I don’t really know how to keep this subject light hearted (because that’s my style, or at least I’m trying to be) as it’s really not, but I’m feeling especially anxious at the moment so I thought writing my next post might help get some of it out. Anxiety is such a ballache. The looming feeling that something bad is going to happen constantly is so exhausting. I hate my anxiety but because it’s my from my own brain I suppose that means I hate myself. Pretty depressing huh? I recently started part time work in a pub on top of my existing part time work as a nurse. I thought a bit of bar work would be quite light hearted fun because I used to do it, some years ago now, and at that time I lived in London, so working in a pub up here, thought silly old me, would be a doddle! Except it’s not a doddle when you’re knackered from a child and another job and it’s definitely not a doddle when you’re confidence has hit rock bottom. In the echoes of my previous post I keep wondering where the old me (who was no shrinking violet with drunken idiot customers for instance) has gone. It’s a doddle me has definitely left the building, and possibly the planet at the moment.
1. Space invader
Anxiety literally invades every corner of your life. Every thought process, every waking moment. It’s always there. Even about things that haven’t even happened, and probably won’t happen. It’s definitely the metaphorical devil on your shoulder, although more pessimistic than evil I’d say. Like Droopy Draws in a devil costume. The all pervasiveness is relentless and exhausting and it literally never shuts up. You have to train yourself to not listen, but sometimes it’s not that easy.
Linking into the Droopy Draws devil shoulder nicely is the fact that anxiety lies to you. It tells you all sorts of shit that you are more than likely going to believe in a now weakened state of exhaustion from being a) hyper vigilant and b) sleep deprived from being hyper vigilant. It also lies to others by the way of resting bitch face. I probably don’t look the most approachable person when I’m stomping around pushing a pram around but I’m actually feeling really vulnerable. I look like I’d snap your head off but in reality I’m about 3 seconds from crying my eyes out and I just need a hug.
4. Approach with caution(?)
Ever heard the phrase “it’s always the quiet ones”? Well that phrase really bugs me because I am naturally quite a quiet person. Not however because I am psycho, but because I have hideous social anxiety and by keeping quiet I believe I am stopping myself look silly. I have always felt like this ever since I had to get the school bus by myself at the age of 4. I was convinced for some reason that my nose was bleeding (it was probably just snotty) on this bus, so I looked at the floor all the time and wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone. That’s one of my earliest memories and I feel quite sad about that. In reality I am dying to dive in and meet people and have a proper adult conversations, and do things like even just meet for coffee, but even that is fraught with anxiety- what coffee to choose? Where do I pay? How many syns (for if I’m being slimming world friendly, which is definitely not at the moment). If I have the child are there high chairs? Where can I put the buggy? What if he throws a hissy fit? It’s easiest to stay at home and do nothing. It’s easy enough for me to stay home anyway because I have very few friends who could meet me for coffee or whatever anyway but it’s not really that I’m terribly anti social (ok I am a bit), but it’s all to do with the fact I’m crippled with anxiety about every stage of setting out of the house and reaching a destination.
4. Crummy Mummy
I would say my anxiety has been increased infinitely by childbirth/ parenthood. The birth of my son being a traumatic experience is something I’ll never forget but for all the wrong reasons. It’s something I’m trying to let go of still, and with time it’s getting easier, but with time come the new challenges of a growing child who is now well into the trials and tribulations of toddlerdom and its definitely all encompassing and very in the moment. For me I’d say it’s the thought that I’m not a good enough mum that has given me a high level of anxiety, because it becomes ingrained into absolutely everything. Is he ill? Teething? Too hot? Too cold? Why won’t he eat what he seemed to love yesterday? My lack of success at breastfeeding always haunts me. The list is actually exhaustingly endless. I am still learning the you do whatever works for you at the time approach, and I guess I always will be as things change all the time. One day I hope to have this conquered because this part of anxiety is totally rubbish.
5. Vote of no confidence
Being a mum has never made me feel less confident which is strange because when I was pregnant I imagined exactly the opposite. There the shiny hormones of pregnancy I suppose. The shit show newborn hormones have yet to kick in, but when they do it’s a punch in the flabby gut that carried a tiny human in, that’s for sure. You will question every decision that comes with doing what is right by that tiny human and that, for me at least, is a great source of anxiety. I suppose this is an extension of the last point, or maybe should have come before the last point even, but anxiety will hammer your confidence right out of you because you simply feel overwhelmed and like you don’t know what your doing. Your baby will probably flip you the proverbial bird as well with everything you try (or maybe they might just flip you the bird) and this doesn’t help. I’m thinking perhaps more of the earlier baby stages, but as they get older it just gets worse. Believe me toddlers definitely don’t give a shit. Babies don’t give a shit, but toddlers are more blatant in their non shit giving. You’ve got to have pretty thick skin to be a mum. Almost as thick as toddler skin.
6. Mrs Nasty
Anxiety turns me into a horrible person. I snap, I yell, and I cry because the guilt at yelling at the people I love the most (my son, my mum, my partner) eats me up inside. It’s because of not being able to deal with the fight or flight situation very well, which in my case is triggered by anything that worries me that I can’t control the outcome of. Which is literally everything my nearly 2 year old son does. The really pants thing is if I try and ignore this feeling of being wound up, then it comes out as a huge outpouring of crap later on in the day. A volcanic eruption of mount mummy loses her shit. I feel like the worst person in the world, which doesn’t help my self confidence any, and here I believe we have come full circle. A self fulfilling prophecy as it were. On another side note I have to limit my use of expletives before it’s too late and the sprog can repeat them. I do love a good expletive though, I don’t want to give them up completely, because having children is so fucking frustrating!
7. Mum is the loneliest number that you’ll ever be (due to anxiety)
Ok so not as catchy as the original version but it hey it rhymes! I’ll make a literary genius out of myself yet (yeah right!!). In the early days and even now I find myself struggling with loneliness, especially on mat leave and with a partner who works long hours and only a sometimes cooing, sometimes crying infant for company. Mind you if a tiny baby had started asking me what was for tea I probably would have shat once and for all but I think you get what I mean about the lack of conversation. These days my child is becoming more interactive which is nice, but mostly occurs in a destructive, testing boundaries kind of interactivity so not only is it utterly exhausting trying to stop a tiny person from wreaking havoc literally everywhere they go, it is also a massive source of anxiety, to me anyway, so that means I stay indoors a lot. Playgroups for example are the worst source of this anxiety for me as they are full of other people’s tiny overlords of destruction also trying to raise whatever community hall is hosting the event to the ground. Don’t even get me started on soft play, I haven’t got the energy. Fiery ball pit hell that’s what that is. Being lonely is balls though to go back to the original point. What’s totally shit is the catch 22 of the whole anxiety keeping you away from the very places that you are likely to meet like minded parents. My self deprecating, disparaging of soft play parents are out there somewhere! I just haven’t quite got the balls to go out there and find them yet.
Why do I keep yapping on about balls? Surely that’s what got me in this mess in the first place? Also I’m sure none of these things I’m whining on about are insurmountable, it’s just the weird shit my anxiety makes me think, say and do. It feels better to just to write/say it sometimes. I should try it more often. Just give me and my resting bitch face a chance! We could go for coffee in soft play hell!