That's what I like to call my issue. However, deep down, I know that having babies only amplifies what I've had going on my entire life. I've always had anxiety. As much as I'd like to pretend and tell people it's only a postpartum issue (blame it on pregnancy and suddenly you're not crazy), it's really not.
In Kindergarten, I was terrified of picture day. I remember being so confused by the change in our day. I was nervous standing in that stupid line in the gym waiting for my turn in the photo booth. And then, when I had to walk back to class by myself, I was so scared that I forgot how to get back to my classroom.
In 3rd grade, we learned about Arbor Day and how cutting down trees will deplete our oxygen supply. A few days later, my dad decided to clear out the strip of woods between our house and the street. Naturally, I freaked out, crying and screaming because we were killing the earth and all the humans in it. I worried for months.
In 7th grade, I thought all of my friends hated me. I'd stand alone during our lunch break, watching them all have fun without me. I truly believed they disliked me and didn't want me around. I just remember the pain I put myself through for no reason at all.
That same year, my 2 sisters and I were all given our own rooms in the basement of our home. I was terrified to sleep there, though. I felt lonely. Once I finally convinced my parents to let me move upstairs next to their room, I'd lay awake and terrified during thunderstorms, imagining the lightning striking me through the windows.
In high school, I stayed up late each night, waiting for everyone to go to sleep so I could make sure every door was locked, including my bedroom door. I was so scared that someone would break in.
In college, I relaxed A TON. That's probably one reason why it was the best time in my life. I felt safe with my friends and roommates. Yes, I still believed from time to time that they all hated me, for no reason at all. But, I still had major anxiety when I'd miss homework assignments.
Oh, and then there were all those years I was a music major. I developed what was called, Performance Anxiety. In practice, I'd play wonderfully. In solo performances, I sounded like a 4th grader. Performing was so bad for me (emotionally) that I finally quit the program and turned to Communications. Oh, and my Performance Anxiety? Yeah, that was just my regular anxiety amplified by the fear screwing up in front of everyone.
There are just way too many stories portraying my anxiety throughout my entire life. My earliest anxious memory is from the age of 3. My most recent? Um, right now?
Pregnancy definitely amplifies my anxiety a bajillion times. But, here I am, over a year after my second kid and one months after weaning him and you know what? I'm still having anxiety. I worry constantly, overreact about every little thing, and over-think like nobody's business.
For the past 26 years, I had no clue that my reactions to all of these events were all centered around one little word that starts with an "A," the friendliest letter in the alphabet. Now that I know, it's soooo much easier to deal with. When I start to get anxious, I am actually aware now and can ask myself, "Is this really an issue or is anxiety amplifying it?"
I finally feel some relief and control in my life. I'm definitely at the bottom of an uphill hike, but, at least I know I can do it (thanks to the best therapist in the world).
Medications definitely help as well, though I detest taking them. I'm having memory loss issues with Zoloft and I want to be done with it. I just want to be able to live my life happily without relying on any pills. They all have side effects, which terrifies me. (Hello, anxiety.) But, it's just part of the journey.
Yes, I could live the rest of my life without getting help. But, I don't want to. I want to be as happy and healthy as I can be. I want to enjoy my life as much as I possibly can.
Oh, and why am I divulging these intimate parts of my life? Because mental health is such a taboo subject, which is stupid because everyone's mental status is different. It's not like some people have healthy brains while others have unhealthy brains. Rather, everyone's brains just function differently. That's all.