I wrote this letter to my anxiety about 6 years ago, before we lost Poppy. My anxiety is still with me, something I have grown to understand will always be a part of me. In ways it has grown massively yet in other ways maybe I have grown to find my coping strategies with help from Poppy.
All content is my own thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experience from my own journey of baby loss. This post may contain affiliate links, please see the Copyright and Disclosures page for more information.
The force of my anxiety when it comes to my husband and children is still huge, I now know first hand how quickly life can fall from under us. The extreme strength of it gripped me when I was pregnant with Poppy’s baby brother. It was beyond measure. I did not fully understand the strength of it until I had Poppy’s baby brother safely in my arms.
Just when I start to feel that I have put a lid on you, you rear your ugly head. I battle day in and day out to keep you suppressed, then like a switch you are back. Suddenly I start with that gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach that builds and builds. All of a sudden the world is against me, I’m useless and everyone would be better off without me. And all this can happen in a blink of an eye.
I suddenly want to draw my children and my husband closer. I want to close the door on the world and lock us away. But even then, what use am I to them? I’m a rubbish Mum, a useless wife, I just can’t do anything right.
This is how you make me feel. You knock me to the floor and stamp your ugly feet all over me. Why won’t you leave me alone? Just when I start to feel I have a grip on you, you decide to splat my newly built confidence down and you’re ruling me again. My mind is a jumble of feelings. My stomach is swirling round and I don’t know what is right, wrong or how you make me feel.
Living with you anxiety is rubbish. You are that thing that if you’ve never experienced it people see you as over reacting, they see it as what have they got to worry about, they see you as crazy. But then nobody can truly understand this monster unless you have been in the grips of his claws.
Please give me a break anxiety. Please.
So if you know someone who suffers from anxiety that smile that looks so real won’t be, that bubbly mum at the school gate is pretending, the life and soul of the party is dying inside. For what people won’t get if they don’t have visits from this monster is that you can act. For just a moment you can show the world that you are OK, you can get through the school run with a smile on your face, you can welcome family with a hug and some laughter.
But what they won’t see is the turmoil of emotions running around your head, they won’t see you constantly analysing yourself. They wont see that fist in your stomach that wants you to curl in a ball and cry in the corner.
A hug is sometimes all we need; but not always. Tough love is sometimes all we need; but not always. An ‘everything is OK’ is sometimes all we need; but not always. A squeeze of the hand is often what works, a sign of acknowledgement that you feel like crap but no words to put down your feelings that are VERY real to you.
All I am asking is don’t judge. I can completely understand if you’ve never experienced this monster then you will not understand. But you would have empathy for the man who broke his leg, the lady who is suffering from arthritis or the child who is poorly. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not real. It’s very real. It’s so real it has major impacts on many people’s lives. It’s a heartbreaking illness which many, many people suffer from alone. And even if you do have support from loved one’s you often still feel very alone. Alone and afraid.
But anxiety in some ways you make me strong. I battle on everyday when often I want to hide. I battle on for my children, my husband and in some ways you make me search and search for what is truly right for us. You make me search for what will make us happy. Without you anxiety maybe I wouldn’t be the person, the Wife, the Mother that I am today. Maybe I wouldn’t strive every single day to do what is 100% right for my family. Maybe, just maybe, you have made me.
Please join Poppy’s journey on social media:
IF YOU NEED ADDITIONAL SUPPORT:
Arc – Antenatal results and choices.
Petals – The Baby Loss Counselling Charity.
Tommy’s – Baby Charity – Together, for every baby.
Sands – Stillbirth and neonatal death charity.
Baby Loss Support Links – A dedicated page I have put together of a range of support links.
To find out more about my ‘Baby Loss and Grief Journal’ please click below: