Hi. I’m Kat, and it’s been WAY too long since my last post. Why? Because I’ve had a shit month. Not in terms of ‘life’ (life is good- my little man was baptised, my older little man graduated from Kinder, and Christmas is well and truly here), but it’s been shit in terms of my anxiety.
Hudson, my 6 month old, had bronchiolitis which is essentially a lung infection with a whole heap of symptoms like a sore throat, sore ears, runny nose, and a constant cough. We had many trips to the doctor, a trip to the children’s, sleepless nights, and basically not a lot of happy times. Although he still wakes through the night with the occasional cough, he seems to be slowly getting back to his normal happy self.
On top of that, it’s been crazy busy. Like, chaotic busy. With planning and pulling off his Baptism, getting things organised for Primary School next year (because I totally have time to spend a day in line buying uniforms), and all the things that come along with Christmas- making a gift list (46 and counting…), buying everything on the gift list, wrapping everything on the gift list, putting the tree up, writing a letter to Santa with Ben my 5 year old, posting the Santa letter, Santa photos, and the all important, what are we all wearing on Christmas day?
Add to that that standard #MamaLife stuff like feeding the kids, bathing and showering them, washing, ironing, planning and cooking dinner, grocery trips, kinder lunches, cleaning the house, weeding, washing dishes, washing bottles… and trying to have some sort of social life which means having to shower and getting my eyebrows threaded!
I get it. My list probably looks a lot similar to your list at this time of year. It’s what we mamas do. And normally I am totally in control and just get. shit. done. I make it happen. I wake up early and get shit done. I balance time between both kids pretty well during the day and spend quality time with each of them, and together as a family. I get housework shit done while Hudson’s sleeping and Ben’s bored of me and playing on his own. I go to bed late to catch up on all the shit I didn’t get a chance to do during the day, once they’re both asleep. I’m like a superwoman high on life and love, getting shit done. And I totally love it. I truly do!
But there are two main triggers for my anxiety.
The first is not being in control. If there’s too much on, and I’m unable to get shit done, I feel like I am losing control. Losing control of my life, and our world. For example, if the dishes are piling up, or if I have four loads of washing to do but I’m ‘stuck’ feeding Hudson, I instantly feel like I am falling behind. So as soon as he’s done feeding, I literally run like a crazy woman to catch up.
The second is ill health. Whenever one of the kids are sick, it brings back terrifying memories and emotions. I’ve been there to witness my dad fight heart disease for the last 15 years, and I was there to witness my mum lose her fight with cancer only 3 years ago. Even something as little as a runny nose is enough to send me down the scary thought path of ‘what if they die?’ It’s crazy! I know! But that’s what happens.
The only way I can manage my anxiety, is to have some quiet time to think. Just a moment of silence to clear my thoughts, throw out the clutter in my head, and silence the noise.
But there has been zero quiet time. I have constantly been searching for silence.
And so, my anxiety has been building and building. Often ending in a panic attack- me walking around the house unable to breath, not being able to get the words out, wanting to run away, or hide in the bedroom until it all feels ‘normal’ again.
I’ve been waking up scared most days. Waking up in a panic and playing out all sorts of scenarios in my head of what the day might bring. Will Hudson cry all day again? Will he feed today? Will he nap? Will Ben hate me? Will I have time to kick the soccer ball around with him so he doesn’t hate me? Will I have time to make dinner? Will I sit down at all? The unpredictability and the unknown scare me.
I’ve been wishing the time away. Wanting the hours to go quicker. Wanting the days to go quicker. Wanting Hudson to grow so that he doesn’t need me as much. Having a 5 year old and a 6 month old is tough. When either of them are sick, it’s even tougher. When there’s a lot of shit to get done, while not being able to manage my anxiety is damn hard work.
Sure, I can ask for help yeah? Ask someone to come hang out with Ben while I carry Hudson around all day? Ask someone to wash the bottles? Ask someone to take Ben to kinder so I don’t have to take Hudson out in the cold? Well I don’t actually have any physical help. It’s all me. The only help I have is from my husband who’s been working really long hours and not only is he not physically here, he’s also exhausted by the time he gets home.
It’s all been sending me into a downwards spiral. I’ve had some very dark days, causing me to question whether I have PND? Whether I have dealt with my mum’s passing? Whether I have depression on top of my anxiety? Am I good mum? Have I made any progress with my anxiety? Or has it all been for nothing? Because I haven’t had any silence to work through these thoughts, It’s been difficult to process them and find the root of why I have been feeling the way I have.
But just the other day, Hudson was having a great afternoon nap, Ben was playing out the front with the girls next door, and my husband and I were able to have some time to just chat. I can see he’s worried about me. Scared that I haven’t been able to get out of the darkness. And sad that he doesn’t know what to do to help me. I can see that he feels helpless, useless even, but that’s so far from the truth. So we sat there in silence while I gathered my thoughts. He waited patiently.
And then it hit me. Pretty easily. Pretty calmly. I could breath again. I could smell the fresh grass, and hear Ben’s laughter. I was no longer tense. I was no longer scared. I felt in control. I was present.
Life is happening. Life. Is. Happening.
I am a mum to two beautiful, smart, kind boys. I am a wife to an amazingly supportive (and hot) husband. I am a strong woman who continues to learn about herself, and about life, each day.
But sometimes there’s just a lot on. It’s what happens. Life happens.
And sometimes, life throws us curve balls. It’s these tough times that help us learn to be present.
Silence will come. We just have to ride out the waves.
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