Anxiety is scary. Living it is so scary. And talking about it is so unbearably scary that I’ve been putting this post off for a long time. I don’t know who will relate to what I have to say, I don’t know if laying it out on the table will make me seem relatable or make me sound crazy… But at this point I really don’t really care, I can’t keep it to myself any longer.
Before I even begin to tell you about the 30 day challenge I gave myself to rid my anxious mind of all it’s noise, I first need to open up about what led me to do it.
Now almost a year after becoming a mom, I’m finally walking out of a haze of worry and confusion that I should have dealt with a long long time ago. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it feels like a big warm hug that I’ve been in need of for longer than I care to admit. Looking back, I’ve been drenched with anxious tendencies since I was just a little girl and I’ve been blind to it up until now. Maybe if I hadn’t waited 27 years to start becoming self aware, Postpartum Anxiety wouldn’t have hit me like a ton of bricks the way it had. Maybe if my Doctor or my doula had just mentioned to me even once that these things happen and that it would be normal… Maybe if there wasn’t such a lack of awareness surrounding PPA… I would have felt more comfortable asking for help. I look back on my first year of motherhood and I can’t help but feel such an insane mix of emotions. I robbed myself of fully experiencing my journey into motherhood and I can’t go back and fix that beginning. I can’t get that time back. It’s never going to happen again for me. Although I ate up and adored every coo, every smile, every hiccup, every cuddle, every breastfeeding and bonding moment, it pains me to admit how consumed I was with fear and worry almost every single second.
Fear about motherhood. Fear about if I was possibly doing this right. If I could even pull off this new immense title. If I could raise another human being and not have them turn out as fucked up as I think I am most of the time. Fear about my marriage. If our relationship could withstand all of the dynamics that parenthood brings. Fear about if I even deserved this life that seemed too good to be true for someone like me. Fear about fitting into this messed up anti-children city.
Fear about worry.
Worry about fear.
Fear about nothing at all and everything all at once.
Living in a constant state of uncomfortable and disconnect. The confusion that surrounds it while I knew I was supposed to be consumed by baby bliss, rather than with fear & dread, it ate me up. It further perpetuated the notion that I’m not good enough and that there’s something wrong with me. I listened to endless podcasts & audio books about ridding anxiety on the way to work, I bought physical books on anxiety, I bought ebooks on anxiety, I searched the internet for answers, and eventually I confided in a good friend who directed me to Alanon meetings which I attended for close to 2 months.
I tried everything except what I should have done: Ask for help. I didn’t know who to ask or where I would even begin. I let my pride, my ego and my fear (the three stooges) make all of my decisions for me. I didn’t know how to put into words what I was feeling, I could barely even explain it to my husband, who’s my best friend. Looking back, I should have taken his initial advice and simply spoken to my doctor, considered medication. I shouldn’t have downplayed my feelings. My major concern when I was pregnant was developing Postpartum Depression after the baby and since I didn’t feel I fit that description, I wasn’t sure anyone could take what I was feeling seriously. But it is serious. It’s serious because it hurts so fucking much. It’s serious because it effects you and it effects your family and it effects your entire life. And you don’t have to suffer. You don’t. have. to. I’m writing this now to tell you. Put your damn pride aside and ask for help. There is zero shame in it. ZERO.
You deserve to enjoy your life. You’re allowed to be happy without consequences.
I wish I could go back and say those words to myself.
But instead I’m saying them to you now.
Hindsight is 20/20. It’s easier for me now coming out of all this and looking back to know: That I CAN be a strong mother AND ask for help. That growing a human, giving birth and the shifting of hormones that comes along with that is ENOUGH of an explanation to ask for help. That becoming a mother brings up past shit that I didn’t want to deal with is enough of an explanation to ask for help. And even that no explanation is enough of an explanation to ask for help.
I now know that the transition from selfishness to selflessness doesn’t mean forgetting about myself or my self care. Finally getting on the road toward learning that I am so enough regardless of what I feel I’m lacking, today it’s enough. Heading towards figuring out that I can be a badass AND be proactive about coping with anxiety. It’s enough. I’m enough. You’re enough too, you know. You’re all enough.
And right now in this current moment, pressing publish and feeling completely naked… Knowing that this post may not be received well… I’m telling myself it’s enough.
I’ve spent way too long hating myself and I feel PPA and anxiety in general just isn’t a secret to be kept. I refuse to hate this part of myself any longer.
Love to you mamas & future mamas and non mamas. So much love to you for reading this.
Pt.2 30 DAY ANXIETY CHALLENGE post up TOMORROW