I stood in the kitchen over the stove cooking dinner feeling sick to the stomach, sad and anxious. I looked out the window and saw the sun going down and thought to myself ‘here we go again’. It was that particular day I noticed a pattern. Every single day at the same time my anxiety would creep up on me. I dreaded 5pm. I was 6 months pregnant with my second babe, my son was 2 yrs. old and we were in the middle of selling/buying homes and all our possessions were in storage. As I got further into the night it would get worse. I would cry because I felt sad and alone. I couldn’t eat my dinner because I felt sick. I would call my hubby and beg him to come early to be with me. It was a really hard time for me, I could see the light during the day but at night it was pitch black.
When my son was 18 months old he came down with gastro. It was the first time I’d ever seen him that ill. I remember watching tv and hearing a noise come from his bedroom and muting the sound, nothing. I continued to watch tv for another hour until I was interrupted by a scream. Your heart skips a beat and not in a good way. I spent the rest of the night looking after a very ill little boy. I’ve never been great with illness like that, I pretty much freak out. My Kineisiologist seems to think something happened to me when I was younger where I’ve been emotionally scarred. It makes me so uncomfortable I then start to feel ill from anxiety.
From that night on, it all began. It slowly became more and more sickening. Once I fell pregnant with my second the anxiety mixed with hormones, morning sickness and the fact my 2 yr. old was at childcare surrounded by sick kids it all became too much. I was paranoid about germs, baby wipes and hand sanitiser were my favourite things. The days I dropped Noah off at childcare if I saw someone was coughing or snotty I would have arguments with myself in my head “take him home”, “he’ll be fine”, “I don’t think I can cope with him getting sick again”, “why do they allow sick kids to stay?!”… I was so frustrated that they weren’t seeing what I saw. I would check Noah’s temperature if he was a little quiet or didn’t finish his dinner. Little things would set it off. I started using the baby monitor again. The funny thing is, once he did get sick I managed. It wasn’t nice seeing him unwell but it was doable. It was all about the what if. The buildup and anticipation of that night happening again was horrible. Every night I would go through the same thing. Some night’s it got so bad I would be physically sick, I’d have gastro symptoms myself. It’s like being tortured! I’m anxious about gastro and my symptoms of anxiety are vomiting, nausea etc.
One night it was so bad it was like extreme food poisoning. I was 6 months pregnant and ended up calling my OBGYN at 4am because I was scared the baby would be in danger. I had a doctor come to the house who then gave me an injection which did absolutely nothing! I felt like I was dying. If I’m sick that means my son and my husband may get sick too… I can’t look after them in this state. These “what ifs” brought on the anxiety even more.
I spoke to two different counsellors who told me meditation and breathing exercises would be beneficial. I needed to connect with the source of this issue and deal with it and release it. If I really put in the effort that may’ve helped but I felt it was so severe at that stage breathing wasn’t going to be my saving grace. We spoke about my childhood and my mum being sick. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis after I was born. As well as depression, anxiety and OCD. It wasn’t an easy childhood but it definitely wasn’t bad. I’ve always been emotional, wear my heart on my sleeve. I just can’t brush things off easily.
I would sit at the dinner table crying in front of my hubby telling him I felt sad and alone, nobody understood how I felt. I didn’t want to feel like this but I couldn’t shake it off. We had sold our home and needed to be out in a month, we hadn’t found our new home yet, I was giving birth in less than 2 months, I was feeling shitty most of the time, I wasn’t excited about having another baby, it was another person to be worried about. I was scared to talk to my friends about it because they would probably think I’m depressed and a terrible mother. It was so hard. Thankfully during the day if I got out and about it would help a little, but nights killed me. I would lie in bed breathing through the nausea listening out for any sounds of the boys being unwell. I couldn’t switch off.
It wasn’t until 5 weeks straight of my 5 month old little bean waking me up 8 times a night that I thought… I’m at breaking point. My husband kept telling me to organise a sleep nurse but I kept saying “no it’ll get better”. It didn’t. It got worse. I was sleep deprived, anxious, sick, worried, frustrated and paranoid. Lack of sleep alone can do some serious damage to your emotional state. Within 10 minutes of the sleep nurse arriving that first night she told me “you need to go and see this doctor, I’m worried about you”. Penny (my sleep nurse) gave me a hug and told me she’d been there too, it can get better if I got the help I needed. I mentioned I was worried someone would throw me on medication and that would be that. The reassurance I received from both her and the GP was grounding and just what I needed to hear. I didn’t make the decision overnight, I researched had a long conversation with my mum and husband. The GP had also diagnosed me with PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I knew deep down that I did need medication. The pregnancy had left my hormones all over the shop and I needed something to balance me. It wouldn’t be a life sentence, just a year or so. This is the first time I’ve really told people I’m on medication for my anxiety. It’s a little daunting, I feel like I may be judged but I’m doing it because there might be someone out there reading this who is struggling like I was. You don’t need to struggle! You never know who needs you, good energy and honesty is contagious.
Thankfully over the next few months I can slowly wean myself off and maintain my emotional healing with essential oils and some very crucial me time. Taking a break every now and then. I still have my struggles but I cope a lot better now. I’m nowhere near as worried about the “what ifs”. I know if we get sick we’ll manage. And we’re sick a fair bit thanks to Noah’s school. I can find comfort in my support system. Being a mum has taught me how strong women are. Far out, we can take on so much. How do we keep going? Because we have to! The thing is if you don’t do things for yourself you run the risk of illness, stress, anxiety and/or depression. Make sure you look after you… Physically, emotionally, mentally. As clichéd as it may be sound if you’re not happy, the people around you will absorb that energy.