If you struggle with anxiety, having children doesn't make those struggles go away. In fact, as this mum found, at times kids can really exacerbate things.
Anyone who suffers from anxiety knows just how frightening and isolating it can be. And it seems many suffer in silence with little understanding from society.
However, a recent post on Motherhood Understood’s Instagram account outlined, in heartbreaking detail, a mother’s traumatic experience with anxiety, helping to raise awareness around a serious and very common issue.
A mother’s story
Today there is an assumption that a mother can cope, and a mother always knows what to do. But the truth of the matter is that some mothers have days when they simply can’t cope. One such mother shared her personal story on Instagram and received 400 responses and over 4,300 likes – so clearly, it’s a subject to which many others could relate.
The mother explains how she woke up feeling tired. She felt nauseous, her heart was beating a little faster, but it wasn’t anything she couldn’t handle. However, with two young toddlers, demanding fruit, water, a movie, all the usual requests, she started to feel overwhelmed.
“I kept telling myself that I’m just having an off day and could get thru this, that it was just a moment,” she wrote. “The whining, the demands and the needs were being fired off at a rapid pace and I began to drown. ‘No! You’ve got this, just breathe,’ I kept telling myself.”
She poured herself a cup of water and went to sit on the couch, but the dog jumped up, her kids began crawling on her and she found she couldn’t breathe and desperately needed to “break free”.
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It was just a cup of water. A cup of water. I woke up feeling a little off, and a little extra tired, but tired is just a part of my everyday routine now, as is any parent. I felt the nausea. I felt my heart beating just a little faster than normal but nothing I couldn’t handle. My boys went right into toddler mode asking for water, fruit, a movie and everything in between and of course mommy was the only person they wanted to do it all. My heart rate picked up, I was overwhelmed, but I kept telling myself that I’m just having an off day and could get thru this, that it was just a moment. The whining, the demands and the needs were being fired off at a rapid pace and I began to drown. “No! You’ve got this, just breathe,” I kept telling myself. I poured myself a cup of water and went to sit on the couch. Just then the dog jumped up and my boys began crawling up on me unknowingly taking my anxiety up with them. “I can’t breathe. Why can’t I breathe? I need to break free. Let me go!,” I internally screamed. I ran into our front room and began breathing. In to a count of four, pause for a beat, out to a count of eight. Repeat. It wasn’t working. My brain began swirling. I didn’t want to sit, nor did I want to stand. I suddenly found myself on my foyer floor, the tears flooding my cheeks. I cried, hard. I was sweating. My kids staring. I cried out, “It was only a cup of water! I just wanted some water! I’m one person!” My husband tried to take the boys in another room but they wouldn’t leave me. They came over to me, rubbed my back and told me it was ok. They held my hand and kissed my wet cheek, sat with me and were the stillness I needed. Please know that I don’t want sympathy, I want awareness that anxiety is real. I want us to be seen. I want the pictures of our darkness to shed peace and light on those struggling. I want the realities of living with this monster to be tattooed in the minds of many and result in an end to stigma. I want lives to be saved because our rawness fills the loneliness and isolation. I want our truth to be heard. To anyone who has found themselves on their floor too I hear you, I see you and you are loved. @michelelovetri
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“It was just a cup of water!”
She ran from the room and tried to focus on her breathing, but it wasn’t helping. “My brain began swirling. I didn’t want to sit, nor did I want to stand,” she wrote. “I suddenly found myself on my foyer floor, the tears flooding my cheeks. I cried, hard. I was sweating. My kids staring. I cried out, “It was only a cup of water! I just wanted some water! I’m one person!”
Her husband tried to take the boys to another room, but they wanted to stay and support their mum, holding her hands, giving her kisses, and just sitting with her.
At the end of the day, this mum is not looking for sympathy, she simply wants people to be aware. “I want awareness that anxiety is real,” she wrote. “I want us to be seen. I want the pictures of our darkness to shed peace and light on those struggling. I want the realities of living with this monster to be tattooed in the minds of many and result in an end to stigma. I want lives to be saved because our rawness fills the loneliness and isolation. I want our truth to be heard.”
You’re not alone
The post has been inundated with responses and comments continue to flood in, many offering thanks for the post, for speaking openly about something that so many mothers experience every day, but rarely talk about.
“Some people today still believe that anxiety is all in our heads and we can snap it out in a heartbeat,” wrote one Instagram user. “It doesn’t work that way. It can come at any moment. Thank you for showing awareness. I struggle with it every day and when people show that it’s common, I feel better about talking about it. I hope the rest of day, week, and life is better.”
Another parent wrote, “I resonated with this quite a bit this week. so seeing this and showing your vulnerability and realness makes me feel less alone. We can’t be expected to always be on or supermom, so thank you. I’m with you and I understand what you’re going through.”
Sharing stories can certainly help and the writer of this post very much wants others to know that they’re not alone, with her final comment saying it all: “To anyone who has found themselves on their floor too I hear you, I see you and you are loved.”
This article originally appeared on Babyology.
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