Anxiety is such a huge part of my life at the moment, for a few reasons, one of which is my daughter who is experiencing extreme anxiety, mainly due to school issues but it has started to bleed into her life outside school, she’s 8, and for me it’s becoming more and more difficult to parent.
However, I don’t want to write today about my daughter’s anxiety, it’s complex and I still haven’t completely found a solution for what we should do about it, I wanted to share with you some of the anxiety I’ve been experiencing lately, inside my head, and hopefully you can all tell me it’s perfectly normal and I don’t have to seek help.
So, as parents we naturally have some anxiety, right? Having kids is like living with your heart outside of your body every day. As kids grow and become independent, they start to push themselves to the edge of their abilities and in doing so our anxiety levels increase. “What if they fall and hurt themselves? What if the other kids are mean? What if they didn’t eat enough veg today?” Those types of daily issues all sounds about normal, I think, right?
Stay with me.
I’m not talking about those types of anxiety though – I find this really hard to write because writing it down forces me somehow to acknowledge these thoughts – and lets be honest, no-one is comfortable feeling vulnerable.
I’m not an anxious person by nature, yes I’ve felt anxious/nervous in some situations throughout my life; interviews, pregnancy, exams, big games, etc, but overall I think I manage these feelings quite well, until recently. I know the thoughts and feelings I’ve been having lately are more than “normal” parenting anxieties and every day nerves. I’ve been experiencing the type of anxiety that comes to me in waves, at the strangest times throughout the day.
I’ll be sitting with my son and a thought will pop into my head wondering what I’d do if anything happened to him. I’ll kiss my kids goodnight and feel overwhelmed to the point of almost crying at the thought of living without them. I’ll be cooking and wonder what I’d do if I got sick and someone else had to take care of them. When I’m at the park or somewhere I’ll be walking and feel scared that someone will grab my son or daughter. If my husband is away I’ll sit wondering if he’s ok and waiting for the phone to ring with bad news. If I don’t speak to my family in the UK for a few days, I’ll immediately fear the worst until I speak to them.
All completely irrational, unhealthy fears.
I have no idea where these thoughts are coming from, why or how to appease them, I just hope they pass soon, as they’re crippling. I don’t know if they’re some type of PTSD after our house was broken into last year or if maybe they’re the world reminding me how lucky I am to have 2 healthy kids, a loving husband and an overall good life. Whilst I know our life isn’t perfect, I do acknowledge we are much better off than some families outside our four walls.
Has anyone else experienced this type of anxiety? What have you done to deal with it? Is it indeed normal to have some of these irrational fears as parents?