Anxiety is a lie.... it is the fear of something that hasn't happened... it is the seed that is planted that can make functioning difficult at times. We don't want to tell ourselves that lie, but it is usually focused on the one value that means the most to you.
For instance, our contributor here is afraid they can't do it. They are alone in a BIG job and although they ARE doing it... everyday, they are constantly aware of the size of the job and what it takes and are afraid that at any moment they can't do it. Anxiety comes from the negative messages we tell ourselves... I can't do this ALONE, I CAN'T DO THIS. Rationally they may know they can, but fear of the future and what will happen if they don't is an emotional response that keeps the anxiety in play. What can they lose? The number one most important thing they have. Their children. Life with their children. Attachments and safety.
We all face times of trouble and when we do, we have to stay out of the weeds - the anxiety, the irrational lie we tell ourselves.
Keeping your eyes on the prize of those little lives are what continues to give them strength to persevere through the fear and doubt, because the love they feel for their children is even bigger than that anxiety. We are grateful to our contributor for sharing their struggles and we hope this will help you with yours.
It’s the greatest, most joyful, chaotic, tremendous trial most will face in their lifetime. All the clichés are true. It’s a tough job and the job is the reward. There's technically no wrong way to do it and all the books you might read don’t really prepare you for the joyous torture of becoming a parent. So, inevitably, we turn to our fellow parents/peers and the internet to compare notes.
Parenting has been a very revealing journey for myself. Over the years, layer after layer of who I am has been revealed to me through parenting. I’ve learned so much about myself through the entire process. I've learned things like patience; the ever expanding/swelling love that inhabits your entire body. Patience. I've felt the pride that infects you when you see your children do the most menial task on their own and then even MORE PATIENCE is called for!
We envision ourselves as parents but we don’t really have the colors to paint it correctly until we live it. The trials we face every day with our children are some days overwhelming, but we press on. We have to.
I am a single parent now and have to say, it was a little easier when I wasn’t solo. I have a little help but because they’re my children I feel more responsible and that can make for a real stressful life when you have young ones. You always feel on high alert. The anxiety that comes with that can be suffocating and defeating if you let it get the best of you. I’ve had a good team of people in my corner who give great emotional support but that doesn’t stop the feelings of doubt that torments my mind at pretty much all hours.
Some days are harder than others and some are pretty easy, because I’ve learned through the years that I’m stronger than my anxiety. Simple breathing and counting one's obvious successes (especially in parenting) can be a very reassuring method to calm oneself when you keep feeling like you “can’t do it”. Having a good support system is also imperative for me. The people in our lives will make our lives better or worse. Make sure the ones you keep around do the former.
Working on anxiety and the fears I have about not being able to do it has helped reduce the negative messages I tell myself and has given me a way to remember the good.
The ultimate conqueror of my anxiety however is my children. Yes, they stress you out but they are the most important thing in my life. When my little ones smile at me, look at me, talk to me, run to me/away from me or even try to cover something up that they did wrong, my heart melts a little. When I have them in my arms I’m at peace. I know I can. I had to find a totem to manage my anxiety, and my children are definitely my totem. I WILL... for them, even when I am afraid I can't.
- Anonymous Contributor