Having an anxiety disorder when you're a mom is, in my opinion, the worst. My kids are pretty social — always in some performance or joining the latest sport or club — so I'm forced to continually re-evaluate myself on their behalf. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't understand or empathize, unless they're battling similar feelings, too. There are things moms with social anxiety with their kids knew because maybe, just maybe, we'd feel like less of an outcast in their lives. Well, at least I would.
The list of things that don't make me anxious is pretty small, these days. I could blame the political climate, financial stressors, or a number of other various bullet points but, the truth is, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The very makeup of my brain is vastly different than someone without such constant, extreme worry, and I require medicine and additional therapies to feel a fraction of the "normal" others seem to feel. This also affects me socially, as I tend to draw inwards when I'm anxious. It's difficult to explain the overwhelming feelings I experience when entering a room full of people, or doing simple errands like grocery shopping or running through a drive-through. It's especially difficult to explain those feelings to my children. Often times I think, if they really knew the chaos inside my brain, maybe they wouldn't be so frustrated with me for not doing all the things they want me to, or worse; disappointed in me for failing to rise and meet their expectations of me.
Over the years, my children have come to accept me fully, even if they don't completely understand my choices or actions. Still, there are things I wish my children knew about my social anxiety, so that maybe the next time they ask something of me I'm not capable of, they don't think less of me. Yeah, I lied. Having an anxiety disorder while being a mother isn't the worst — it's how it changes the way they feel about me. That, dear reader, is the worst.