Living with anxiety, depression and OCD is a whirlwind at the best of times, add in a toddler and its a tornado. It’s an uncontrollable feeling, one that’s almost impossible to describe. Every day is a struggle and each day brings new challenges for me, mentally and physically.
Anxiety is “fear or nervousness about what might happen.” However, I’ve found that many of my own anxiety attacks don’t have a trigger and the overwhelming feeling of panic can happen at any moment. The feeling of the world closing in around you, your chest becoming so unimaginably tight that it makes your mouth dry, your breath short and your heartbeat rapid. The attacks that leave you lightheaded, clammy handed and with blurry vision. Horrible.
My anxiety can be triggered by many different things, but most commonly, the need to control and maintain the safety of myself, my family and most importantly my son. I find leaving the house one of the hardest things to do, so much so, that I tend to just avoid it, full stop. In the Our story post, I mentioned my struggle with PND and separation anxiety, that was the start of my mental health battle.
Unfortunately for me, my anxiety and OCD go hand in hand, its like a vicious round-about of emotions. I am constantly trying to prepare myself for every single possible situation that may happen, but I never feel prepared. I repetitively check doors, windows, clean surfaces, check for keys, watch the baby monitor to be 110% sure that Oakley is still breathing, check dates on food and these are only a few! My hands are cracked and often bleed from being washed over and over again, and when Kyle is on nights I rarely sleep for panicking over locked doors. Not being able to control these obsessive ‘habits’ make me incredibly anxious (remember the roundabout?)
I over analyse every single situation because i’m scared what will happen if i’m not prepared for it, but add OCD to anxiety and you’re never prepared. One of the most frustrating challenges with having an anxiety disorder is knowing that you’re over reacting, over analysing and freaking out, even though you know there is no reason to, but lacking the ability to shut the emotions down and control your feelings.
When I know that there is nothing to be anxious about, and I try to convince myself that everything is okay, that’s where my anxiety kicks in, and suddenly the small thing is giant, it keeps growing and growing in my head, completely overwhelming me, flooding my chest, my body and tries to escape from under my skin. Even when I know deep down that i’m being ridiculous, and anybody else wouldn’t react this way!
Sometimes I find myself getting nervous and anxious about everything, and I don’t even know why I’m anxious, I just am. Living with anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired at the same time. Having the fear of failure but no urge to be productive, caring about everything and in a split second caring about nothing, wanting friends but being scared to socialise, wanting to be alone but not wanting to be lonely, feeling everything at once but feeling paralysingly numb.
One of the hardest affects of my anxiety, and more specifically, my separation anxiety is the unintentional pressure I feel from family members, friends, other mums, to leave Oakley. I have never left Oakley. To me, it is a truly terrifying just thinking about leaving my baby in the care of someone else!
If you personally deal with any mental health problem you may be nodding your head to all of this post, but if you don’t, you may just be scratching it. It is exceedingly difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t dealt with it. Mental health problems affect a lot of us “1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year” and ” around 450 million people currently suffer with such conditions.” Nobody should feel ashamed.
I hope that this post will help someone. If you are reading this and you suffer with a mental health disorder, please know that you are not alone! I hope that one day we will all feel it to be normal to speak up about mental health and to rid the shame and embarrassment from our minds, and the stigma from our society. I am not ashamed. And you don’t have to be ashamed.
If you are reading this and know someone who is battling with a mental health disorder, please be patient. Be that shoulder that your loved one needs, be the friend that they can talk to. Listen. Try to understand how they feel. Ask them how they are, but don’t be offended if they don’t speak up at first. Persevere. Be there to help pick them up when they’re down and reassure them; It is going to be okay.
Please give The Mind website a read if you are currently battling a mental health disorder!
Adventures with us, shared with you.