After an exhausting and jam packed day, I crawl into my bed looking forward to some much needed rest. Though my body is weary, my mind is just getting started. My thoughts pour in at lightning speed. My heart begins to race. Panic sets in before I can give words to my feelings. Before I know it, I am consumed with worry.
Something like the above scenario happens to me on a regular basis. I don’t always need to be getting into bed, and the subject of my worries range from my children dying to me not being able to fit into my jeans because I’m eating a brownie to cope with the worry I have about publishing this post.
I’ve always been a worrier, but until I became a mom, I didn’t have that much to worry about. I experienced my first anxiety attack when my first child was just 3 months old. Five seconds after taking my seat in the nose-bleed section at the New Orleans Arena, the walls began to close in. I couldn’t hear well. I couldn’t see straight. My heart was ready to beat right out of my chest. I turned to my sister-in-law and told her I had to get off that level. I spent the rest of the Celine Dion concert on a metal folding chair in the alley of section 101. I still don’t know why I didn’t get kicked out – maybe because it was 2009?
I am a worrier. My anxiety stems from my worry. I don’t know if that’s what all anxiety looks like, but it’s what mine looks like. Worry fuels my anxiety.
Don’t tell my kids, but I almost kept them out of summer camp because I worried about them taking a school bus on their field trips. They had all ridden school buses to field trips before, but most of the time, I was chaperoning. And the other times, they weren’t all together. I was at lunch with fellow writer and my good friend, Jaime, the first time all three of my kids were riding on a school bus together, on the interstate, without me. Surely, this meant there would be a tragic accident and I would lose all my children in one fell swoop.
That is where my mind goes. Without my permission, these intrusive thoughts break through, drowning out the conversation, preventing me from sleeping or causing a full blown panic attack.
I’ve been trying to overcome it. I’m doing my absolute best, but sometimes the worry is so real it might as well be happening. No matter how much or how little money we have in the bank, I worry that the bottom is going to fall out and my family will be rendered homeless.
When it comes to my kids, I live in a near constant state of worry. I worry about their mental health, screen time, stranger danger, cavities, cyberbullying, body image and milestones. I worry about their sense of belonging and how they handle their emotions. I worry they will never know how much I love them.
I worry. And I really want to stop.
Friends who understand help.
Sharing my struggle with a community of moms helps. Knowing I’m not alone helps. And thanks to all these helps, my worries take up less and less space in my mind. How about you, mama? What helps you?