It sneaks up on me when I least expect it.
On a beautiful day at the park, watching our son giggle as he careens down the slide. While we’re cooking dinner, sharing stories about another long day. Or even when I’m in the bath, “relaxing,” which I just can’t seem to do these days.
I know there’s no reason for it.
I know, logically, there’s no reason to feel so anxious. No reason to think that every outcome will be the worst of all possibilities. Yet there it is. The terrifying what if?
It’s like a punch to the gut. All the air is suddenly sucked out of my chest and panic fills every crevice in my body.
It’s like falling into a deep void that has no end, the weight of infinite gravity pressing on my shoulders.
It’s like being held underwater, and no matter how hard I kick my legs I simply can’t break through the surface to reach the light.
I know you’re worried. You see me spinning out of control. On the verge of tears over the littlest thing. Overwhelmed by tasks or emotions I used to handle so easily. Afraid that my actions, my intentions, my whole being is no longer good enough.
I’m worried too.
Not just about why the baby hasn’t walked yet or how I’m going to get the dishes and cooking done after work. Not just about if we’re spending enough time together or whether I make you happy.
I’m worried about me.
About why I’m so worried. About when the worrying will stop, when the old me will reappear, the one who laughed and enjoyed life so easily.
I need you to keep helping me. Keep listening to me, even when you think my worries are unfounded. Because we both know the simple fact that I feel them makes them real.
Keep being patient and understanding.
Keep being positive. Don’t let my negativity darken your day, your hopes, or your mood.
Keep reminding me that I’m beautiful. That you love me. And that I’m the greatest mom I can be.
Know that you are not alone in tackling the monster that is my anxiety.
In the meantime, I will continue to remind myself that there is a bright side.
I will work on resisting the dark thoughts that are looped on repeat in my brain.
I will continue to breathe, and to remain calm even when all I want to do is scream as loud as I possibly can.
And whenever I feel those anxious tremors begin to burrow in, I will focus on the me I want to be.