I have anxiety just writing the word anxiety. I have anxiety writing this article. Heck, I have anxiety thinking about people reading my article and reading my name associated with the word anxiety.
I am the queen of posting inspiration, positivity, smiling faces, and giving gratitude. I am genuinely a happy person. Until I’m not. And then I can get sad, I can get angry, I can start to feel like my stomach is in knots.
It wasn’t until today, that I squeezed my husband and told him how I was feeling that I realized I needed to tell the world, or at very least, I needed to tell the Charleston moms what this is.
You see, a couple of days ago, a friend asked me to go to brunch with people she knew. I was so excited about the invite. I was giddy, happy, and felt like I was making new friends and this would be a life-changing moment.
Until I got home, overthought it, wondered if people would like me, thought about the 1,867 things I needed to get done and I started to talk myself out of it. I was feeling that anxious feeling just thinking about going. Just thinking about driving to my friend’s house to then drive to the restaurant. That simple drive was enough to make me want to back out.
I told my husband how I felt, he talked me into going, gave me the pep talk and how I needed this, and I actually felt better.
However, I was in tears.
Because the real truth is that the anxiety didn’t just come when I thought about brunch dates.
It actually comes a lot.
Here is my mom confession:
I look like I have it all going on but in reality, I have this midday debilitating anxiety. The thing is, I want to say “I have anxiety like everyone else” but the truth is, I have no idea if anyone else has it.
I want to say “As you know, it feels like my stomach is in knots, like I can’t breathe sometimes, like my mind is racing, and the only thing I know to do is to lay down and wait for it to pass.” But actually, I have no idea if anyone else feels this way.
No one tells that side of the story. No one throws up a beautiful Instagram photo with a story about how anxious they were that day.
So if you have anxiety and you are sitting there on a Wednesday at 3:04 pm feeling like the weight of everything you have to do is literally sitting on your chest, you have NO IDEA if anyone else feels that same way. So you feel alone. Like, really really alone.
This is the reason for this article. I am taking one for the team and I am announcing that I have anxiety. I am letting anyone else out there know that they are not alone.
The real confession though is that I play it off like everything is fine.
I don’t tell my friends when I bail on going somewhere, I just keep that in.
I don’t tell my husband (until now) when I feel like I really want a nap and play it off like the kids exhausted me but really it is because I am so anxious and just want to lay down and be still.
I do everything in my power to hide any glimpse of anxiety from my kids. They don’t see me cry in the bathroom or take extra deep breaths when I am trying to get by.
I hide it all.
I have tried oils, wine, CBD…. you name it. But the one thing that seems to have helped the most is when I cry it out and I let my husband know when I am feeling a certain way. When I open up and say “I am not doing good.” And all he has to do is LISTEN. It is like this weight comes off me and I can breathe, my stomach isn’t in knots and I can get back to business.
So here is my reason for this article and this confession….
I can’t tell you what to do if you feel the same.
I can’t tell you what to take that will make it feel better.
I can’t tell you that I even feel better.
However, I can tell you that you are NOT alone.
I can tell you that talking to someone feels good. That you don’t need to hide how you feel and owning your feelings and letting them leave your mouth feels great.
I can tell you that if you DO NOT have anxiety, consider yourself lucky…
HOWEVER, if you ever hear a friend mention anxiousness, check on that friend. Invite that friend out. Go for a walk with that friend. If they bail, keep asking, and sometimes you just make the plan and go over. If you are that friend that got the chance to hear them say that they are anxious, that means they trust you and also may need you. So, remember that.
For the spouses that have the opportunity to see this article… (Maybe it was left on an iPad in from of the coffee pot on purpose – hint hint). If your spouse tells you they are anxious, listen, hold them, be the breathing human weighted blanket for them. You don’t have to fix anything, you just have to listen, not judge and encourage self-care and anything that makes your spouse smile.
Note this: Your spouse may never tell you again that they have anxiety. They may continue to hide it and play it cool like everything is perfect. But now you know, so now you give a little extra love and you can absolutely ask “How are you feeling today?”
To my moms with anxiety who are raising babies and trying to take care of themselves…
Take EXTRA care of yourself. Go for that walk. Take that extra-long bath. Get your nails done. Read a book outside. Invite a friend over for coffee. Go out for coffee. Do something for you.
And any of my mommas who have felt anxious and alone… maybe almost guilty for being anxious, wondering if something was wrong with you…..
You ARE. NOT. ALONE.
If anything now you know that there is at least one person (ME) out there that feels like you. But I am willing to bet there are more.
Stay strong momma, take of yourself, and keep going.
Your anxious mom virtual friend who you can ALWAYS come to if you need someone to talk to.