Often when i'm open about how I am, and unashamedly so, I'm criticised and called a bad mother, that I clearly 'cant cope' and that people with mental health 'complications' as it were, shouldn't be parents, and that I specifically, shouldn't be able to parent my daughter. It makes me scared to speak out, and to be judged, so awfully, for something I shouldn't be ashamed of, and I'm not ashamed of.
I speak regularly with other mothers who like myself, are women with at times, severe anxiety, but also highly functioning and it makes me realise how fucking normal it is, and how anyone criticising me only shows themselves to be weaker. They can live with that, but I'll be sure to bring my daughter up knowing that she is free to feel however she feels without judgement and blame. I want her to be able to own her feelings, if she's upset, she's allowed to be upset and not feel bad about it. So despite the fear of constant judgement I persevere to own my feelings and to be honest with the way my irritating mind decides to process things.
Recently, my anxiety medication was changed, I've come off a combination pill and ive been quite unwell and its all evidently connected with hormones too. So my hormone levels have been changing more than what could be compared to a room full of 13 year old girls. To top it off, my epilepsy meds are also used for people with bi polar, so they are constantly trying to level my brain function, well, re-wire it, stop it from short circuiting etc. All good really, my body is at war with my mind and my mind is at war with itself. An internal battle of possible disaster.
I just dont know who to talk to about it, everyone always says they are there, but in reality, I cant talk to them. The problem with anxiety, is that you question everything, and every question is based around a negative. Examples of my anxiety thoughts are as follows;
- I probably shouldnt tell them im struggling, i'll probably just irritate them and theyve got enough on without my incoherent ramblings about things that only matter to me and probably dont matter to them because why would they?
- Maybe I should eat, im not hungry, where are the crisps?
- This person doesnt even understand and I probably just annoy them and they just think im needy, im not needy am I? I try not to be, maybe I shouldnt of asked for them to help because I just look weak and why would I want them to think im weak. Nobody likes someone thats weak. I'm just a constant burden.
- I hate being cold.
- I'm not good enough, nobody will ever care about someone like me, why would they?
- Every redeeming quality about me is laced in a negative you cant control and that scares people and then i'm hassle and too much effort. Nobody likes effort.
- I wonder if the trains will be delayed this weekend?
- Why do I do so much for no appreciation, I must look ridiculous to everyone, always trying to do things to make others happy, but nobody ever does anything to make me happy.
- What if I cant afford my bills this month?
- I need Charlotte.
- I'm not worthy of happiness.
- Why cant I just be kind to myself for five minutes?
- I wish people could see how much I care about them.
- I hope they dont all think I dont care about them.
- I hope they dont think im ungrateful
- I think everyone's cross with me
- Why am I like this?
Thats about a general run through of 15 seconds in my mind. It makes you hate yourself, because youre literally telling yourself that you're worthless constantly, when in reality I'm really not. I know I have some really great qualities, that I'm proud of, but they are just shrouded in this cloak of negativity that pushes people around me faster that stone cold Steve Austin can orchestrate a stone cold stunner.
The last few weeks have been really, really hard. A lot of my time has been spent in absolute silence, but internally screaming until my body is exhausted, I've hardly seen my friends, I'm almost in hiding, avoiding everyone because I just don't know what to say. I'm enjoying my time with my daughter, a happy distraction, some would call a tonic. She just makes me so happy, and she unintentionally goaded me on to do better within myself. Shes the driving force to being alright, and i'll make sure that every day she will feel as loved as she is.
This week, I found a poem, a slam poem to be exact, performed by a man named Neil Hilborn about his Bi Polar. Something I dont have, but everything he said, it related with me on such a level. I was so taken aback by it, I didnt see it coming. It was like this guy had reached into my mind and regurgitated everything I think and felt, and also what I try and say to myself when I'm also telling myself I'm all these horrible things, The way I see the world is different, but its special. My logic may be somewhat off-key but at sometimes its magical, and I am a super mum, despite what some people think, I may not be a catalogue mum of the year but all our struggles are subjective, and I have to juggle so much at once but I still make sure my daughter is happy and healthy and learning, growing. Everything she's meant to be. So to me, I am super Mum, and to my daughter I am too, and that's all that matters.
So I'm just counting down the weeks, days, minutes, until my hormones and medications are all levelled, and I can feel a bit more like myself, a non self deprecating self that can actually enjoy normal day to day functions. I'm just going to keep talking about it, writing about it, so people understand and maybe the narrow minded, judgemental people can get over their stigma of anxiety and mental health. We are just normal people you know, so many people experience this, I just dont want to give in to it, and I dont want to be ashamed of it.
I'll add the poem by Neil Hilborn underneath. Its truly moving, in a way I've not experienced before, and I've watched it every day since I found it. Everything is going to be ok.