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Admitting Overwhelm

Following a huge increase in anxiety lately and panic attacks like nothing I've experienced before that seemingly came out of the blue, I've spent a few days distracting myself trying not to over think as to avoid the physical symptoms of anxiety - which quite honestly can be and have been rather terrifying.

The time off and the distraction has helped me to process that anxiety, stress and overwhelm can manifest like that - physically making me feel so unwell. And after a few days I felt like I was 'getting there' and that maybe the physical storm of anxiety was lifting. It was until I sat in bed last night and I started to feel it happening again that I realised that I perhaps needed to attempt to pinpoint exactly what has been causing my body to attempt to go in to this fight or flight mode.

I felt like I handled the feelings that came over me last night like a boss - I actually managed to stay mostly calm. I repeatedly traced the outline of my chest of drawers with my eyes like a friend had advised me to do, I tried square breathing, but most of all I refused to go with the fear and afterwards as silly as it might sound I felt like I'd won a fight. The anxious feelings lifted a little and I fell asleep.

This morning I woke up with the same feeling - it's a feeling of nausea and almost like somebody is sitting on my chest. I feel my arm start to feel weak and my heartbeat sounds and feels heavier. The feelings clearly aren't lifting by themselves. And though I have repeatedly wondered if it could be something else, perhaps a virus, the truth is is that the more I think about it the more I can relate it to feeling overwhelmed.

All my life I've unintentionally been too hard on myself and felt guilty for things I shouldn't. I'm an emotionally deep person and I've always thought on a deeper level. This has its benefits of course, but it also has many negatives too. Being a Mother, though has made me so much more confident and content, has also made me more on edge, more guilty and a lot harder on myself.

The truth is I love being a Mum like I really adore it and I'd be lost without my children. God, they make me happy and fill my heart with the most happiness. But I also feel overwhelmed quite a lot of the time and even more so lately. And though this sounds 'normal' to say and to write, because hey doesn't every other parent, I feel almost a bit ashamed to admit that I feel like I'm struggling with overhwhelm.

feeling overwhelmed as a mum of two

For a long time when I had a newborn and a toddler I struggled. I struggled with feeling lonely, I struggled with how to juggle the needs of my toddler with the completely different needs of my newborn. And I always told myself that it would get easier, "When they're 2 and 4" I'd say, "It will be a lot easier - they'll be in to the same sorts of things, Logan will be able to walk, they'll be able to play, it won't be as intense."

And whilst it changed, it didn't and hasn't got easier. Sure Logan can walk and that feels physically easier. They can play together and that's great. We can do stuff together as they now share similar interests. And I don't feel anywhere near as lonely anymore, as whilst I haven't really increased in Mum-friends, I now have two little people to chat to and that feels really comforting. But of course, now there are all the new challenges of having a nearly 3 and nearly 5-year-old, both of whom have taken after their Mummy and are rather head-strong and strong-willed. I don't want to go in to all the different things that I find hard as a Mum, because I feel that that will make it sound like I think I'm the only one going through it and I also don't want to make this sound like it's about the boys, because I am completely aware that they are just being children. I was no angel myself as a child, kids are kids. And my boys are still so little.

This is more about me. More about my perspective when it comes to parenting. Because as wonderful as being a parent is and as grateful as I am to be a Mum, I am under no illusion that parenting is ever going to be a walk in the park.

The thing I need to accept and to admit is that I am letting things get to me more than I should and that I am blaming myself for much more than I should be, whether I've known it consciously or not. And that perhaps/probably that build up of overwhelm has played a big part in what's happened to me lately with the anxiety and anxiety attacks. This isn't just about parenting being difficult at times, it's about me feeling confident enough in myself as a Mum and not letting anxious thoughts make me feel like I'm not doing my best. Because when I take a huge step back, I know that I am.

I think it's about finding a way to re-programme my emotional thoughts and to not let them become as negative and overwhelming. As I sit typing this, I've got a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) workbook next to me, I've flicked through it and I honestly think it's exactly what I need. Perhaps CBT sessions would do wonders for me too, though the idea makes me feel nervous. As does writing this post for complete strangers to read I suppose. I suppose that there's a tiny, very small part of me that fears being judged a little, but in the same breath I also completely refuse to feel ashamed for talking openly and honestly about mental health. There's not one person alive or dead who hasn't been affected by mental health at some point, no matter who they are. And so talking about it doesn't have to be something that we feel we need to shy away from.

It's difficult though when you feel bad about things much more than you should. I've noticed so many people having third babies lately or saying they'd love more children. And whilst I know that everyone's situation and way of dealing with things is different and that different phases with things come and go. I almost feel like that makes me feel worse, because I wonder why other people can seemingly cope so well and go on to have more children, whilst I'm over here feeling overwhelmed with being a Mum of two. Of course, I know that's my anxiety talking and being unfairly tough on myself, lots of people stop at two children. Or even one. Or sometimes have none. But it's one small example of my thought patterns lately. A thought pattern I'm becoming more and more aware of and that going forward I am making my mission to change.

Thank you for reading. Alex xo
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2 comments

  1. Oh Alex you have had such a difficult week, and I watched your vlog talking about your experience. It sounded horrendous what you went through (and your husband), but you were so very brave talking about it. We definitely need to talk more about mental health and our experiences. Sorry for what you are going through and sending lots of love and hugs xx

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  2. Oh, this post really resonated with me, thanks for being so brave.
    You will cope brilliantly, I am sure.
    I believe the most important step is to acknowledge our boundaries: we stopped at one child and even though she is nearly 5, I still find out hard to juggle a full time job ( I am a lawyer) and family ...It seems a mission impossible to be a good (enough) mummy, a wife, a colleague etc- we simple have to accept that we are no superheros, just human beings..

    Sending you lots of positive energies!
    xx

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