Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt my anxiety slowly creeping in.
The isolation and monotony I feel being at home with my baby all the time while all my friends are at work or people I know are enjoying the outdoors, has become increasingly noticeable.
“So somewhere along the way I just decided that it’s better that I just stay at home rather than face the discomfort of going somewhere, alone.”
The number of days in a row that I stayed un showered began to stack up. The number of fucks I had about just about everything were slowly dwindling.
The antidote to these feelings that creep up and often close in on me, is of course, getting outside, taking a walk, going to the shops, the park, the beach, wherever. SHOWERING (like first thing. Before I do anything else!).
But of course all of those things when done alone, make me even more anxious because it just further highlights how alone I am. Especially if I see other mums out and about in a group, its hard not to feel like I just don’t belong.
So somewhere along the way I just decided that it’s better that I just stay at home rather than face the discomfort of going somewhere, alone.
I make up all these really great excuses too. Like, it’s too windy, it’s too cold, too hot, the drive is too long, there’ll be too much traffic, Finn won’t nap properly, I’ve got too much stuff to carry, it’s not a good time or whatever else my anxiety can make up to keep me confined and in my comfort zone.
It’s hard to talk about too because the moment I say I’m feeling “isolated and anxious” I’m labelled with Post Natal Anxiety or Depression! Or I might seem ungrateful for everything that I have! Or even just because it’s hard for me to admit and say out loud.
On Thursday I went to a mothers group, the first mum meet organised by @katekennedybirthphotography/ and I was really nervous!
What if no else showed up? I’m not going to know anyone! It’s too cold, I’m too tired, it’s too this, it’s too that.
I pushed through that though because I knew how badly I needed it and know all too well how easy it is for the downward spiral to consume you if you let it.
And I’m so glad I did because after leaving (although I was legit so fucking exhausted) I felt like me again.
Then on Friday night I left the baby at home with James (which is possible now thanks to his new work schedule) and I went out! I went out you guys! With my two best friends! And we ate glorious Mexican food! And I had TWO beers! For the first time in 2 years (mainly coz I wasn’t pregnant and things just happened to align), I had a couple of drinks with my two best friends and we gossiped and laughed and cried and talked until no more nachos could fit in my face. I drove home feeling so FULL… and not just of nachos!
Loving my baby so much, is easy to forget that other things fill up my cup but mostly I think it’s hard to acknowledge that it’s even empty in the first place.
I used to think that my anxiety was something bigger than me, something I couldn’t overcome.
But I realise now that it’s trying to tell me something. I’ve ignored all the breadcrumbs up until this point and my anxiety serves as a message, loud and clear, that I’m in need of some attention. The anxiety is the symptom, and for me, loneliness (amongst a few other things) is the cause.
Not only is connection and community something that I need, but it’s something that I need to cultivate. Not just for the purpose of avoiding or relieving the discomfort of anxiety, but because it’s (connection and community) necessary for my joy and joy is something I deserve.
So if you’re free for the next mum meet with Kate, they will be held on the first Thursday of every month.
Or if you ever want to fill your face with Mexican, i’m your girl.
And even if you don’t want to leave the house because your anxiety is locking you down, just at least know that although you may be alone within your four walls, you’re not alone in how you feel.
I know how you feel. I can relate. I’m there too.