I would like to introduce you all to Cassie. She has had a recent diagnosis of Anxiety and has kindly offered to share a day in her life. I wonder whether you can relate to her worries during the day? Cassie has her own blog where she shares more about her life. The link is below her post. Please pop over for a visit.
Both in the sense that it’s a crappy situation and also in that it sucks the life out of you.
Spending a day being hyper vigilant for any “attack” to you, your family or even just your lifestyle can leave you exhausted. To have your tummy churning with worry all day can leave you emotionally and even physically wrung out.
I was recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and as part of my therapy with a psychologist I have been recording my thoughts and feelings. This helps me to identify just what I’m thinking, what I’m worrying about and also helps me to be more awake and tackle the thoughts head on.
Today I’m sharing some of those thoughts with you, to give you an idea what it’s like to spend a day in my brain.
9am – Eldest daughter, Lily (3), swimming lesson
Swimming lesson has been moved to a different pool due to technical problems at our pool. It is also with a different teacher. Lily doesn’t deal with change at all. I spend the drive to the pool in a complete state of anxiety.
“Will she scream? Will she go in at all? Should we really be forcing her to do this? She loves it when all is fine. It will benefit her so much in the future. But are we bad parents for making her do this?”
Lily screams through the whole lesson and refuses to do anything, even when Daddy gets in the pool with her. I feel like everyone is looking at us and judging us, even though there are other children reacting the same way.
“They must think we’re horrible people. Is this going to scar Lily?”
9.30am – Playing in pool after lesson
Lily is perfectly fine now. My husband, Mr Monkey, takes our youngest daughter, Chloe (8mo), in to the toddler pool too. I spend the whole time watching Chloe and fighting the urge to jump up each time it looks like she’ll fall in the water or put her head under.
“Need to trust Mr Monkey to look after them. But what if he’s distracted? She is crawling everywhere, she might try to crawl away and slip and go under the water. I won’t be able to get to her quickly enough. She might start to drown. There are no lifeguards close by. I’ll have to try to do mouth to mouth. I don’t know what to do properly. Maybe Mr. Monkey could. What if we can’t revive her?”
10.30am – Driving home
Cars keep coming close and I grab the armrest every time. I’m hyper vigilant – watching for any danger. Realise when I get home that my hands are hurting from grabbing things so tightly. Chest feels tight and sore from the anxiety. Feel so, so tired.
12 noon – Home, preparing lunch
I notice that my throat has begun to hurt.
“It’s probably just a bad cold. But I can’t get sick, there’s so much to do. The house is a mess and I need to try and get it back to order. I’m such a bad mum/housekeeper for letting it get so far. Mr. Monkey goes back to work tomorrow, it’ll just be the girls and me. I can’t cope. My throat is still hurting, what if it’s tonsillitis? I’ve never had it before but this doesn’t seem like a normal sore throat. I definitely can’t cope if I’m that sick!”
(It turns out to be tonsillitis. I go to the doctor a few days later and he is astonished that I have lasted so long. My anxiety also causes me to doubt when I am really sick and when it’s just me being over-anxious, meaning I don’t get help when I probably really should. I’m put on strong antibiotics and laid up for a few days.)
1.30pm – a plane goes overhead (we live under the flight path).
“That plane seems to be really low. The engines sound so loud! Maybe it will crash! What would happen to us? If it crashed in to the back of the house we may be able to get out the front. But if it crashed when I was upstairs I’d be gone. What if it caught on fire? We wouldn’t have a chance. Maybe we could get out; we’d have to call the fire brigade. Maybe our neighbours would come to help. What if the girls survived and we didn’t? I can’t bear to think of them living without their parents. What if the girls didn’t survive? I don’t think I could go on without them. Or if Mr. Monkey died, I don’t know if I could cope.”
5pm – Watching TV, doing a few things on the laptop
“I’ve barely done any housework today. I should be doing more. I need to get back in to a routine. I’m not going to be able to cope in the future when our life gets harder and the girls go to school. I’m being a terrible role model for our children. Our house is always going to be a mess.”
8.30pm – Bedtime routine with Lily
Lily is fighting going to sleep. She wants to sit up or sleep in our bed.
“Is she worried about something? Is she still upset from this morning? She’s not getting enough sleep; maybe we should get her to bed earlier. Am I doing something wrong with her? Should I be spending more time with her? Should I be leaving her to fall asleep by herself? Or will it make her more upset if I leave before she falls asleep?”
Midnight – in bed, reading
Everyone else is asleep. I hear a noise downstairs.
“Is that someone breaking in? They could be coming in the back door. It sounded like someone coming up the stairs? Is it in invader? What will they do to us? What can I do? I can’t yell out. I have nothing to use to protect us. Should I call 000? It’s probably nothing and then I’ll look stupid.”
After lying still for a few minutes, straining for any sound, I realise it was only the cat shifting on the stairs.
Cassie blogs at The Flying Drunken Monkey, about her daily struggle against housework and how she is working to make life easier for her family. She’s the wife to a hardworking (and often not home) head chef, Mr Monkey, mother to two beautiful girls, Lily and Chloe and an eater of a lot of chocolate.