#atozchallenge: A is for Anxiety

BlessingOr how it all started …

It was ten at night, and I’d been having contractions since five in the morning, but nothing was happening, so the midwife decided to hook me up to the foetal heart monitor ‘just to make sure everything’s okay.’

But everything wasn’t okay. With every contraction, my baby’s heart rate dipped.

‘Your contractions are still relatively weak,’ said the doctor, ‘but baby doesn’t like them, and I’m concerned that baby won’t cope well when they do get stronger. I recommend you have a c-section as soon as possible.’

‘Okay,’ I said, leaning back on the bed. ‘That’s fine.’

The doctor gave me a sideways look. ‘You seem very calm about this.’

‘I’m always calm in a crisis,’ I replied. ‘I’ll fall apart later.’

And that’s exactly what happened; fifteen months later, I was on medication for depression and anxiety. But it wasn’t just the drama of my second child’s birth that had triggered my mental illness; I’d lost my dad a year before she was born, and since she’d been born I’d been battling baby-induced sleep-deprivation. Controlled Crying hadn’t worked and after five months of it, it had left me a quivering wreck. I’d become obsessed with her sleep and my own lack of sleep, and the thought of upsetting our precious routine would send me into full-on hair-pulling, hand-clapping, rocking-backward-and-forward panic attacks.

Antidepressants helped. Talking helped. Having a loving and sympathetic circle of family and friends helped. Eventually I relaxed, let go and more-or-less recovered, but I’ve been left with a strange sensitivity to stress. I’m still calm in a crisis, but the tiniest things can trigger the old reactions: the palpitations, the irrationality, the obsession with routine. Happily though, this doesn’t last long anymore because I’ve learned to recognize anxiety’s approach, and I’ve assembled an arsenal of weapons to use against it. I’ll be writing about those in future posts. Stay tuned …


An explanation of my AtoZChallenge theme can be found at Me and My Mental Health – It’s Time to Talk.

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13 thoughts on “#atozchallenge: A is for Anxiety

  1. Thanks for popping by. Glad you found me. Catching up on your posts. I think I unwittingly triggered my own anxiety when I was very young and out of it I’ve learnt a lot about how to be human. Recognising it’s approach and assembling an arsenal is what I did too. Not had a panic attack now for 25 years and counting. Your posts are likely going to touch and help many.

  2. Great blog!

    I find a regular practice of mindfulness meditation to be very calming. Meditation as medication! It puts ME in the driver’s seat, rather than a drug. It allows me to accept what is, and be an observer rather than a participant.

    And as long as I can still laugh about my anxiety, I’m sane.

    You might enjoy my post “Same Baggage, Different Location” http://wp.me/p3ErRy-bf

    1. Thanks! I struggle with meditation as I am very easily distracted, but I definitely agree about the laughing thing. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  3. The second post I’ve read on this topic today, and just as brave and well written – good luck with the rest of your A to Z (and thanks for the comment you wrote on my, somewhat sillier, post!) 🙂

  4. A topic for the Letter A that many have issues with, and I must say thanks for sharing your experience and the arsenal of tools. ‘Stay Calm and Carry On’…that’s you! Well done for the Letter ‘A’.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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