Anxiety - more common than you'd think

I bumped into a lovely woman who I have seen around town for the past 5 years. Id see her out and about pushing her pram as I pushed mine, bouncing her daughter at play group to the group song as I bounced my two. She was always friendly, always warm and always seemed happy to see me and strike up a chat, despite us not really knowing each other.

We were in Coles the other day, and started talking. I asked her how she was and she explained that she was now separated from her husband. I said how sorry I was and asked her how she was coping and she said "so much better". I didn't need to inquire much. She began to elaborate, and I also added bits of my story into the mix, and we struck a chord. We talked about anxiety and how it had gripped us both. I told her that I was an extremely anxious new Mum ... both babies had obstructive sleep apnea, one had severe croup, the nights were long and lonely, insomnia overcame me and how I lost myself amongst it all. She seemed surprised, she said she saw me as such a "together" Mum, seemingly coping so well, very hands on, and all the time with a huge smile on my face .... a symbol of strength and happiness. I told her it wasn't the case.

She told me that she and her husband married after a whirlwind, short courtship, and she was pregnant straight away. She now admits that she didn't really know the man she married, all she knew was the version of the man that she married.... romantic, charismatic, attentive etc.... After a few short years, this all changed and he was a man that would call her names, roll his eyes at her behind her back and in front of other people, critical and chauvinistic. She became anxious. She said that she would take her daughter outside for a walk to the beach (3 minutes away), would get onto the sand and her throat would close up, blocking her airway and she would have to grab her daughter and drag her home, without ever having had the play time on the sand. She would struggle home, barely able to breathe, and once inside, her airway would open again. This happened repeatedly. Different scenarios, same symptom. She didn't fill in the gap between this stage of her life and now being a single parent, but it is obvious why she is where she is.

I explained how I was gripped by Anxiety  for several years. Many years in fact. It drove my every decision, my every action and my every thought. It was totally and utterly controlling and at times, debilitating. It was exacerbated through Motherhood with the associated stresses and worry, the compounding sleep deprivation and the personal isolation I felt in my relationship. When it grips, there is not a single worse feeling in the world. It led me into some ridiculous situations, and paralysed me from making decisions to help myself. I can only recommend that anyone who is affected by this condition, to go and seek medical help.

I can relate to her experience. Have you ever experienced anxiety? In what form did it present in you?


Popular Posts