Do you ever do that thing where you make light of the things in your life that are actually your biggest burdens? I'm guilty of it for sure. I mean, sure, it's an obvious defensive move: I laugh and make jokes and appear to belittle things that actually are my most unbearable weights to carry around, because being honest about how tough some things are would mean... so much. It would be admitting weakness; It would mean having to talk about something that might seem a whole lot scarier if I starting talking about it; It would mean risking what people might think of me if they knew that the "normal" parts of being a parent affect me in ways that are decidedly abnormal. So I laugh about the things that scare me, and I have to think I'm not even remotely the only one who does that.
I am quick to sheepishly joke and comment about the "worry" and "stress" of motherhood, and even quicker to laugh and roll my eyes over the thought of staying calm through it all. Meanwhile, my heart runs around around the playground in a slightly-too-big coat and a crooked pom-pom hat as fear grips me tighter than my winter jacket zipped up over layers and layers of sweaters. However, for those who know me well (and now everyone on the Internet) my truth isn't that hard to discern: Parenthood can be terrifying. I think it's safe to assume that we can all agree on that. Thankfully, there's much more to it than that. However, when you are living with anxiety, sometimes it's hard to get past the scary stuff and actually keep a grip on all the wonderful parts, the excitement, the changes, the hope and love and snuggles and hugs and laughter. At least, that was my experience before I found treatment that works for me.
All that said, despite the fact that I've got better resources than ever before, I still have to occasionally fight the debilitating irrationality and overwhelming fear that comes with anxiety. My mind still goes to some lonely, dark places, only now I'm able to reel it back in a little more quickly and easily because, again, I got help and found anxiety treatment that works for me. I'm not a mental health professional, but based on my own personal experience I have a couple of suggestions for anyone who might know a mom with similar struggles. First, I suggest avoiding the following comments and questions: