Always feeling tired, worried, and overwhelmed? You might need to talk to someone about it. Read this mom's sharing about having stay-at-home mom anxiety.
What can you read in this article?
- When her anxiety came back
- Stay-at-home mom anxiety: "The stress I felt in performing daily tasks was too much"
- A wake-up call in the emergency room
I woke up around seven in the morning. It was not usual for me. I felt something strange in my body as if there was a pain in me that I could not identify. When I stood up I felt very dizzy.
I hurried to the bathroom to pee, and I saw my reflection in the mirror - I was very pale and I felt like I was going to faint, and I didn't know what to do. I felt like I was going to die.
That was eight years ago and I had no idea at that time that I was experiencing a panic attack.
Over the next several months, I had sleep problems. There were times that I would wake up in the middle of my sleep having palpitations, and I could feel my heart pounding hard.
I also had a hard time falling asleep because I couldn't breathe properly. But I assumed that I was just having an asthma attack. My hands were always numb and pale.
I had no clue what was going on with me and I had no idea what to tell people. As they got worse, I began to think I had a serious illness and decided to visit my doctor. And I thought I was dying and had no one I could talk to, went to doctor after doctor, and one word they always used to describe my condition was anxiety.
I was in complete denial about my mental state because as far as I know, I'm not an anxious person. I could deal with problems, I am not easily frightened and I could live on my own.
The countless tests and medical examinations I took all had normal results. But my mystery illness stayed with me.
New chapter, same anxiety
When my boyfriend (now husband) Jan proposed to me, the symptoms I was feeling temporarily disappeared. I guess it was because we were so busy with wedding planning. Perhaps excitement overshadowed my anxiety. Everything felt normal for a while. Until I gave birth.
Shortly after I gave birth my anxiety returned. It ranged from mild worry to frequent panic attacks. Becoming a mother was a major turning point in my life. Being a parent can be as challenging as a rollercoaster ride.
It turned my life upside-down because I was a stay-at-home mom. I didn't have a helper, my baby and I are the only ones who are always together, and I didn't have a social life. The stress I felt in performing daily tasks was too much. I noticed that I always seemed tired, sad, and worried.
Within months, my life became a distressing cycle of palpitations, panic attacks, lack of sleep, numbness, dizziness, and stomach distress. I had visits to the emergency room because I was feeling so overwhelmed and was looking for someone to help me.
Felt so desperate with what I was going through. I was physically and emotionally exhausted from pretending to be okay to avoid making others uncomfortable. And this kept me from fully living.
Coleen Garcia on postpartum anxiety: "No matter how much I try, I wasn't doing good enough"
Confessions of a Stay-At-Home-Mom: "I feel like I'm not doing enough"
Mom confession: "Feeling ko sobrang losyang ko na"
The wake-up call
One time, my panic attack got worse, my heartbeat was so high it ranged from 150-160 beats per minute. I was hyperventilating which caused my oxygen level to drop. My whole body is numb. So we rushed to the emergency room.
There in the ER, I saw people fighting for their life because of Covid-19. They couldn't breathe and death felt imminent. Meanwhile, my lab results were completely normal.
That woke me up to the fact that I was okay. That I should thank God because my body is healthy. I clearly remember making a vow to myself that I would never come back to Emergency Room for the same reason again and I am going to overcome this terrible fear and anxiety.
It took me more than 8 years to admit that I needed help. I was absolutely determined to stay strong for my family, I realized I had to find a way to take control of my emotions, and I wanted to think clearly again without fear of what might happen.
So I finally convinced myself to see a psychiatrist. I remember crying during my first session not because I was sad, but because I was happy that someone could finally understand me.
I was diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder. Working with a psychiatrist was very helpful. My doctor made me feel that my emotions are real and valid.
I took anti-anxiety medications and started educating myself on these disorders, I determined what my triggers were, and I also opened myself up to meeting other people like me through Facebook groups.
Through it all, my husband has been very supportive of me. At first, he didn’t initially understand it. He was angry at the situation but eventually, he understood as well. And he's been such a huge help. He keeps things afloat at home whenever I'm having a panic attack. Sometimes I think, I don't know what I did to deserve a husband like him.
Although I'm better at managing my emotions, I still experience anxiety and panic attacks from time to time. But now they are less frequent and less draining. I have learned how to manage my symptoms and avoid the triggers as much as possible.
To my fellow parents who are going through this problem, you don't have to go through it alone. Many people can help you.
Don’t ever think that you are weak, that you are small, that you are incompetent. I want you to know that you're doing a great job and that you can go through anything as long as you believe in yourself, have the support of your loved ones and with trust in God.