Life is pretty sweet, I have a lot to be thankful for, more than I deserve but now and again I get this sudden pang of loneliness and it casts a shadow over me. There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone, of course I have my loving and supportive fiancé and my wonderful son around me almost 24/7 – but I still get lonely.
My mental health makes me unsociable, my anxiety makes me scared to go outside and I didn’t cross my bedroom door, never mind the front door, for a long time. This in turn broke down every friendly relationship I ever made, and I was/am too embarrassed to tell them the reason why. When you keep saying no over and over to people asking you to do things and go places – they stop asking.
My social life now after becoming a mum is toddler groups, play dates and chatting to old ladies in the street who coo over O (which is totally fine by me – he IS adorable after all!) and I’m OK with that. For the most part. It would be nice to have someone there to confide in besides my little family but that’s a work in progress and it IS in progress.
Luckily these down days are very few and far between, and that is thanks to my baby boy, he has given me a purpose and I finally know why I’m here; but there is more to me than being ‘Mum’ and I’m slowly starting to find my self again. Mental illness is a part of my daily life, it follows me everywhere, sometimes I can push it away other times it takes over and is completely debilitating, it’s a constant battle and a lonely place.
There are days where I can’t go outside, I just can’t bring myself to do it, it is too much and I’d rather stay at home or my ‘safe place’ as I like to call it. Which isn’t healthy, I know that, but that’s just the way it is. Some days I wake up and I know from the minute I open my eyes, it’s going to be one of those days. Other days, I decide I want to go somewhere and then I become so anxious and over think every tiny detail.
For example, I want to go to the Museum this is what my anxious head will ask – Will I get O&I ready and out the house in time? Should I wear make-up? Should I straighten my hair? If I don’t do either, will less or more people stare at me? What if there’s traffic? What if there’s roadworks? What if I can’t find the museum? Where will I park the car? Do they have parent and child spaces? Is it a push or pull door? How will I know where I’m going once inside? Will I have to speak to anyone? What if O starts crying? What if O throws a tantrum? What if O needs a nappy change? What if I forget something? What if people stare at me? What if people laugh at me? That’s just an example, I could be here for days. I am exhausted before I even venture outside.
All of this stress and anxiety over tiny, immaterial thinking, once they catch up with me they make me feel so isolated and emotional.
I would like to think I am a strong person, I don’t enjoy people knowing my business especially mental health related, so I keep things to myself and that’s the worst I could do. Some nights I lay in bed and after everyone’s fast asleep, tears roll down my face. On my down days, I burst into tears, for no reason at all. *Must add that O has never seen me like this – and never will.*
Anxiety is hard. Anxiety chips away at you until there’s nothing left. Or so you think. But over time I found ways to manage it (you can read them here) and I need to make a conscious effort to keep on top of it. But as this post shows, we all have those days when not everything is perfect, I think it’s important to realise that, and that it’s okay to have a few off days. What matters most is how we bounce back from them and move forward.
Mind is a mental health charity and their website is full of information and support, so if you feel similar then please go there, it’s fab I’ve used it a few times! They have information specifically on loneliness, as well as mental health issues. Or speak to me! I’ve been there – I am there, it’s nice to speak to someone who’s experienced it. Managing anxiety takes a lot of energy and is mainly down to you, but that can seem so out of reach and you can’t see anything every changing; but it will. With a bit of effort and time, things will start to change.
Do you feel similar at times? How do you bounce back? It can be comforting knowing someone feels the same, I hope it helps.