“You have a worried face”
My friend and mentor said that to me the other day.
I have a worried face. She’s completely right and the evidence lives right between my eyes in a nice, getting deeper by the day, wrinkle. I have a worried face. How can you not? I mean, the world is crumbling at our feet, the icebergs are melting, our house needs to be cleaned, the kids need to get to dance, then gymnastics, then soccer, the bills need to get paid and dinner needs to be made. Oh, ya, and I have to grade to papers tonight before I work at the clinic tomorrow. You can relate, right?
That was when I finally admitted something to myself that I was brushing off as normal mom thoughts. Your ready for it? Here it is:
I have anxiety.
Now I’m about to get real vulnerable here and I’m not even sure that you can relate but I also have a sneaking suspicion that if you are a mom, you totally can….
I have crazy thoughts. Like very crazy, not cool thoughts. I remember my first experience with being a mom was when I became a dog mom. I had a bulldog whom I loved and cared for. I was his mom and he was my son. That’s when these weird, anxiety filled thoughts would creep in. I would walk him down the sidewalk and then I would have these terrible visions of him getting off his leash and getting hit by a car. Without fail, every time I walked him I would see it all play out. We were having a great walk, the sky was blue the air was cool and then, BAM, he would get hit by a car. Weird right?? This sort of thing was just the beginning.
When I became pregnant with my first, the worries flooded my head and heart. Was she okay? she hasn’t moved in an hour, did I eat the right foods? what if I die and leave her without a mom? What if, what if, what if? I felt like I was going crazy! I talked to my dad about it and his response was, “The worry never goes away, in fact, it just gets worse as they get older” Wait-What???? Worse? How? This shizzz was bananas! But, you know what? He was right. It just gets worse- for me.
I can’t send my daughter to school without thinking about school shootings, I can’t be in a crowd without thinking of an active shooter. I can’t see a sick patient without thinking, what if that was me? and worse, what if that was my kid? And those thoughts I had with my dog? So much worse with my kids. It ‘s frightening. The more I think about it, the more I realize that this momXiety that I am experiencing influences every part of my life. I make decisions based on anxiety, I buy or do not buy things based on anxiety, and I can or can’t relax based on it too. Thank my lucky stars, I have been able to interrupt those thoughts and realize that they are, for the most part, irrational, but they still exist.
I remember working with a photographer a few years back and I was feeling rather scattered. I verbally expressed how scattered I was feeling and she said, “Don’t tell people that. You look like you have it all together. Let them think that of you”. So I didn’t. I didn’t ever really share my anxieties with anyone and kind of tried to forget that they even existed. But as I was talking to my friend who told me I had a worried face, I realized that there has to be more moms out there that have these same anxiety riddled feelings. I can’t be the only one…right? And although I appreciate the photographer trying to help a sister out, I just can’t anymore. If I can help one momma out there struggling with some crazy thoughts too, then I’ll just go ahead and be me and share my heart out. Cool?
The most hilarious thing about it all? I did my doctoral dissertation on (drumroll please…) ANXIETY. What the eff? I am considered an expert in managing anxiety with essential oils and I am the one walking around with worried face, SMH.
I have the tools, I spent freaking 4 years researching this topic, and I know how to support other people with anxiety. So I am going back to the drawing board. I am going to revisit what anxiety actually is, how it affects us (especially as moms), how to manage it, and hopefully help a whole crew of us out there with some serious momXiety.
Let’s start with what anxiety even is. According the American Psychological Association (2019), Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.
Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety (Mayo Clinic, 2019).
So, ya, sounds about right. Sounding familiar yet? There’s a cool part to all of this. There are ways to control anxiety that DO NOT include medications. Here’s my thought on medications, they are necessary in some cases. And in some cases they are the only temporary answer. No judgement from me if medications are right for you, go on with you bad self :P.
Through diet, balancing hormones, nourishing your adrenal glands, moving your body, connecting with yourself, laughing, smiling, plant medicine, essential oils, love, and support, anxiety can take a back to seat. I’m so game. I have started exploring my own ways to heal my anxieties and for the next little while, the focus of my posts will be about how I am controlling (or not) my momXiety.
You in? Let’s do this 🙂
In good health,