Over Christmas we spent lots of time as a family, no playdates, or stressful trips out, just lots of relaxing and having fun together. Since the middle of last week (when Jon returned to work) I have found that I’ve been a bit low and it took until last night to work out why.
Before Christmas I was working very hard at booking play dates for the kids, pushing myself to leave the house and go to the park or for a walk just the 3 of us, but I’ve had nearly 3 weeks off from doing that and as a result I’ve slipped backwards. All my anxiety has returned and even the simple act of sending an email to a friend has become stressful. I realise I’ve been avoiding contacting friends and going out of the house because I feel so anxious al the while.
Along with the anxiety comes a lovely assortment of nervous tics, a short temper, low self esteem and a very low threshold for mess or clutter. I let Annie spend the last of her Christmas money on any dressing up outfit she wanted from the supermarket yesterday morning and she chose a princess dress that it turns out is covered in glitter. It looks like a unicorn exploded in my house, every floor, chair, surface and bed is now coated in glitter and I’m finding it hard to cope. I keep sweeping and hoovering, worried about Ez eating too much of it or it getting into someone’s eye – a sure sign that I’m feeling a little bit run down mentally!
Today is our busiest day since Christmas, nursery & swimming for Annie, Bounce and Rhyme with a friend for me and Ez, then round to a friends house straight from nursery for a playdate and some baking. Easy stuff eh?! Nope! I have spent the last couple of days coming up with some excellent excuses for not having to leave the house, all I want to do is stay safe indoors with the kiddos.
Since my counselling last year I started taking baby steps (booking a play date, going to a park early in the morning before the crowds, emailing a friend or going out spontaneously) and then built up until the start of December where we had a relatively active social life, then came Christmas. It never occurred to me that stopping this proactive behaviour would lead to such a slump in mood and revival of the anxiety but it makes sense now I think about it.
[Terrible simile alert] The way I see it, my anxiety is like a weed, if I stop hacking away at it then it grows until my mind is all overgrown and tangled with it. I have to keep stepping on it and cutting it back a little every day to keep it under control and if I do that then every thing is fine, I feel much better and more confident and the anxiety is controllable.
I’m lucky that I had the counselling and recognise all this stuff now, also that I start CBT this week which is apparently fab at helping with anxiety. Mostly though I’m lucky because I have 2 loons who help lift my mood and give me a reason to kick anxiety’s arse once and for all!
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