I love being a mummy, I have a wonderful partner, a gorgeous son and my life is pretty much perfect..
So why do I wake up with a huge feeling of dread??
This was the question I asked myself every morning when I woke, shortly after having Harry - i was plagued by feelings of panic, sadness, stress and anxiety
Being a new mum is hugely overwhelming and a massive adjustment not only to your social life but to your whole way of thinking and your daily routine so it's understandable that you aren't going to feel completely yourself or on top of the world everyday. However I was starting to lose myself entirely and I just didn't feel right at all, I'm normally a very happy go lucky kind of gal, full of positive energy! I desperately wanted to see my friends yet couldn't bring myself to leave the house. I was terrified of something being wrong with Harry or something happening to him that I couldn't control which worsened when we found out about his hearing loss. But mostly I was feeling ridiculously anxious and emotional for no reason at all, and that was when I started to worry there was something wrong with me. I constantly googled for help but everything was pointing me in the direction of postnatal depression which I was pretty sure I didn't have.. I didn't feel depressed, I didn't feel like I hadn't bonded with Harry and I didn't hate my life, I simply just could not shake the feeling of worry in the pit of my stomach. Those worries soon turned into panic attacks where I literally felt like I was choking and couldn't breathe and i would end up uncontrollably crying for hours on end.
It also felt like every other mum around me was doing fantastically well at being a mother and enjoying every single moment - Whereas I was struggling with the broken sleep, a colicky baby and the pressures of being a "housewife". I felt like I was doing a terrible job even though deep down I know that I'm really not!
Self esteem takes a huge hit when you suffer from anxiety. You worry that you're a burden on people around you, that you're ruining everyone else's mood and that you're coming across as pathetic. Those feelings then make your anxiety even worse as you are constantly worrying - it's a vicious circle!!
Everybody has feelings of worry and anxiety, it's completely normal when there's something on your mind. However when you're feeling overly anxious about a certain situation or topic or for no reason at all then that's when it goes deeper than just general worrying. Excessive anxiety then releases huge rushes of adrenaline which then leads to panic attacks, and these can last from minutes to hours.
Anxiety is a disorder that some people find it very hard to understand, they may think you are a diva or drama queen, crying for attention, maybe just a huge wimp or a miserable person. Those people are the lucky ones who don't have to endure what us anxiety sufferers do every single day! It's not something you can necessarily control or cure and it can happen to even the most bubbly people - I am sure a few of you who know me will be very shocked that anxiety and panic attacks are something I experience!!
Mr H and I are really close, we tell each other everything and we're both very "open books" so I immediately turned to him for support. I think speaking about my confusing feelings was a huge and vital step to helping me feel better and I am so incredibly lucky that I have such a fantastic support network around me and when there's no one around you lovely lot on Twitter help pick me up when I'm feeling down!
I'm not really sure how my anxiety was triggered but as it started shortly after giving birth to my son it's referred to as postnatal anxiety. The symptoms are very similar to post natal depression so I think the 2 are very easily confused if not diagnosed correctly.
I'm currently taking medication to help ease those panicky moments, it's early days but I think they may be helping - that and the fact I know I can always turn to my friends and family when I feel like I just can't cope. I am certainly not over the worst of it yet and I have to constantly keep busy or make sure I have people around me every day as much as possible - although it's not that easy being a stay at home mum!!
I hope this helps any other new mummy's, or anybody really who suffers from any type of anxiety disorder, to know that you aren't alone and it can happen to even the happiest of people! I know I am so lucky to have such a beautiful family and perfect little boy and that really helps me through those difficult days.
If I could give you one piece of advice it would be to talk. Talk to anyone and everyone about your feelings. Don't be shy to offload, it will make you feel heaps better and you never know you might even get some golden advice back
I would love to hear from those of you who are in the same or a similar position as me, or if you have any experiences you want to share, so please leave me a comment if you fancy a chat or feel free to send me a private email to the address on my contact page!