When Anxiety Sneaks Back In: What I’ve Learned From This Clumsy Dance

I know that my voice on this blog comes across as calm, zen-y and positive, but that doesn’t mean it’s never been laced with worry, anxiety, fear or sadness.  In fact, I have had some real ruts over the last few years that had me slumped on the kitchen floor, the bathroom floor, the living room floor…anything really that would hold me up – because I couldn’t quite reach that part of me that could hold me up on my own. Though I choose to find those glimmers of hope and hold on like nobody’s business, it doesn’t mean I am immune to some of the darker feelings that come with this human life package.

The a-ha moments didn’t occur simultaneously with the cry-my-heart-out moments or that gloomy morning when the words “I hate my life” spewed from my mouth.  Of course not.  There was work required on my part to switch my lenses and see what was really happening (as Farhana Dhalla says, “Nothing is being done TO you.  Everything is being done FOR you.”).  There were changes I had to make, decisions I needed to consider and a whole lot of gumption I had to muster up to break out of the boxes I felt trapped in.

Those boxes were my perceptions, things I viewed as constraints on my time, resentments I harboured, anger I fed and more.  Pretty discouraging really, when they were all stacked up against me, until one day I had the brilliant realization that I was the one who had built these boxes – and if I was strong enough to do that, then I am sure as hell strong enough to break them down.  And that realization was only the beginning of my process.

It’s been almost 6 and a half years since my firstborn came into this world – my teacher of so many things, the one I say stirred things up enough for me to start moving full-steam ahead on my purpose-path. When I look back on this time that has passed I see a myriad of experiences that have all served to make me the person I am today…not necessarily because of the actual experiences, but because of how I have chosen to work with them.  They didn’t all bring joy and of course, some of them remain like little holes that can’t be completely filled.  But they have shown me what I need to get through new challenges and that is their gift.

On October 22, 2013 I will be attending a launch event for the Anxiety BC for Mothers website.  Reading the words ‘anxiety’ and ‘mother’ in the same line on that invitation gripped me like a familiar hand with a strength I was surprised it could still possess.  You see, although I had moved forward with some of the larger experiences that held me in anxiety and depression’s grip (like the catapultion into motherhood and being stripped of my ‘childhood’ with the death of my mother), I have been rubbing shoulders with anxiety again these past few months.

At the beginning of May, I got to experience for the 4th time in my life that amazing rush that comes with a positive pregnancy test! Only, this time the rush was followed by waves of  fear and even panic.  As you may remember, my pregnancy last summer ended in a miscarriage; standing in my bathroom this past May holding the stick with two pink lines, I didn’t feel I was emotionally or mentally prepared to be where the Universe had placed me.  I didn’t want to talk about the fact that I was pregnant and I wondered when I was actually going to believe this was really going to happen.  When I was 9 weeks pregnant, I wrote a letter to the little one growing inside me and that certainly helped make it real but it was like a tiny knick in something huge.

I worried about every little thing – and the weekly text messages to my midwife are proof of that.  In fact, it wasn’t until I was 21 weeks pregnant and she suggested I speak to a prenatal counsellor about my anxiety that I wondered, “Are you serious?  Am I abnormally anxious?”

A part of me got defensive and came up with a million ‘reasons’ why every worried thought was justified.  But a stronger part of me resounded the truth within.  Half my pregnancy had gone by in a tornado of fear and what felt like months of holding my breath.  With my midwife’s suggestion, I was able to exhale and be present enough to take in what was really happening: both the beautiful pregnancy and the uninvited anxiety.

I’ve been here before and I’ve found my way out.  Though the situation is different from anything else I have worked through, I decided to take the steps I found worked for me in the past.  These tools are so consistent for me that I may as well have them tattooed on my body – they are that much a part of who I am:

  • taking inventory of the awesome things in my life
  • speaking to a spiritual counsellor
  • looking at the big picture – namely my purpose, why I’m here – and continuing my work in that direction
  • opening up to others who have been in my situation to voice my feelings and have them heard
  • writing in my journal

I don’t need to do all 5 things in one day, or even in one week. Sometimes the focus is on one area and then moves to another. They’re just there for the taking.

I believe everyone has tools available to them – they may be totally different from mine or some may overlap.  And that is why I am looking forward to the launch of this new website: I want to know what resources new and expectant mothers have access to.  I want to share them with you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this really long post!  Even sitting here at 28 weeks pregnant, I can tell you that I have some moments of ‘squirmy’ uncertainty (if you could see my belly move as I type this you’d laugh at that expression!) but more and more they are replaced by anticipation and excitement.

In this moment, which is all we have, this is what is real.

Thank you for sharing this moment with me.

 

 

 

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