The thing is, I have never totally understood mental health. Well this was until I became a mother in 2010, when I started to have irrational thoughts and I got what I term 'mummy anxiety' in a big way. It gradually emerge, such as when my partner took the kids out whilst I was at work. I was not sure what he was up to or whether the kids would be safe. Silly I know, but I would be secretly panicking and constantly thinking that something would happen to them. I would worry that they would wander off, or a person would kidnap them or they would get run over.
If my mother-in-law was looking after my children, I would say ‘watch them with the windows and stairs’. Other times, I would sit there looking at them adoringly then be overcome with anxiety of something happening to them. Anxiety would creep in. I would fear the worst possible scenario, however unlikely. I knew it was ridiculous and irrational - they were only going to play out in the back garden.
The final straw was when we were going on a caravan holiday and I found myself stressing about the doors and windows as there were no locks on them and I panicked that someone would try to get in or my children would wake up in the night and get out. This for me was the last straw, I knew that my anxiety was rubbing off on my partner, and I then realised that I need to put things into perspective and try to keep calm.
I started thinking about the change in my mental health. Maybe it was the increase in negative stories in the media - stories of other children going missing or hurting themselves. I might just have been an over protective mother, trying to wrap my children up in cotton wool. I knew these thought's had to stop. I know anxiety happens to everyone at some point, but my anxiety was getting unmanageable. Yes sure the world is a dangerous place, and people get hurt, but I know I am a good mother and am care for my children in the right way. I want to protect my children, without being over-bearing.
I do know that some of it is all part of being a parent and the constant worry that can comes with it. However now, if I feel my mummy anxiety coming on, I talk to my partner, family and friends who are all very supportive. I am trying to step back and give my kids a bit more room. I am trying not to be too over-protective. I’ve also now started mindfulness exercises, such as meditating and yoga. I have 'me time' at the gym and I've started to eat healthily. I feel this will all contribute to improving my mental health and especially contribute to controlling my anxiety. I try to relax when I am with my kids. I love my kids so much that I know I will always worry a little, but I am learning to channel it in the right way and not let it over take my mental well-being.