Calm the F*ck Down: My Life with Anxiety

Calm The F*ck Down: My Life with Anxiety

Calm the F*ck Down: My Life with Anxiety | The Accidental Mama

Hey guys, I’m getting real again today.

Everyone has something they worry about. E-ver-y-one. But have you ever had that little nagging worry last an unusually long time? Have you ever been worried without really knowing why? You just have this general feeling of unease and tension and have no idea what caused it?

Anxiety, my friends. She’s a bitch.

It turns out that I have lived with anxiety issues my entire life. I just thought I knew more than everyone. Nope. Anxiety.

As a child, I was a worrier. I would constantly stew over things and worry about everyone’s level of happiness. If my parents were fighting or my brother got into like, real trouble (which he did quite a bit), I felt like the whole world stopped turning.

It was worse as I got older and more pressures from friends and school and after-school activities came into play. Am I popular enough? Am I thin enough? Why are my grades so bad? All these pressures would sit with me constantly, weighing heavily on my mind, and being so overwhelming that it felt like I couldn’t deal with any of them.

This is all pretty normal for a teenaged girl but what was weird is that even as I grew up and my confidence grew, these pressures were still so present in my mind.

When I was in my third and fourth year of University, there would be month-long stretches where I would have an anxiety attack every. single. day.

If any of you have been unlucky enough to experience an anxiety attack, you know that it is sooooo physically and emotionally taxing. And on top of that there was the anxiety of knowing that an anxiety attack could happen at any moment.

Inception.

Finally, about 7 years ago, I went to see a therapist. I mostly talked about my family and boyfriend and school and all the things that pissed me off. She gave me a few tips but after a few sessions, I just stopped going. I just thought life sucked and then was getting better. I never knew what was the cause.

Slowly, the anxiety went away. It would return during high stress periods of my life but then drift away again when I regained control of whatever was so chaotic.

Then, after Baby Girl was born my hormones took my anxiety to a whole new level.

Everyone has heard of Post-Partum Depression and that shit is real and it’s scary. But it can also manifest as Post-Partum Anxiety.

Did you know that 15-20% of new moms experience Postpartum Anxiety?

Calm the F*ck Down |The Accidental Mama

As a new mom you are already plagued with the scary thoughts of everything that could ever happen to your child. You feel their lifetime of scrapes and bruises and broken bones in those first few months as you anticipate everything that could ever go wrong with your child.

That’s normal.

What’s not normal is not being able to sleep until 3AM because you need to plan an escape route in the event of a violent home invasion. Yeah…

We are nice people. We live in a nice neighbourhood. The possibility of a violent home invasion is pretty slim for us. And yet, it kept me up at night. I’m still a little glad that I know what I would do in this very unlikely scenario but it probably wasn’t necessary to figure out at 3AM. Thank God I can laugh about it now.

I would also have the worst thoughts. They usually started with “What If..”

Sometimes they were little worries of what kind of mom I was going to be or how my child would grow up. But sometimes, especially at night, in the seconds before falling asleep, they would turn violent and horrific. I never was the one to harm my family in these little scenarios but that is often the case with PPA. Mine were always external factors I couldn’t control like a car crashing through Baby Girl’s window or her kidnapped or hit by a car. Think I have a control issue? I should ask my therapist about that…

The thoughts were so awful that I never even told Husband what they were. But he knew I had them. I would wake him up and ask him to cuddle me or hold my hand and distract me. I know that it annoyed him sometimes to be constantly woken up but he always did it, and he never complained.

Thankfully, I knew enough to recognize that it was probably hormones and that I needed help. At first, I just asked Husband. Could he take over some of the projects that were stressing me out? Could he give me a break a little more often? He did, but he urged me to get back in touch with my therapist.

So, I started going back to her more regularly. I told her I thought I had an issue with anxiety. She said “Yeah, you did last time too.”

Huh?! I had no idea. I just thought life was being shitty and I needed to talk to someone. Had I stuck it out a few more sessions with my therapist, maybe I would have realized that the root of my issue was not my shitty life (which looking back, really wasn’t all that shitty).

Since then I have gone back and examined my life and seen all the countless ways that anxiety has plagued me over the years. I have seen evidence of it throughout my existence and now even see it in others.

Great. So we have anxiety. So what’s the cure?

Fuck if I know.

There is no cure for anxiety. Some people who have really bad anxiety go on meds. I have never had to do that yet and hope that I won’t. You know what helps me?*

1. Calming the F*ck Down.

Most of the time, I can feel the tension inside me build and I just have to take a deep breath (or several) and tell myself to breathe. Whatever is stressing me out, whatever is weighing me down will not get fixed in a minute (if it did, I would have done it already). Stress is a huge anxiety trigger for me and a lot of the time, I can to talk myself out of being anxious. Now, trust me, I am not being cavalier about this. This is much harder than it sounds and will not work for everyone. And in times when it’s really bad, this does not work.

2.De-stressing!

This means yoga, a hot bath, tea, a night out with friends, bitching about my problems, a coffee break or realizing that your issue(s) is not the end of the world. I need regular me time to help my anxiety from building. Time off to focus on myself and keeping myself relaxed and balanced as a preventative measure to keep the anxiety from building. There are a lot of people with more severe anxiety who would need actual treatment. If you are one of those people, I urge you to seek help.

3. Get help.

You don’t have to be alone in this! You are not just being dramatic! There is relief out there. GO TALK TO SOMEONE! If you feel like you are losing your mind or are thinking some dangerous thoughts, immediately call someone to look after your kids, and get out of the house. Find a local therapist or counsellor and talk to someone. It will make you instantly feel less crazy and less anxious.

Fun Facts about Anxiety:

 “An anxiety disorder causes unexpected or unhelpful anxiety that seriously impacts our lives, including how we think, feel, and act.”- Source, The Canadian Mental Health Association

  • Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  • Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem. Source, The Canadian Mental Health Association

White Wood Background

OK, so now that it’s all on the table, have you ever suffered from anxiety? How do you deal? How did you get over it?

Thanks for listening, kids. I really wanted to talk about this and just feel better already!

xoxo

AM

I am in no way a licensed therapist and my suggestions should be taken only as what has worked for me. If you are suffering from anxiety or any other emotional or mental health issue, I urge you to speak to someone. There are so many resources out there if you need help. Find a friend and ask for help. 

31 Comments on Calm the F*ck Down: My Life with Anxiety

  1. Holly
    October 15, 2014 at 6:55 am (2 years ago)

    I just want to scream, ” I hear you!”. Thank you so much for this post and making it ok to talk about something that no one ever thinks it’s ok to talk about. People have this thing about Mental health issues and the truth of the matter is, everything would be fine if they really did just seek help. I didn’t deal with postpartum anxiety, but rather depression… But I do have a few OCD things I deal with, and with that comes the anxiety. Thank you so much for sharing! -Holly

    Reply
  2. Heather Hammel
    October 15, 2014 at 10:37 am (2 years ago)

    I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and I do get anxiety/ panic attacks. I had no idea about post-partum anxiety so that is interesting but scary. I sadly rely on medication for my anxiety and have a separate medication I take only when I have an attack. My one dog, Gemma, helps keep me a little calmer than before I got her and she comes over to me and jumps on my chest and licks my face when I am having an attack.

    Reply
  3. Lana Lou
    October 15, 2014 at 10:09 am (2 years ago)

    For me when I get anxious, I also get an upset stomach, then when I’m fine I get anxious about an anxiety caused upset stomach. If it’s really bad, I have IBS for months and months.

    Inception is real.

    I went to several years of therapy. She taught me to control my spiraling thoughts, first by writing them all down and arguing with them about why they were false, and then I learned to do it in my head when I felt them coming. Breathing techniques also help for calming down in the moment. I also took an herbal supplement called Mindtrac by Christopher’s, and it helped. I still take it when I feel like I’m not in control (usually when it’s been weeks since I was). The biggest combatant against it though, besides controlling my thoughts was regular endurance exercise, and great sleep. If I am super tired, I can’t control it. When I don’t exercise I get anxiety/depression. If I run three times a week, and really get my blood pumping, my anxiety is pretty much reduced to normal people butterflies in normal people butterflies situations. It’s incredible. (Currently I’ve been really lazy due to a huge grief storm from losing my mother to cancer, so I’ve been neglecting my best medicine.)

    Anywho, those are my tips! In the US a huge chunk of the population suffers from anxiety. It’s incredible more people don’t talk about it and help others who suffer in silence. I had it from age 12 when my hormones turned on, and didn’t seek help until I sunk into severe depression/anxiety when I was 25 and had to get an IV because I was so sick. If more people talked about it, then other people wouldn’t suffer in silence like I did. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma against it, even though if you say you’re anxious, EVERYONE says, “HEY ME TOO!”

    Thanks for opening up about it!

    Also, it makes me sleep solid at night, eat healthier because I crave better foods, and then my anxiety stomach aches are fewer and far between.

    Reply
  4. Lana Lou
    October 15, 2014 at 10:11 am (2 years ago)

    For me when I get anxious, I also get an upset stomach, then when I’m fine I get anxious about an anxiety caused upset stomach. If it’s really bad, I have IBS for months and months.

    Inception is real.

    I went to several years of therapy. She taught me to control my spiraling thoughts, first by writing them all down and arguing with them about why they were false, and then I learned to do it in my head when I felt them coming. Breathing techniques also help for calming down in the moment. I also took an herbal supplement called Mindtrac by Christopher’s, and it helped. I still take it when I feel like I’m not in control (usually when it’s been weeks since I was). The biggest combatant against it though, besides controlling my thoughts was regular endurance exercise, and great sleep. If I am super tired, I can’t control it. When I don’t exercise I get anxiety/depression. If I run three times a week, and really get my blood pumping, my anxiety is pretty much reduced to normal people butterflies in normal people butterflies situations. It’s incredible. Also, it makes me sleep solid at night, eat healthier because I crave better foods, and then my anxiety stomach aches are fewer and far between. (Currently I’ve been really lazy due to a huge grief storm from losing my mother to cancer, so I’ve been neglecting my best medicine.)

    Anywho, those are my tips! In the US a huge chunk of the population suffers from anxiety. It’s incredible more people don’t talk about it and help others who suffer in silence. I had it from age 12 when my hormones turned on, and didn’t seek help until I sunk into severe depression/anxiety when I was 25 and had to get an IV because I was so sick. If more people talked about it, then other people wouldn’t suffer in silence like I did. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma against it, even though if you say you’re anxious, EVERYONE says, “HEY ME TOO!”

    Thanks for opening up about it!

    Reply
  5. northern style exposure
    October 15, 2014 at 1:02 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks for this post! I related to tons of it being an excessive worrier myself.

    Reply
  6. tianna
    October 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm (2 years ago)

    I definitely have anxiety at times, but for me, exercise and eating well helps a lot. ♥

    Reply
  7. Angelic Sinova
    October 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm (2 years ago)

    Whenever I have a lot of work due and it’s all pilling up I often have an anxiety or panic attack. I’ve learned it’s best for me to de-stress and calm down. I’ve gotten a lot better over the year. I was such a worrier as a kid but I’ve leaner to not sweat the small stuff <3

    Reply
  8. Ericaour
    October 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm (2 years ago)

    I have anxiety too, not awful, but enough to make me crazy at times! I like your calm the f down, and destressing. Both help me! :)

    Reply
  9. Shipra
    October 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks for opening up! I feel that it’s important for everyone to read something REAL every now and then! :)

    Reply
  10. Emily Ardoin
    October 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm (2 years ago)

    AMEN. I just kept nodding my head and saying “Preach!” the whole time I was reading this post. THANK YOU for opening up about this!

    Reply
  11. Andi
    October 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm (2 years ago)

    I have not personally suffered from it but my best friend has so I have been witness to it for a very long time. The best thing I can do – and do, do – is be supportive!

    Reply
  12. Heather
    October 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm (2 years ago)

    Holy crap! I’m not alone! I have serious anxiety. I always have, but when I became a mom, it got out of control. I used to sit and play the “what if” scenarios out in my head until all hours of the night as well. I still do, just maybe not quite as often. Now I am pregnant again and haven’t really even been able to enjoy my pregnancy completely because I have so much anxiety this time around. (I have no idea why it’s worse this time than it was the first time). I’m wondering if I will be worse when the baby is born! I’m glad I’m not alone…however, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, so I’m sorry you have to deal with it too!

    Reply
  13. karissa
    October 16, 2014 at 7:36 pm (2 years ago)

    I never had anxiety till four years ago when I had my stroke and my brain chemistry changed and now I have bad anxiety. It’s awful.

    Reply
  14. Sharon
    October 16, 2014 at 8:04 pm (2 years ago)

    This was really well done. My best friend has a serious issue with anxiety and it rears its ugly head the most whenever she has to make almost any kind of decision. Even ordering food at a restaurant can be difficult for her!
    I’m glad you’ve found help by going to therapy. She did too, and I think sometimes people are just too hesitant to take that step. Hopefully this can inspire others to take action like you did!

    Reply
  15. Lindsay
    October 16, 2014 at 9:40 pm (2 years ago)

    This sounds like I wrote this post! I have anxiety and moodswing disorder. I got diagnosed in college :/ I dont take any meds for them but I try to stop myself before I get out of control.

    Reply
  16. Samantha Sowden
    October 16, 2014 at 11:06 pm (2 years ago)

    I have Asperger’s Syndrome (High functioning Autism) so my life is filled with anxiety. I am often paralyzed by it. I am getting help from my therapist, but I know exactly what you go through. Thank you for being opening about this. It’s something that needs to be brought out into the open much more. Take care of yourself :)

    Reply
  17. Myrabev
    October 17, 2014 at 7:14 am (2 years ago)

    Wow! Shot definitely got real right here lol. Thanks for sharing, can’t even imagine dealing with anxiety.

    Reply
  18. Jenna @ A Savory Feast
    October 17, 2014 at 7:55 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you for your honesty! As someone who also suffers from anxiety, it was encouraging to hear your story. I’ve learned some of those ways to deal with it, too. De-stressing is #1 for me.

    Reply
  19. Brenda
    October 17, 2014 at 8:55 am (2 years ago)

    I’ve always had issues with anxiety and I hate when people say ‘well can’t you just calm down’…it can be a tad infuriating!

    Reply
  20. kendall
    October 17, 2014 at 9:43 am (2 years ago)

    I’ve got terrible anxiety so I totally feel your pain. It’s SO rough sometimes to even do the simplest things.

    Reply
  21. Candace
    October 17, 2014 at 10:38 am (2 years ago)

    I get anxiety too. Im surprised that new mom anxiety percent isn’t higher to be honest.

    Reply
  22. Annie | MontgomeryFest
    October 17, 2014 at 10:48 am (2 years ago)

    eeek. i’m not a mom yet but i feel the pang of anxiety quite a bit so i can only imagine i’ll need the support of fellow moms when i get there! sending you strong vibes and lots of good thoughts!

    Reply
  23. Jessica Doll
    October 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing your story. I had some issues after having my second child and was taken by surprise because everything was so well-planned and laid out. Luckily with the help of my supportive family and husband I was able to work through them.

    Reply
  24. cassie
    October 19, 2014 at 1:04 pm (2 years ago)

    I definitely know how you feel. While I don’t have anxiety ALL the time, I used to have it a lot. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story and your struggles. Know that you’re not alone and that your tips actually do work! That’s how I’ve toned mine down :)

    Reply
  25. Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together
    October 20, 2014 at 6:03 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you for this! I was diagnosed with anxiety in high school (specifically, the inability to handle change… which is so freaking ironic right now). I now understand why I get the crazy nerves, the racing heartbeat, trouble breathing…. and I’m on medication to keep it under control… but still, some days and moments are such. a. struggle. YOGA is definitely the biggest help for me, it calms me down so much.

    Reply
  26. jen
    October 20, 2014 at 8:01 am (2 years ago)

    OMG! I am so with you. I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. In grade school I would be in tears almost every morning because I was terrified something bad would happen to my family. While I didn’t go the a therapist then…probably should have…over time I learned to get comfortable with things. Fast forward 15 years – I was in 2 car accidents in about 4 year span on icy roads. First was my fault, the second another car crossed the center line and hit me on ice. I have really crazy “winter-storm/icy roads” anxiety. We had to drive in a blizzard last January and I thought I was going to have a heart attack the entire time. My heart was racing, the “what-if’s” kept going thru my head – I’d feel the car slide a little and my heart would sink into my stomach…it was rough. Writing has helped me a lot – and I can’t believe how long my response is on here – but thank you for writing this. I’m surprised how many people can relate to something like this. <3

    Reply
  27. Winter White
    October 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing. I find myself getting very anxious and it scares me, I think hearing stories like yours helps me to know that A- i’m not alone and B- there are ways to help yourself. Anxiety is real and the triggers are so different for everyone, talking about it and getting info out there is so important. Again thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  28. Ayana Pitterson
    October 21, 2014 at 5:40 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow, what a truthful post. I don’t suffer from anxiety but have seen quite a lot of people that I believe is suffering from this. I am glad that the therapist did in fact help you figure it out. I guess that is probably one of the biggest steps – seeking help and sticking by it. Thank you for sharing.

    Thrifting Diva
    http://www.thriftingdiva.com

    Reply
  29. Cori
    October 21, 2014 at 9:56 pm (2 years ago)

    I can totally relate to you. I’ve been a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and OCD. It’s horrible and at times completely debilitates me, just a couple nights ago actually! I recommend Kathryn Thompson’s new book “drops of awesome” it helped me immensely!

    Reply
  30. Ali
    December 2, 2014 at 9:34 am (1 year ago)

    Awww I came in for your pancake post but really was meant to land on this one. I’ve had anxiety my whole life and finally had a series of events that forced me to face it these past couple months and I can relate to everything that you describe. Looking back I can see how this has been present my whole life and all the time and energy that I’ve put towards keeping it at bay. Thank you for sharing:)

    Reply

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