ANXIETYS BITCH BLOG
beThe title may mislead you to think I am running a contest and if so, sorry, you are out of luck. I am not just a single Mama, I am an only parent. Many parents choose this lifestyle by single parent adoption, sperm bank ,etc, and some even seek it out. I however got slammed into this position the day their father died of cancer. I did not apply for this position as clearly the pay sucks and the hours are endless with no vacation time, I mean NO vacation time. It has been the hardest and occasionally, the most rewarding job that I have ever had. I struggled when they were younger as I was scared shitless about any decision I would make for them. Now I struggle letting them make any decision about their life themselves, still scared shitless. So basically, I have been scared shitless for about 15 years.
Trying to not screw up as a parent and having severe anxiety with a side order of agoraphobia has become my 24 hour job that oddly gives you no time off. I worry that I did not parent enough, I worry that I tried to parent too much. I worry that I gave them too much freedom, then I worry that I did not give them enough. As with any parent, single or otherwise, I love my children so much that it is hard to explain. I want them to be happy and have all the experiences that life has to offer. I ache when they are sad or sick, and beam when I know they are happy. The hard part is having no one to bounce decisions off of. I have no other teammates to help me. I have no back up plan. I actually would get jealous of my separated or divorced friends who ex took the kids on weekends. I would be jealous for about ten minutes then I know I would hate sharing them. I read about 100 parenting books while I was pregnant and when they were little. I watched every television show or talk show that had a series of parenting discussions. I bought all the magazines that specialized in parenting so why was I still so doubtful of my "skills". With all the knowledge, do you really have any idea what to expect? Every child is like a snowflake as they are all different. Every child comes with their own unique personality and challenges. I suppose the hardest part was that I had such a battle with the beast of anxiety, that everything would seem so much worse. Even the smallest issue would tear me down to tears and nausea. I know it must have been hard for my kids to not know which Mommy they were getting each day. Happy go lucky Mommy who would say lets go on an adventure today or sad quiet Mommy, who just wanted to stay inside, perhaps watch a movie. I finally snapped out of my fog after almost a year of not really leaving the house except to quickly get the kids to school. I knew that I had to push myself for my kids as they needed more of me. I ended up in the emergency room, went in by an ambulance. I had been sick with a virus and could not keep any food or water down. That was the best thing that could happen oddly as I was forced to talk about my anxiety and to face it. Even though the doctor I was unlucky to get that day, actually made me feel worse, he helped me. How you ask? I came home and called my family doctor who put me back on medication. I was on medication before I had kids but assumed I could handle life without them. I was wrong. I started the medication the day my mother died. I was too ill to go see her from my virus, so I called her and she was so happy that I was taking care of myself. I think she needed to know that I would be taking care of myself. She died a few hours later.
With the help of medication, I was able to be the parent that my kids needed me to be. I know I made so many mistakes, as any parent who is honest, will tell you. I know that I learnt from those mistakes too, as I hope my children did. I went off medication a few times since then but I will now stay on medication for the rest of my life. I am not weak for doing so. I am not healed by doing so. I am just taking control of my situation the best that I can.
Parenting young children is crazy hard but parenting teens, that takes balls. I can say now from experience, that you do survive, barely, but you do survive. My first born was more of a quiet storm who dealt with a bully issue as teen. They were more of a small group of friends type of teen with not too much drama but enough to cause stress. First born also, is very mature in her way of thinking so finding that clique of friends was a challenge. She is also very quiet and has anxiety, two things that are hard to deal with as a teen. I can honestly say, she did not give me very much grief as a parent. I survived her teen years with only a few bumps. It could be that we think a lot a like, even though she would be horrified to acknowledge this. She is truly my best friend and I am so proud of the human being she is grown into. Beautiful and smart and talented. She however does not see all that yet, but one day she will. Now, my second born. For most of his teen life, he as been the regular pain in the ass teenager. You know, the stinky messy room, the talking back and the eye rolls. The last few months however, have been the challenge I always "heard" other parents talk about. Moody, disrespectful on occasion, and lazy. I will point out that he is only lazy or tired when I need him to help me with something. I am sure many parents can relate to that! He got a nose ring, yeah no big deal but so out of character for him. He is just moody. I mean you can't say boo and he gets defensive moody. He has triggered my anxiety more in the last few months then he has since birth. I know I will survive this, can you still call it a "phase", when they are teens? I know it could be far worse as I this is all mild compared to what others go through. I think, like I said before, it is very out of character for him. Perhaps he is just trying to find his own feet as my Dad would say. I do know that he will find one of my" feet" kicking his ass if he doesn't improve his attitude. ( for any authorities reading this, I mean figuratively kicking his ass" so please don't knock on my door unless you are cute).
SO is being an only parent more of a challenge? I can only answer for myself but 50% of me says yes while the other 33% is happy that I make the decisions and the remaining 17% is glad Oprah is no longer on the airwaves. I still may end up on Dr. Phil with my kids complaining of my parenting skills or I may be sued for all the therapy costs that they are charged. I do know that my kids are growing into amazing humans and I am proud of them. I am their biggest fan. I will take any standing ovations too in the future for a job well done just give me a heads up so I am dressed. I know soon enough, I will sit in my home, with no kids living under my roof and sigh. Sigh, with relief for about ten minutes then miss the chaos of my life. I will miss the noise. The laughter. The big grocery bill, ok...no won't miss that. I will miss my babies who already are transforming into adults. I won't be solely alone as my cats will keep me busy as they are little shits. So I do have "back up" replacements to worry about! Let the fur fly!
If I think really hard to my childhood, I see signs that my mother had anxiety. I was brought up in a home that parents whispered to one another bad news about others so that my ears would not hear. If a neighbour was getting a divorce, it was whispered. If someone found out they had cancer, it was whispered. The whole conversation was not always whispered though, just those "bad" words. Cancer. Divorce. Bankrupt. Affair. I would try with all my super powers to hear what the adults were saying in such a hushed voice. Fearing those words like one fears a bullet or knife. I recall once when my mother was sad a lot and did not want to go to the park with me. I remember the doctor coming to the house and when he was leaving talking to my dad. I remember the hushed words that he leaned in towards my father just a bit more to say to him. I remember him slowly saying, "it's a woman's problem". I was horrified. I was a girl who everyone kept telling, would grow up to be a fine woman. I did not want to be sick. I did not want not be able to go to the park. I did not want to grow up if that was my future. My mom slept a lot over a few weeks then was back to being my sweet loving mommy. Depression and anxiety were not uncommon then, they were just not understood. They were mental illnesses or women's issues. I can't imagine not being able to get the proper medical help that is available today. I now think about all the times my Mama stayed home instead of going with my Dad to an event. I remember her always being home. This sudden realisation scared me as I have lived that life too. Is anxiety hereditary or a learned behaviour or just a crap shoot?
Research suggests there may be a genetic component. Scientists have found that a particular genetic variation related to introverted personalities also involves the processing of fear and anxiety. Does this mean that nervous people who fight the beast with have anxious kids? Perhaps! Environment plays a definite roll in the manifestation of anxiety even more than genes. Such as, children who experience many changes in their lives or who do not have a secure attachment to a parental figure may develop anxious responses, even without a genetic susceptibility.
The beast of anxiety could also be a learned behaviour, as your parents ability to handle stress can influence their child and how they react to certain situations in the same way.
It is important, as a parent, to recognize anxious behaviour in your children. Warning signs may include sleeping or eating issues, server shyness, excessive worrying or repetitive behaviours. If your child and or children exhibit one or many of these signs please try to help them overcome the fears which lead to their anxious behaviour. Always acknowledge your child's fears and encourage them to discuss the issue. Please do not tell a child not to worry, as the fear is not going to go away on its own just because you said to do so. They need to know that you are not mad at them for feeling this way. If you get angry with them they will now fear showing any feelings in your presence. Try to come up with a relaxation strategy in times of extreme stress for your child. Breathing exercises, even meditation can help calm in the high level of anxiousness. Playing music that they can either relax to or dance to will also ease their levels. Physical activities such as going for a walk with the dog or even kicking around a soccer ball are stress busters. If the anxiety persists with your child, talk to their doctor. Seeking help early is key to them not having to deal with the beast forever.
I know my own children suffer from anxiety and yes, I often wonder if I am the reason for this. I have to push the thoughts hard out of my mind so that I do not get overwhelmed. I now know that I did and still do, everything in my power to help them deal with the beast. I have always kept an open dialogue with my kids so they know they can trust me. During teenage years life is a constant roller coaster of emotions and when you add anxiety to the ride, the bumps hit harder. I struggle with trying to control how they think sometimes, like most parents as we only want them to live better lives then we did. I do not want my children to have the same demons as I do as it would break me. I can only hope that they never feel alone like I did with their conflicts and fears. It is a parents instinct to want to keep their children safe and out of danger. We do not want our kids to suffer in any shape or form. We want to be able to shelter are babies, regardless of their age, from all the evil this world hands out. Anxiety is one of the beasts I cannot fight for them. I can give them only the skills to understand and the rest has to be up to them. That is one of the hardest and bravest parts of being a Mom.
Most people assume that only women get anxiety but as with many things in life, anxiety does not gender snub. Though society is slowly accepting anxiety and other mental illnesses, there is still a stigma attached. That stigma seems to be slightly harder on the male humans as society still thinks they should be the stronger sex. I laugh as I type that as we all know we are equally strong. If you are unsure of that statement, you need to get out of the 1950's and enter 2017 fast! Seriously! Get in that time machine in your garage. The one beside the station wagon. Turn that dial to 2017 and enjoy the ride.
Anxiety can be frightening to anyone but the sad truth males are told at such an early age in their life to "man up". Again, laughing as I type that as I gave birth. I also bled for weeks on end without dying. Get the picture now 1950? They are told to be strong and that showing weakness is wrong. Young boys have been raised in the past, and unfortunately now, to suppress emotions , to be more independent and defensive. I was raised by a fairly sensitive father and I hope that my son will always be able to be emotional freely. Being emotional is for the females, is something men are raised on hearing. If they express any emotion it is anger or aggression. Men dealing severe anxiety with the added bonus of depression, complete suicide between 3 and 8 times more than women. Whereas females appear to make suicide signs more often than men, the numbers are still higher for actual deaths with males. As men get older, the numbers are alarmingly high.
Research show that men are underrepresented in the running total of most of the common psychiatric disorders. Noticeably true for anxiety, depression and mood disorders. More men than women suffer from drug abuse and dependencies, alcoholism and personality problems. Men are more likely to tell someone they are fine ten minutes before strangle themselves with a rope. Men more often will pass of their anxiety as another illness.
Below is a list of common symptoms of anxiety with it's cruel friend depression mixed in. Perhaps some of these will appear in a man that you love, a spouse, brother, co-worker or even a son. It may amaze you how many men in your life show a lot of these traits.
A lot of the time doctors have a difficult time identifying symptoms of anxiety and depression in men . Since fewer men than women seek actual psychotherapy, researches assume men do not suffer from anxiety. Men who do get treatment get results. Medication and psychotherapy have been resulted in relieving anxiety and especially depression in men. Again. with the help of social media, more males are finding their way into the doctors office. As another sufferer of anxiety, I salute those men. I know how hard it is to ask for help even harder to admit that you need help. I have watched in my lifetime men that I care about suffer from anxiety. Not all wanted help. Not all thought that they needed help. It is a topic that we all need to talk about and share in all public forums. Then and only then, will this stigma be destroyed. Perhaps we need more actors, famous athletes, politicians and every day men to speak up. We need them to be brave and show that others are not alone. I know it is hard. I decided to start this blog as I know that it is hard to open up. I knew that others needed a safe place. I knew that everyone needs to know they are not alone in this battle of the beast. Open up that dialogue. I did. I bare my anxiety ridden soul to anyone who will listen or read.
If you or someone you know may need help, encourage going for an evaluation. Simply talking things out with someone can make a tremendous difference.
It sometimes amazes me that other people can just get up and run out the door without any hesitation. They grab their keys, purse, maybe a water bottle and off they go to an adventurous road trip or just to get groceries. I need to plan and over think every step of anywhere that I go. I Google Map the directions to my destination so I know exactly how long I will feel trapped in a moving vehicle. Over excessive I am sure to someone who does not suffer the wrath of the demon we all call anxiety. It may even be a strange way to deal for those who do deal with anxiety on the daily but this is my process. I need to make sure I have an escape plan, perhaps that means going somewhere that I can call a taxi if needed. Perhaps it means I go somewhere that is open spaced or walking distance from my home. I lather up my skin with my calming oils. I make sure I have water and Kleenex. All this happened 99% of the time when I would leave my house. I am finding that the percentage is lowering due to getting more sleep, eating better, drinking lots of water and taking my medication. I find that this blog has pushed me to try harder, not that I was not trying before. I am just locating my inner warrior who use to rock this world without much fear. I try to exercise daily which helps level my serotonin levels and yes, I still hate working out. I am icing my knee right now as I worked out a little too hard and apparently my old knee has gone on strike. I will still do upper body exercise tonight as I am determined to live the life I want. The life that has me being happy and social with the outside world. I deserve that. I need that. I certainly have earned it. So push yourself. Push hard. Do not let the beast win.
Just with second hand smoke, that of which causes serious damage to ones lungs, second hand stress can do damage. Just think of a time when you found yourself feeling agitated or nervous for no other reason than your spouse rushing around like a maniac. You know when they had a bad day at work and come home venting and looking for an argument. Their speech is urgent and somewhat vile as they stomp around slamming drawers. They make breathless demands while gulping down a coffee or a beer. Now these behaviours bleed into your atmosphere just as if a bad influenza has attacked your lungs. Before you can understand what is going on, you start to feel your chest tighten and your temples ache. You feel angry for no reason and now your words are cutthroat. If any of this sounds familiar, you have dealt with second hand stress. This can happen with a coworker as well and will put a strain on your work environment.
This type of stress can cause others issues such as:
You need to be careful to not become part of the issue by causing second hand stress around you too. It can become a vicious circle that you do not want to be caught in. By managing your own stress, you can reduce the effects of secondhand stress both at work and at home by setting a healthy, centered example. You can learn to guard your own energy by cultivating healthy habits (nutrition, sleep, exercise) that naturally make you more resilient. If you already suffer from anxiety, this type of stress may be a trigger. You really need to distance yourself from people who act in this manner daily as it will benefit your health. High stressed people are hard to be around with anxiety and you must always come first. I have had to learn this the hard way.
I have the strangest feeling going on today. I feel other worldly, not totally myself. I feel weightless which is amazing considering I ate rhubarb crumble pie for my breakfast. I feel a lift in my spirit and bounce in my step. I wonder if that counts as exercise? At the present moment, I am not in any type of pain. No back ache, no migraine not even a stiff neck. I feel less empathetic by a small margin because I am not sharing others' pain at that moment. Empathy is a two-edged emotion , while it connects you to others and helps you know their plight, joy or devastation, it can also drain you and keep you away from your own even-keel reality. I think I am happy. Purely happy not just happy I ate pie for breakfast on the deck with the sunshine warming my pale skin. Happy. I forgot about you. The moments of pure joy or happiness are often respites from the stark reality of life and should be promoted and appreciated. It is a euphoria feeling to be balanced. To feel calm and peaceful is a state I do not encounter often with my anxiety levels but lately I have been getting closer to this part of me. I believe it is the art of not giving a fuck that has slowly started to take over my thinking process every morning that has pushed me further towards this amazing realisation of dealing with life. I have given up wondering if my neighbour likes me or hates me because of dandelions look like a jungle of white clouds on my front lawn. I have given up the worry of being left out. I have given up the constant desire to not screw up something for the fear of being embarrassed. I am pushing myself through all this as it is not as easy for me as it is for many. My anxiety is still making me it's bitch, but I am fighting back harder than I have ever had before. I may not conquer my war with anxiety but I will push back every day. This bully will not keep me down.
You need to get out of your rut. You need to put on your big girl panties and face the world. Stop being so dramatic. It's only anxiety. Just do it. Stop wasting your life. You are totally fine. How many times have you heard those lovely words directed at you? Too many to count I assume! I have heard some of these recently and yes they hurt to the deep pits of my soul. They also make me mad as hell. Why is it that people assume when you have anxiety it is just in your imagination? Do they not realise how much I wish it was just a phase, a figment of my imagination , hell a fad? I would love to not have to fight the beast every day. To not have to physically and emotionally push myself daily to just walk out the door would be a rare day. I cannot comprehend how people feel the need to belittle someone they care about it. I have been hurt far too many times from all those words. I know they say stick and stones, blah blah ...bullshit ...blah, but words do cut down to your soul. I will say that being told to get "out of my rut", lit a fire in me, mostly from the anger those words formed. I have since deleted the speaker of those words, rather they deleted me. Tomato..tomatoe! I have done more with my time in the last few weeks then I have in a while. I have checked a lot off my to do list and have felt great about life. I have been happy, an odd feeling of excitement as I look into the future has bubbled up in me too. I have pushed myself through two really hot days, as heat is a major trigger for my anxiety. I am getting into a healthier lifestyle with eating better and exercising, something I hate to do. I am being more social. Is this all from the result of unsolicited advice that I received? Is this from shedding a negative force in my life? Is this finally putting my time into myself instead of the preacher of those words? Perhaps a mix of everything.
Did you know there is an App for almost everything that you may or may not need in your life these days? There are Apps for helping you find someone to cuddle with, for real! It is called Cuddlr, look it up if you need that extra snug. There is Pimple Popper which is self explanatory and just gross. There is one for you cat ladies too called Cat Paint that you can add more cats to pictures. I started to look and download as many Apps that had to do with dealing with anxiety that I could. My phone hated me from being overworked! I picked the ones that were easiest to download and understand. Most were free with a few that had " IN APP PURCHASES". There were so many that I may post again with others that I discover. If you use any of these following Apps or you know of a really good one that has helped you, please comment below. I would love to hear feedback and I am always open to new ways of healing.
This APP enables the user to record their thought, you can oversee your moods, and set goals that potentially help fight against your anxiety. It aids you with learning where in your cycle that you get frequently emotional and require that extra TLC. The Health Tracker will help you monitor how much water you intake, how much sleep and exercise you are getting. Keeping track of your medication is another feature.
*Free to download. In App Purchases available after downloading.
SAM (Self Help For Anxiety Management)
Featuring Social Cloud, that will help you to share your life experiences with the SAM community while keeping your identity protected. I liked this APP as it had some of the best exercises for handling your anxiety and they are in categories separated by your particular type of anxiety. Muscle relaxation along with calming breathing exercises are extremely helpful with this APP. You may love the recording feature where you can leave messages to yourself. Picture Peace, will show you an image that is concealed but if you rub your finger over your cell phone screen, you'll uncover it. Image it to be like a palm stone that some use to rub for calming. It is surprisingly helpful in many situations.
*Free to download.
The first thing that I noticed about this one, is how beautiful and uncomplicated that the site is with the beautiful pictures of amazing scenery. It has peaceful nature sounds as well. Perfect if you want to take time out of your life to just meditate or relax or just plain zone out. The APP and website are very similar, with many meditations that are guided. Most you must purchase after the initial download of the APP but they offer many different scenarios to choose from.
*Free to download. In App Purchases.
This APP will help you take charge of your anxiety by helping you learn to relax. It includes a system and tools to help you with a specific type of anxiety. Other key issues that are aided with this APP are:
-helping with sleep issues
-pulling through an intense emotion
-help with social anxiety
-performance anxiety issues
I really liked the portable coach part to help you get through challenging situations especially if you are travelling.
*Free to download.
HELLO MIND APP
If you are plagued by any type of anxiety then you know that it can tie you down by constant thoughts of worry and fear. Hello Mind tries to loosen those restrictions with guided relaxation audios. The exercises are guided and focus on anxiety and fear as well as phobias. You can earn points for listening and you many journal all your thoughts and feelings in a log.
*Free to download. In App Purchases.
Adapted towards relief for stress and panic attacks, End Anxiety has been downloaded by millions of people. The App also uses an audio hypnosis technique to guide you through exercises. It urges you to listen for one to three weeks for full desired results. You are able to loop sessions to play while you are falling asleep and sleeping. Binaural beats can play in the background to knock your brainwave frequency that much closer to hypnosis. I found it to be very relaxing after a long day to listen to.
*Free to download. In App Purchases.
7 CUPS- ONLINE THERAPY FOR ANXIETY
I first clicked on this one because of the name and since I was having a cup of tea, it just seemed fitting. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth and vast help that this APP offers. According to the many reviews that I read, over six million customers use this to help them with daily struggles. They connect a person in need with a trained listener. E-counselling is helping change the way that we receive health care and 7 Cups are paving the way. You must complete a question and answer session before 7 Cups pairs you with a professional therapist. There is a three day free service then you are directed to a payment page. This is an amazing App if you have the funds and especially helpful for those who need a therapist but are unable to travel to one. Very user friendly and extremely simple to follow. The "chat room" that only you and your therapist share is as easy to use as Messenger or texting on your phone. The help network offers coverage in many areas that may ail you including:
-trauma and abuse
7 Cups is definitely the most unique App that I reviewed so far.
*Free to download. In App Purchases.
Overall, I found all of the Apps helpful and easy to use. In the world of social media and everyone living busy lives, having an App to help you survive is what the future holds.