My Back Story
I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I have seen a therapist on and off since I was about 8 years old and my parents were getting a divorce. My anxiety comes in the form of my mind racing and all sorts of terrible scenarios that might happen. Although most of them are totally out there and would never actually happen, I would convince myself that something might. My therapists throughout the years told me that since my anxiety was not debilitating that they didn’t want me on medication. I would have to learn other ways to handle my stress and anxiety.
My first panic attack
My first panic attack came at the age of 25 when my boyfriend (now my husband) was deployed in Afghanistan for 15 months. We had only been dating for 8 months when he deployed, but I knew he was the man I was going to marry. I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, heart racing, and not able to take a deep breath. Many of these nights I don’t even remember, I would be told about them the next morning by my mother or sister, whom I was living with at the time.
The ones I could remember were just scary. It felt like I was having a heart attack and I couldn’t breath. I would curl up on the floor in a ball and not want to be touch. Again, I went to a doctor and a therapist and both told me that I should try and deal with them without medication.
Once having kids, my issues got worse.
After having R. I dealt with a minimal amount of anxiety, but my stress got worse. I stopped working to stay home with her and quickly fell into the mommy blues. I was stressed about every little decision I had to make and it effected my relationship with my husband. I also stressed about the never ending cleaning, cooking, our fiances, and the house. I would pick fights with my husband because I didn’t think he was taking all these things as seriously as I was.
After having Q. my anxiety level skyrocketed. I suffered from a small stint of post partum depression, but mine formed itself more as anxiey. It was not severe enough that I wasn’t enjoying being a mom of 2, or I felt I needed medication, but those dreaded panic attacks were back. Triggered by a fight with my sister, I started not wanting to leave the house. I pulled away from my friends. I questioned every small decision again and would think worst case senarios. What if R. had another melt down in Target? What if Q. won’t stop crying? Can I handle both kids if they both need something at the same time?
I questioned myself and began to doubt my abilities as a mom. After talking with my midwife, she gave me a few really good tips and tricks.
How I handle my anxiety
- Exercise: This has been the #1 thing for me. I have always been active but never really consistent with it. I had to find the right program for me. Luckly that was right around the time Core De Force came out through BeachBody. I have always loved martial arts and kickboxing, so this seemed like a good fit. There is nothing like literally punching and kicking your anxiety away.
- Eating Right- Food has always been an issue with me. When I was anxious or stressed I would turn to food for comfort, and then feel more anxious that I wasn’t eating right. See the vicious cycle!?! I found that when I am well prepared and thoughful about how I fuel my body, not only do I feel better but I am less anxious.
- Have some Quiet Time- There are still many days where I feel overwhelmed and anxious when the girls are around. That is when I break out the leggos or playdoh and have some quiet play time. I also find that creating something with my girls helps me calm down and refocus on whats important.
- Have a Mommy Time Out- I know this seems silly, but when quiet time doesn’t work, I give myself a time out. I allow R. to have a little screen time and take a moment to myself.
- Try Camomile Tea– Camomile is known to have a calming effect on the system. It may just be a placebo effect but it seems to work for me.
- Call a Friend or Family Member- When my panic attacks got worse after Q. was born there were a few times I would have to call my husband and either just talk or ask him to come home. My friends were also very receptive and offered all the support they could.
- Make a List of Weekly Chores- I have a list of chores that need to be done each week; laundry, vaccum, mop, dusting, clean out the litterbox, etc. I have assigned each item a different day, and only have 1-2 items per day. That way each item gets done and I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I can check that item off my to do list for the week.
These two are my reason for everything. They are why I keep going and my reason for making sure I get my anxiety under control. These are things that have worked for me. What have you done that helps ease your anxiety levels?