I wasn't always socially awkward. In high school, way before I became a mom, I was something of an extrovert. I could be outgoing and hold my own at parties, work functions, and in casual conversations with relative strangers. "Putting myself out there" wasn't as draining or emotionally taxing as it is now. But being a mom means having to overcome some anxiety-inducing obstacles and for the benefit of my children. That's why, in my opinion, my social anxiety has made me a stronger mom.
I've struggled with various mental health disorders since elementary school, but the manifestation of my anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) came in the middle of my parents' bitter divorce and custody battle. I managed to suppress my anxieties to an extent, so no one around me knew there was a problem, but that meant I felt somewhat disconnected from my life and the lives of people around me. It wasn't until my first pregnancy — when my life suddenly wasn't all about me — that my anxiety peaked in a way that I could no longer hide.
Now, more often than not, my anxiety works against me. It makes me worry about things I shouldn't, and has me obsessing over certain things to and the point of insanity. But there are moments when I can pinpoint a voice of reason and am capable of staying vigilant and focusing on what really matters. Motherhood is an anxiety-filled whirlwind, to be sure, and usually feelings of joy and pain co-exist on any given day. But if there's anything good to come from my anxiety disorder, it's that it has forced me to be a stronger mom. Here's how: