I’m woken by the flicker of light between the bedroom blinds. I lay still and anticipate the fall, and by fall I mean that feeling you get when you reach the peak of the rollercoaster and prepare for the steep, fast descent. Most mornings I wake with that feeling, which is shortly followed by a wave of heat and nausea. I debate whether I’m actually going to be sick. I’m not, although there are days I have been. I take a deep breath and drag myself out of bed trying to control my shaking hands as I sip on the coffee my husband made.
“Good morning my babies,” I cheerfully say as I kiss them on their heads. My husband glances at me, he knows… he can tell by my voice that today’s a tough day. I sit staring into space, holding my coffee tapping my foot. “Mumma,” I hear the big one say, my gaze is broken as I focus my attention toward her. “Does we stay with you today or go to daycare?” she sweetly asks. I smile and say, “You get to stay home with Mummy alllll day, beautiful.”
“Yayyy, maybe we can go to the shops and get a pretty dress?” she asks… I sigh, I know there’s no way I’ll be leaving the house today. Though I’m optimistic I’ll feel better later, so I respond with a maybe.
My husband kisses me goodbye and calmly says “Remember your breathing, you’ll be ok. I love you.” “Love you,” I quietly respond.
I do my best to put on a brave face for the kids and I beat myself up even more with mum guilt, wondering how much of my anxiety they can sense. In that very moment, my mind runs wild. What if I’m damaging them? They don’t need a mum with anxiety; they deserve a strong, confident mum who doesn’t fear anything and I pray that’s how they see me, even on my bad days.
People who don’t experience anxiety don’t understand, often I’m asked what’s causing my stress. I suppose looking at the issue rationally would suggest you find the reason behind your stress and you deal with the issue at hand. The thing is, we wish there was a reason behind how we feel. We wish we could put our finger on the exact problem that’s causing our stress. Sometimes we even wish something would happen to warrant how we feel, but there is nothing. Nothing happened, we’re not expecting anything to happen, it just is and that infuriates us.
We’re experts at putting on a happy facade. We know that pretending we’re ok and seeming as happy as possible will draw the least amount of attention to our problem. We don’t often want to discuss it; discussing it makes us feel weak, so we act strong, we act confident. The scars and broken skin around our fingers are the only external evidence this exists in our life.
Not all days are bad, not every day do we feel like the walls are closing in or that the planet has stopped producing oxygen. Not every day begins and ends in nausea and not every day is filled with shaking hands, sweaty palms, a tight chest, and a rapid heart rate. Some days are good. On the bad days, we remind ourselves tomorrow is another day and we simply take it moment by moment.
We stand united in that only other anxiety sufferers truly understand the extent of this illness. We don’t need patronizing comments, we don’t need to be told, “we’ve got nothing to worry about.” We already know. We know how ridiculous this seems to those who don’t experience it. What we need is your support, a comforting smile, a simple “I’m here if you need” because we know, tomorrow is a new day.
Breigh Kelly writes about all things motherhood & wife life that we don’t wanna talk about. Fumbling her way through motherhood, sharing honest, raw & real recounts of the shit-show that is life. Hiding anxiety through humor & fueled by coffee until it’s acceptable to pour a wine 🍷 visit me here. https://www.instagram.com/breighjkelly/ https://m.facebook.com/breigh.bonner?ref=bookmarks https://breighkelly.wixsite.com/mysite