Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

When anxiety attacks

It’s Saturday afternoon. I’m pottering about at home with DH and DS, doing odd jobs and housework. DD is out with my parents. This is proving to be a bit of a problem and I’m watching the clock until they get back. Don’t get me wrong, I trust my parents to look after her and I know she’s just as safe with them as she is with me or DH. But I can’t help it.

My head is filled with unpleasant images. I can be reading a story to DS but in my mind I can see DD’s lifeless body lying on a roadside somewhere. I may be sorting the washing but I can see DD trapped injured inside a crumpled car after a high-speed crash. I’m cleaning the bathroom but I’m also seeing DD hurt and terrified.

This is my anxiety. My head is constantly filled with images of my husband and children either seriously ill, hurt, dying or dead. It’s like a film reel constantly playing in the back of my mind. It’s not just when we’re apart either; one of my big problems is with parks, I can see the children falling off something high like a slide, or getting a serious head injury from a flying swing. Yesterday we went to the beach and although I had fun my mind was constantly bombarding me with images of the children drowning in the shallows. I see these vivid and unpleasant images when we go for a walk, cross a road, see dogs – anywhere.

I hate it. I get no respite from it, even when the children are asleep. The spectre of SIDS, of them dying inexplicably in their sleep, haunts me. On social media I have to mute any mention of SIDS or children dying – I have learned that even a mention of the subject results in sleepless nights as I lie awake listening to the children breathe. The same is true for DH; I can still see his lifeless body in my mind and I have to check on him multiple times during the night.

This is torture. This is my anxiety.

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Comments on: "When anxiety attacks" (2)

  1. Clare Levett said:

    Thank you for writing this, I’m galfway through writing mine. This is my reality too, ever since my daughter was born and has got progressively worse. I’m terrified to walk down the street in case one of us falls into the road. Awkward as I can’t drive so literally walk everywhere.
    I can’t read the news, lie awake at night worrying over ridiculous scenarios and also hide from any sort of mention if child death. I am inconsolable if I come across it by mistake.
    Thank you for writing this and telling me I’m not alone!

    • You’re definitely not alone and I’m sorry you struggle with this too. The part I find most frustrating is that I know I’m being irrational, that the likelihood of anything happening is very remote – but every day I expect something to happen anyway.

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