the hospital and about to cross the bridge back into Kentucky. As we approached the bridge, my heart started racing, I felt dizzy, and my mind was consumed with all of the terrifying scenarios that could happen when crossing a bridge. Add in the fact that my brand new baby boy was strapped in next to me, and I felt as if I may pass out. Most people may not be able to pinpoint the moment they began their struggle with anxiety, but for me, this was it.
Time went on and it seemed as if these overwhelming feelings would just come and go in what I assumed was “normal” for new moms. Combine the stress of being a new mom with the lack of sleep and raging hormones, and no wonder so many women feel as if they are drowning while in the chaos of motherhood. I made it through the birth of my second child and a major surgery a few months after that and felt as if I had a better grasp on everything and maybe those pesky anxious feelings and episodes were gone for good. Unfortunately, it’s a little more persistent than that.
The past year, I’ve finally been able to define what the word anxiety looks and feels like for me. With a few big life changes and an intense health scare with my mom, I can honestly say I am struggling to find that grasp again. You’d never guess it, either, which is the funny thing about anxiety – or any mental issue, for that matter. You can scroll through my Facebook page or Instagram feed and think I have a perfect, stress-free life. Of course, that’s not the case for any of us. Looks are deceiving.
While I can function on a day-to-day basis, I feel that entrapment of anxiety every hour of the day. I yell more than I’d like, I constantly worry about every little thing. I feel unsettled in my seemingly easy existence, and sleep is a chore, as my mind never shuts down. I’m lucky because I know there are so many of you out there dealing with anxiety in an even more intense way. So many moms who are struggling to find that grasp and feel as if they should be fine, but yet something is not quite right. I understand, and you’re not alone.
Hopefully, if you are feeling trapped by anxiety, you are seeking help. Talk to your doctor, family, and friends. You are not crazy and you are most certainly not alone. I knew these feelings were more than just nerves when I struggled to find joy because of my constant worry and distraction. There is just way too much joy in this world – although it doesn’t always seem that way – for you to not feel it. Life is too short to feel trapped and you can find a way to manage life amidst the chaos. You already know that your children are worth the battle, but you know what? You’re worth it, too.