Anxiety: sometimes it’s the situation that needs to change, not your mental health.

In the past, when I’ve hit a bump in the road, I’ve been shaken but handled it. I’ve recovered quickly. CBT taught me lots of tricks to move my thinking on so I didn’t dwell on thoughts that weren’t healthy or useful. I have been in control of my anxiety. It stopped controlling me. I will always face things that make me anxious: that’s life. However, I know that I can control those feelings and deal with the situation. Recently though, my anxiety has spiralled out of control and I just couldn’t stop my mind from spinning.

Since I had a miscarriage and we lost George, I have been anxious and feeling low. I’ve not been coping well with life’s ups and downs and have easily felt scared and panicked. When I realised I was pregnant again, I tried to ignore it and didn’t feel positive. In fact, I felt quite down about being pregnant. I didn’t want to betray George and move on too soon. I have worried about being pregnant and having another miscarriage. I’ve been anxious about my weight. I’ve had intrusive thoughts about all of it really. The whole episode has made me feel very vulnerable.

On top of this, I’ve been having a stressful time at work. Going back to work after maternity leave has been much harder than I anticipated. I don’t feel confident anymore. I doubt myself. I am hesitant to contribute. These are not good qualities for a teacher! I had a few days off over the year either for Boo when she was poorly, or for me over the winter when I caught every bug going. Then I had three weeks off when I miscarried. This resulted in a meeting about my attendance. I have never had a meeting like this before and it threw me for a loop. I have always had career success and suddenly I felt like I was failing in every way. This is not how a new mum wants to feel. Work was such a huge part of my identity. I’ve felt like I’ve lost that part of me. I don’t know how to be a working mum … yet.

These 2 situations have meant that recently, my anxiety has been off the charts. I have been worried about my mental health. I have wondered why I lack resilience when it comes to my mental wellbeing. Why can’t I cope with situations like normal people? Am I weak? Deficient? Broken? Unfixable?
But this weekend a weight lifted. And I realised – sometimes life is really hard. Sometimes situations will cause you concern. Sometimes it’s the situation that is causing the symptoms, not you.

1) A miscarriage and subsequent pregnancy is going to be a very difficult time. Anyone would find this hard.

2) Adjusting to life as a working mother and adapting part of your self identity is a massive transition. Top that off with possibly facing disciplinary action (I’m not) is bound to be really stressful.

It is normal to find these things hard. I need to give myself a break.
So why has a weight lifted?

Well I have finally had the work meeting. It was OK in the end. And I’ve had positive feedback at work which has really help to mend my confidence crisis.

And I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. 6 days before my period. I’ve spent the weekend curled up with unending nausea. All of this is different to my last pregnancy that we lost and feels far more like I did with Boo.
Sometimes I wish I was better at rationalising a situation, but I’m just glad that at least I can retrospectively give myself a break. I think I’m through the worst of this spell of anxiety now. I know I’ll face more, but for now, it’s me that’s back in control.

*photo is of Boo using the positive pregnancy test as a thermometer because apparently teddy needs medicine. 


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