If I haven’t opened up to you about my anxiety, chances are you aren’t the least bit aware that this plagues me, but it does. I have high-functioning anxiety. If you don’t know what that means, I’m about to fill you in on what it means to be an anxious mom.
But first, you should know this- I have been like this my entire life. There isn’t a person that has known me since childhood that wouldn’t agree. You should also know this- I didn’t even realize it was a mental disorder because I am not depressed (though this is not the case for everyone who suffers from anxiety), and I don’t suffer from debilitating anxiety attacks.
In all honesty, I really just figured I worried- a lot. Lastly, you should know this- I have been on medication for about a year, and it has helped, but I would still classify my anxiety level at high in relation to “most people”.
I only mention the medication because when I finally realized there was medication for “people like me” who aren’t depressed or having full blown panic attacks, the weight that I felt lifting off of my shoulders was incredible.
I remember crying, and thinking, “You mean I don’t have to feel like this, all the time.” If there are others out there reading this, who are unaware there are meds that could possibly help, now you know. I am pretty bold, and I wouldn’t really consider myself shy, but this is really something I don’t share with many people.
Oddly enough, many people with anxiety appear to be highly confident when in reality they are always worried they’re not doing enough, or that people are judging them. That last statement pretty much hits the nail right on the head for me.
I read an article the other day about an anxious mother. She talked about what her anxiety meant to her. I was sad to read her story, to know what she must be feeling. What I noticed though was that her story showcased obvious anxiety (I hope to most), and was coupled with OCD.
Stories like hers were the reasons I figured my anxiety was just something I had to live with and control. I figured being able to hide and “control” my anxiety to some degree meant I didn’t have any issues.
When in fact, it meant I was working extra hard to seem “normal” because although I was not even a little bit shy or confused about the fact that my anxiety was beyond what most experienced, I didn’t think it was anything more than just a personality trait. I was wrong.
What it means to be an anxious
What it means to be an anxious mom will be different for everyone. This is what it means to be an anxious mom from my perspective. These are the feelings and emotions I deal with regularly. Many of them are far less less now that I have medication, but they all still exist to some degree.
Being an anxious mom means I can literally find something to obsess over and worry about at any given time. While something might make others worry for a little bit, I could latch onto something for weeks or months if I don’t find resolution. You know how kids can obsess over a lump in their socks? That’s me, except not with socks. And, then I will feel anxious, and worry because I can’t “let go, and give it to God” when I want to so badly.
Being an anxious mom means I don’t sleep. I mean, I literally do not sleep. I go over every little thing I need to worry about over, and over again. It’s exhausting. When I finally do fall asleep, I will often dream about things I am anxious about. This is one thing that has really lessened with medication. The thing is though, I am a real person with real things to be anxious about. Things that would make a “normal person” anxious make me extremely anxious.
Being an anxious mom means there are times I am so overwhelmed, I just put everything off. The bonus to being high functioning is I will eventually get it done, but there’s a reason people call me the Queen of procrastination.
Being an anxious mom means while I am having an ordinary conversation with you, I may very well be repeating over and over in my head that particular day’s issues. (If you’re reading this, and you know me personally, please don’t look at me differently when we are involved in a conversation. This is what I have been like my entire life. I promise my smile, and attitude towards you are totally genuine.)
Being an anxious mom means my poor children have to deal with interrupting my worried thoughts, and upsetting me. They don’t realize I am busy trying to fix a problem in my head, but I am.
Being an anxious mom means it takes a little extra effort on my part to deal with changes to plans made (although sometimes those changes are welcomed).
Being an anxious mom means even if I know it’s not a logical reason to worry or obsess, I just simply cannot stop myself.
Being an anxious mom means I have to work to give myself grace because if I don’t I will really beat myself up when I mess up.
Being an anxious mom (for me) also means that I will work my butt off to control and resolve the things that are in my control to minimize my anxieties. I don’t take “no” for an answer. I guess that’s the one plus to being obsessive about things.
Being an anxious mom doesn’t mean I’m not ever happy, or I’m not a good friend. To all of my friends who read this.. please don’t give up on me. At this point, we all know I don’t need something else to be anxious about. 😉 I’m kidding.. being an anxious mom doesn’t mean I don’t know how to crack a joke!
On a more serious note, if you’re out there struggling with anxiety, and feeling like you’re alone, know this- you’re not alone! There are others out there who are just like you. Some of the strongest people you will ever meet are riddled with anxiety. Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was said to have issues with anxiety? If you’re still feeling alone, or looking for someone to talk to, shoot me a message! I’m happy to listen, even if you just need to vent.
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