I used to define myself as a fun-loving, spirited gal – who happened to have an anxiety and panic disorder. Unfortunately, there were the lows that saw me as more anxiety and less fun-loving and spirited, the times when I’d start to define myself as the anxiety disorder, rather than a cool chic who happened to have overactive anxious tendencies, because that’s all I felt I was.
Then Asher happened. 56 hours of labour, a failed epidural, and a spinal block c-section later, I met the new love of my life – my baby boy. I used to tell my mom I got it, why she was so obsessed, over protective, overbearing, loving, amazing, emotional – but it turns out I really didn’t know anything until it happened to me. Suddenly my entire world shifted, my fears pivoted, gravity no longer held me down and centred, this little screaming bundle of flesh, bones, and poop did.
I found I was no longer worried about what would happen to me, my worry was now how I was going to be the best mom, a functioning human being, for this little thing I had – along with a team of lovely doctors – brought into the world. My fears now shifted from leaving the house and feeling sick far from home, to making sure my 3 month old was properly stimulated in extracurricular activities (because, hello, every emotional and hormonal new mother thinks it’s imperative for their 3 month old to receive proper social interaction – FYI: it’s not, this is more for your own sanity, but mommy brain is not just about forgetting to put on shoes before leaving the house, it’s about being insanely emotional and sometimes down right nonsensical when it comes to your child).
I wasn’t worried about vomiting anymore (one of my triggers and fears), I was now more concerned that I wouldn’t be able to give my baby top-notch care and attention in the event that I got sick. It was a tremendous shift for me – one that had me doing really well, had me fairly stable in terms of my anxiety and coping. I had the odd bad day in terms of anxiety… I had MANY bad parenting days, both emotional and teary, but the anxiety disorder seemed to be in check for the most part. For the first two years of my child’s life, I was GOOD. Then the terrible 2’s happened. BOOM. Welcome back overactive imagination, ‘what if’s’, hyperventilation, and my personal favourite – the closing airway *cough cough, choke choke*
So here we are – just a manic mama with a full-time job, a beautiful baby boy, and a wonderful husband, trying to make all the insanity swirling inside her function right along side with the reality of being a mommy. It hasn’t been easy – god knows it wont get any easier – but I’m determined to work on seeing the silver linings, enjoying all the cuddles I can get along the way, and finding time to remember what being the fun-loving and spirited gal is like.
I’m not just a parent with an Anxiety Disorder, I’m a really damn good Mom. Or so I keep telling myself daily. Join me as I try to figure out what works on this wild ride of coping and parenting, and watch me just generally take a very figurative piss on the insanity and beauty that is this wild journey of being an anxiety riddled Mama.