My life struggles with Anxiety

Author: Brea Walker   Date Posted:30 December 2016 

My Struggles with Anxiety

Tonight, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a video by a group that finds strength in helping people with disabilities and mental health issues.

This video specifically was addressing the silent mental health issue called High Functioning Anxiety.  I have known for quite a while that I suffer from anxiety attacks but never thought anything of how much my anxiety affects my day to day living.

Few people would know that I suffer from anxiety.  Only my family and my husband would know because they have seen me struggle with my own thoughts.   I guess it is not something that you bring up in general conversation which is why it is a silent mental illness.

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When did I first notice, my anxiety attacks

As a senior in high school. I entered year 8 well below the average class mate and was placed into a special class to help with the basics – English and Math’s.  I tried my hardest but most classes I struggled with because my Grammar and my writing style was so immature. 

Words that I heard over and over in my head came from one of my teachers.  I remember her saying that my essays are so bad that I would never get a qualification.  I stressed over every essay.  I would even get my mum to proof read my assignments but I was already biting her head off before she even read the first line.  I had already in my head told myself that I was stupid and would never become anything.


Anxiety and Friends

I have always been a friendly person.  We used to go the shops and my family would be greeted as Brea’s mum and dad.  I have heaps of “friends” but very limited very close friends.  In the past I, have been hurt.

I remember inviting someone I thought was a close friend to a movie for my birthday when I was much younger and they left me when we entered the movies and joined a group of friends at the back.

 I have always found that I declined offers to do things a lot of the time and this was probably so that I don’t get hurt again.  On the inside every time I was asked to catch up I was a nervous wreck.  I would go through the anxiety of “will they cancel on me” or “they only want to see me because they feel sorry for me”.    My coping mechanism is to not reply to the email or text message.  It didn’t resolve the issue but out of sight out of mind.  I guess I have lost a lot of friends because of it. 

After having kids, I have found it easier to make a few good friends and I think it might be because I hate to see that my children suffer because I get anxious.  It is not their fault and they deserve to be able to socialize with children their own age. 

Anxiety in a relationship

Although I am getting better – I struggle with anxiety in my relationship.  My husband moved in with me very soon after getting into a serious relationship which probably did not help my anxiety.  I had never lived with anyone other than my family and this was a new experience for me. I often felt like he was going to leave me but this was all in my head. 

We live on the outer skirts of the city and on occasion when he would go out with the boys for a night on the town, I would be a nervous wreck.  Yes, I sometimes went out for the night but it was very rare.  I like nothing more than a nice quiet night at home watching a movie.  It was hard for me to realise that someone could enjoy spending the night out with their friends.  I couldn’t understand the enjoyment of getting drunk and feeling like crap the next day.  I dealt with this anxiety by cleaning.  I would go into full on spring clean mode and he would come home to all the kitchen contents on the counter top or a pile of clothes ready to go to charity shop. 

Anxiety after Kids

If I thought my anxiety was tame it is now 50 times worse after having children.  Let’s face it, children cause added stress to your life.  Being a parent is one of the hardest things I have ever done and I used to give myself a pat on the back when I achieved milestones.  For every milestone achieved there was 100 thoughts in the back of my mind of how bad I was as a mum. 

Social Media has been responsible for most of my anxiety attacks that have arisen since having children.  Instagram and its ability to show a snap shot of a scene and filter its content has led to a big misunderstanding of lifestyles.  Pinterest become an addiction and I found myself tagging thousands of things to do with my children.  I became addicted to social media but the addiction didn’t give me a sense of relief.  Instead they made me depressed and I started feeling like a failure.  It took a long time to realise that a picture is a very small portion of one’s day. 

That mum that posted a sparkling clean house as her children play with educational toys in the background didn’t mention that last night she didn’t sleep and spent the night cleaning the house.   

The mum posting a pic of her child’s organic meal neatly chopped and presented as a piece of art didn’t mention that the same child hardly touched that meal and most ended up in the bin or on the floor. 

That mum posting that her 12-month-old was completely toilet trained didn’t mention that she spends a large portion of her day in toilets.

Social Media also brings out the nastiness in a lot of mums and mummies groups can become worse than high school.  If you comment on anything regarding parenting expect that someone is going to bring you down to earth.  Last night I read a bloggers post that she does not bath her children every single night.  Many mums agreed with her and many were very quick to mention that this was disgusting and her kids must smell feral.  

Would this person (I have no idea if she was in fact a parent) have said something like this if confronted face to face?   What did this person get out of degrading another mother parenting decisions?  Two years ago, I would have been devastated if I was in this situation.  I would have been dealing with my demons about every single decision I made for my children. 

            I am a bad mum because my children didn’t sleep through the night

            I am a bad mum because my house never looks clean

            I am a bad mum because I returned to work after 6 months

   I am a bad mum because I on occasion feed my child processed foods that I grew        up eating.

These days my posts are from the heart.  They are not sugar coated and I am raw in that when I have had a bad night I will mention I have had a bad night.  I get excited when my children learn something new and cranky when they are driving me insane.  This is parenthood and this is the type of information that needs to be spread through social media.   

Anxiety will always be apart of my life

I will never be cured of anxiety.  It will always be there ready to pop its nasty head with decision I make.  I have however learnt to deal with a lot of the negative thoughts in my head.

How have you learnt to deal with your anxiety?

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