It’s 6.30pm. which means half an hour until baby Lyla’s bedtime. She is showing absolutely no signs of being tired, she hasn’t slept a wink all day. Not even a yawn. Sounds normal, so why is this an issue? Well, in the past twenty seconds I have conjured up the idea that she will not go down to sleep. In fact, she probably won’t go to bed at all. I will be awake all night. I’ve become irritable, irrational and upset. I feel sick, I’m sweating, and my heart is beating like a drum.
Though she could go down. And she did, half an hour later, at 7. No noise and slept all night.
One scenario of the many where my anxiety takes control over me. This is parenting with an anxiety disorder.
I didn’t know much about anxiety before I became a Mum; it was never something I had heard of. I didn’t even know someone that suffered with it, and if they did I didn’t know about it. When these scenarios became more frequent and aggressive, I decided to get myself clued up on what exactly was going on. I suffered with post-natal depression, but this was a totally different ball game. This was alien to me. I felt lost in my own body like a stranger. I didn’t know who I was or what was going on. After some research and speaking to someone at PANDAS (a fabulous pre and post-natal depression charity helping parents cope and understand) the word ‘anxiety’ kept cropping up. I spoke with my doctor and my health visitor and then it was confirmed. I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder.
What is anxiety you ask? Well there isn’t one fixed term. For me it’s the loss of control, the feeling of unease and nervousness with an uncertain outcome. There are many types of anxiety. mine was centered around my daughter, my parenting. One slip up in her routine and the negative thoughts and physical symptoms would speed through me like a freight train. If I took her out alone I feel like everyone’s eyes are fixed on me waiting for me to slip up. Or that my parenting ability was on trial and everyone who laid eyes on me felt like the judge and jury.
I become defensive about my daughter, like I had to justify any parenting choice I made, even to someone who doesn’t know me. That’s my anxiety. My thoughts don’t stop. The worry has attached itself to me and very rarely lets go.
It’s picking on the wrong person – I don’t back down and I don’t let it win. I pull my support through many different resources, my family, PANDAS, my friends and my writing. It takes it away. It allows me to accept that it’s just my thoughts and my lack of confidence.
I get my strength from my daughter. I mean I’ve parented her a whole year and she’s the happiest soul ever, so huge high five to me, right? I still have my bad days, my battles and my challenges, I’m coping more now than I have in the last 12 months and knowing my diagnosis makes it so much easier to function. I’m not the only one and I never will be. The fact I can write this and raise awareness makes it even more special as I can help someone sat there, perhaps in tears, assuming their baby won’t sleep. Well, they will.
And I’m sure you will have the best sleep you’ve had. Have faith in yourself and get stuck in!
Until next time..
Daisy , 24 from the outskirts Edinburgh in Scotland. lives with my partner Sean and their beautiful, sassy one year old Lyla. Daisy works in retail and loves writing. A year ago, Daisy was diagnosed with post natal depression and anxiety disorder after the birth of her daughter Lyla. Daisy says “I’m passionate about mental health and supporting others through their journey” Daisy has written a blog for PANDAS, demonstrating a snippet of one of the challenges of anxiety with parents: ‘Bedtime.’