By MeOhMy Founder Siobhan (@meohmymum)
Aoife (our second) just hit nine months. Geez. Where the hell does time go?!
The last nine months have certainly been a roller coaster, that's for sure.
They've definitely been some of the hardest and best of my life...with Aoife having reflux from 1-5 months, getting used to two bubs under 17 months, Aoife starting to crawl at 5.5 months (so soon!) which meant two to chase around non-stop, Harry getting so many ear infections and then needing his operation, my writing work increasing, and of course my post natal anxiety...
I haven't spoken about my old mate anxiety for a while. Mainly because I've been flat out just getting on with 'things'. We mums really don't get the time to feel sorry for ourselves, do we? We have to just suck it up and keep going. No sick days for us, that's for sure!
It's been five months since my diagnosis with what what originally thought to be Post Natal Depression and Anxiety (but I now consider to be post natal anxiety alone). So I thought I'd share some observations I've made about myself and my anxiety over the last little bit.
Don't think it's a weakness
If you feel like you're covered in a big dark cloud, and find everyday life a struggle, don't think you're the only one. If you're constantly feeling on edge, stressed, panicked and more....it's more common than you know. It's NOT a weakness to admit you're struggling. Find someone who will listen. And actually talk about it. Don't avoid it, like I did! Get support online if you need to. I'm here :)
See a professional
The hardest thing I had to do through all of this is actually bring myself to see someone. It wasn't until I hit a gigantic wall, and had a serious meltdown where I was thinking unmentionable things, that I actually got help. My husband dragged me, pretty much kicking and screaming, to the hospital and the my doctor.
Don't knock the drugs
I was so scared of taking the first tablet. I put it off for some time, thinking I could just continue to 'push through' and avoid what was happening. There's also such a stigma attached to them that really put me off. But the thing is, it can be a chemical imbalance. It's not all in your head (well, it is, but you know what I mean!). They help. They take the edge off. They make life enjoyable and simply amazing again, while you're getting through whatever you need to.
I've found a few things that help - such as taking time for myself, where possible. Even just 10 minutes a day of stretching, or deep breathing. I know, I didn't think I had the 10 minutes to spare either. But MAKE TIME. Make yourself a priority. We get so caught up in putting our kids first that we neglect our own health.
And exercise - a quick 20 minutes is all you need. Squats and pushups on the living room floor (home workouts are the bomb for time-poor mums, just Google that shit). Swim. Walk. Just MOVE. The endorphins will help SO much.
What doesn't help
Alcohol - I fell into a pattern of drinking wine to relax. Yes, one or two a night is fine, we all need that. But when it becomes a habit, and a bit more than that...when you wake up most mornings feeling like someone is standing on your chest, so anxious about everything you have to face...For me, that was because the alcohol was only making my anxiety worse. Sugar does the same to me, for some reason. Goodbye copious amounts of Kit Kat!
Coffee - if I have too much, or it's too strong, my anxiety levels rise and rise...the heart is beating way too fast, and I'm more stressed than usual. I'm not giving up altogether (are you kidding me, coffee is LIFE haha), just sticking with one a day.
Having too much on - I'm always worse when I have too much work on, and loads on my 'to-do' list. Less is more, and wayyyyy better.
What to know, and repeat to yourself when times get hard...
You're stronger than you know. You're doing your best. You're only human. And you can't be superwoman.
Take it one day, one hour, one deep breath at a time. You might feel like you want to curl up in a ball and hide from the world...but talk to people, don't push them away.
Every single mum is amazing. You will get through. You've got this.
As always, here to chat if you need. Sending you love and good vibes xx