I am a member of what feels like a million Facebook groups and follow lots of blogs. I love reading and interacting with like minded people. Yet, despite the massive amount of reading that I do, it’s been a while since something really resonated and wasn’t about the joys of red lipstick or waiting impatiently for the post man to arrive with goodies.
When I read this article that was shared to a Facebook group that I’m a member of, a little light bulb went off in my head. Because I suffer with anxiety and most people don’t know this. I hide it well. I don’t think strangers could tell by looking at me that anxiety is a huge issue for me, because I’m high-functioning.
I wouldn’t say I’ve conquered it, because, well, I haven’t. I don’t think I ever will. Anxiety will always be a huge part of my life. But I have found ways to manage it, I am also adept at disguising it for times when I can’t manage it. I am quite literally an Oscar-worthy actress at times and ‘fine’ is my favourite word.
The article that I read, talks about how a woman with anxiety really has a lot of strength, because despite feeling like she is inadequate, she keeps going. I completely identify with that. Sometimes my worries overwhelm me, make my stomach churn and my head hurt but I keep going. I get up after tossing and turning all night and do it all again day after day.
I’ve suffered with anxiety for almost as long as I can remember to be honest. My dad has always said about me that if I didn’t have something to worry about that I’d be worried. Although anxiety is more complex than that, he has a point. I am the person continually looking for something that to go wrong. It’s exhausting.
I won’t lie, there are lots of times when anxiety doesn’t bother me at all. Some days, I can almost forget about it and go about my daily life without interruptions. But then it creeps in slowly and I have to fight it.
Some people I know who have anxiety, hide when they are feeling at their most anxious. They lock themselves away indoors and switch off from the world including their children. I simply can’t do that. I won’t do that. I have two little people who depend on me for absolutely everything and I refuse to let them down. Anxiety already plagues me, I can’t let it ruin the lives of my children.
So although sometimes, getting out of bed at 5am seems like the hardest thing in the world to do, I do it. And I do so with a smile. I dance around the kitchen with my daughters because I want them to have the memories of a happy, strong mama in their minds. I have to curb my anxiety for their sake.
That’s not to say that I am impervious to my feelings of self-doubt or that familiar sensation in my gut and quickening pulse because I’m not. It often strikes when I’m on my own. The 3 mile drive between the school run and work, the hours between the kids’ bedtime and my own, the 5 minute shower I grab between breakfast for me and breakfast for them. I can’t lie, when anxiety hits me, it can often floor me. I feel helpless.
But what I never let it do is defeat me. I acknowledge it. I embrace it as part of my character along with all my other quirks (I’m writing this in my pjs but a full face of make up – it’s just what I do.) Anxiety is a part of my life and yes it does give me my strength because when some people are just deciding what to wear that day, I have sometimes had an internal battle with my worries just to get to that point. But the important thing is, I carry on battling.
Do you suffer with anxiety? How does it make you feel?